What to Wear to Go Hiking When You're a Fashion Girl
"I'm a bona fide city girl," was Carrie Bradshaw's response when Aidan asked her to join him at his "country cabin" for the summer (watch: season four episode nine "Sex and the Country" for a quick SATC refresher). And it was mine when my very active, very outdoors-y boyfriend floated his dream summer plan by me at the start of the season: to spend every weekend hiking upstate.
But before I could dismiss the idea and crush his dreams completely (because, nature), I stopped myself at the intriguing prospect of piecing together a bona fide hiking-girl outfit—inspired by the fall runways, of course. Gucci sent an updated take on the sneaker boot hybrid down the runway during Milan Fashion Week, and Balenciaga grounded bold, sporty parkas with tailoring during the Paris shows. Clearly, my boyfriend wasn't the only one enamored with the Great Outdoors. And if I was going to do this hiking thing—climb boulders, follow trail markers, identify plants(?)—then might as well commit and dress the part.
Well, I was basically Meredith from Parent Trap during my first hike (without the Lindsay Lohan-conspired pranks), but now that I've survived a few trails, I feel confident enough to impart some knowledge, like layering is essential, as is stocking a backpack with snacks, or even just carrying a backpack (and not say, a clutch). I've taken everything I've learned and compiled a 12-item checklist of what you, a fashion girl, need to wear or bring during a hike. Scroll through to shop each piece, but first: Can somebody hand me my Evian?
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A BASEBALL CAP
Lack of AC demands more shade, which you can get (kind of) with a baseball cap.
The hike must go on, rain or shine. Make sure you can see 20/20 with shades that are UV protected (for the sun) and polarized (for rain).
A WATERPROOF JACKET
Whether you're hiking Mount Taurus in the Hudson Valley or the Sólheimajökull glacier in Iceland, it gets cold up there. Bring a waterproof jacket to act as a buffer once temps start dropping and to keep you ready to fare every kind of weather, including unexpected showers.
A BOLD SPORTS BRA
When your whole look is black, navy, gray, white, and silver, add a pop of color with your sports bra. Bonus perk: If you wander off the trail, this will make you easier to spot.
These days, bandanas are more fashion than function. But on a hike, they're fashionably functional when it's tied around your neck to sop up sweat. (Pro tip from a co-worker: If you come across a river or stream, you can soak your bandana and use it as a cold compress.)
A BREEZY TOP
Sweat-wicking fabric, a relaxed silhouette (for breathability), a cool sporty trim—this performance top has it all.
Perforated panels along each leg aren't just sexy, they also maximize ventilation when you're at risk of overheating as you scale a mountain.
I once carried a clutch to hike with, which obviously, wasn't smart. Shoulder a hold-everything backpack in a go-with-everything color (aka black) for snacks, water, a waterproof jacket, an extra layer, Band-Aids—you get the idea.
A STAINLESS STEEL THERMOS
This leakproof, insulated stainless steel bottle can keep ice cold water ice cold for hours. No one's thirst can be quenched with 90-degree water from a plastic water bottle.
A POWER SOURCE
Your phone isn't going to last long after a full day of snapping, 'gramming views, and GPS-tracking your every move (someone has to make sure that the group doesn't get lost—and become bait). Pack a charged Mophie for extra juice.
You're not hiking for just any view, you're getting the #view, which is only made possible with an iPhone lens clip-on. Because if you didn't 'gram it, did it even happen?
If you're on a hiking kick, I'd suggest investing in boots designed for the trail. That way, you'll get extra support and cushion during your trek, and you won't ruin your beloved workout shoes with dirt and grime (RIP, my Nike Frees).