What’s in my suitcase: Keswick Convention 2014 [Skirts, Dresses, Tunics]

The Keswick Convention: 3 Weeks of teaching from 12 July- 1 August

So the other day I introduced you all to my favourite annual holiday and the suitcase dilemmas that it brings with it. Camping, children’s work and wanting to be modest all have their own problems when it comes to stylish practicality but combine them… well, you can imagine! Today I’m tackling the biggest problem of the camping wardrobe for girls… Dresses, skirts and tunics! Okay, maybe not tunics so much (pretty sure they were designed for camping) but I’m sure you can understand my problem here. From the dreaded ‘Marilyn moment’, flashing the unlucky passer-by, to dealing with sitting on the floor or camping stools, dresses, skirts and tunics can be a minefield for those camping. And that’s the same whether it’s a festival or campsite. So here are some of my tried and tested tips for dressing like a woman when it shouldn’t be possible…

Cycle Shorts

H&M Short cycling shorts: £3.99

I’ll start with my weirdest tip, which you probably think shouldn’t be in an article on all things feminine. But cycle shorts have been my saviour when it comes to my favourite casual dress/skirt… the skater skirt! They protect against any gusts of wind that might create a ‘Marilyn moment’ and just provide the little bit of confidence that jean-devotees, like myself, need.

My personal choice, that have served me well over the past year, are from H&M. I seriously recommend them as they’re comfy, flattering and short enough to be worn with even my short (by my standards) skirts. I know several girls who are doing the same thing and we all swear by it. After all, who really enjoys those ‘Marilyn moments’? And they even work with tunics, if you’re brave enough to bare your legs.

Skirts

New Look Navy Button Front
Belted Skater Skirt
: £19.99

So having discussed what to wear under your skirts and dresses, the logical next step is to discuss the skirt. As I’ve already said, the skater is my go-to skirt shape for my casual wardrobe. Being a curvy girl, this probably isn’t shocking as anything that skims over my things but makes my waist look smaller is fantastic. But that’s not why the skater skirt works for Keswick. As the least constricted of casual skirt shapes, the skater is great for hanging out on campsites and running round after small children (just add leggings for any floor-based activities).

And in regards to skirts shapes, avoid the pencil skirt at all costs. It doesn’t matter how stylish or ladylike it makes you feel, by the end of a day spent outside you will hate it. Whether it’s not being able to sit comfortably on a camping stool or comfortably fetch water, the pencil skirt just wasn’t made for outdoor holidays. So take my advice, leave the pencil and bring the skater. Your sanity and wardrobe will thank you.

Dresses

Lole Sorenza Women’s Dress: £40.51

Dresses… like skirts I do favour the skater style. When the occasion calls for it, I’ll even put on a full circle skirted dress. However, for camping I’ve found that the easiest dresses to wear are of the t-shirt or shift variety. Loose and comfy, the real reason why dresses deserve a place in any suitcase is they’re an outfit in one. No need to mix and match separates or figure out a colour palette, all you need to do is add shoes and possibly a necklace/earrings and you are done. And when you’re rolling out of bed at 7am to go work with a bunch of kids or make breakfast on a tiny gas stove, easy throw-on outfits are the best thing ever!

Just a tip about length. How short is your choice but my desire to be modest and stylish means I won’t be going more than 11/2 hand-width above the knee. How long is a different matter. Unless you’re going to one of those campsites with neat, cropped grass, leave anything that goes below the calf at home. Trust me, you don’t want to be swishing your maxi dress through long grass. So not fun. And neither is putting a tent up while wearing one… I’ve been there and switched the dress.

Tunics

Fat Face Hollyhead
Ombre Palm Print Tunic
: £38.00

First I just want to state how much I love this tunic from Fat Face. Not normally a fan of keyhole backs, but this one is high enough to avoid showing of any bra. And I love the blue to orange ombre effect. But that’s enough gushing over this beautiful tunic, which I will buy at some point!

Tunics are my best friend when I go camping. I’ve collected several recently- one may actually just be a long vest top but shush- to pair with leggings. As all my tunics go with black and I only have black leggings, this is another thrown on outfit. There is just one rule I, and my girl friends, like to stick by: Your bum has to be covered! (We were scarred during sixth form by girls wearing bright red knickers under over-stretched leggings). So please no thin leggings or camels toes showing off your behind. But otherwise leggings/tunic combinations are the best for camping. So make sure you pack one on your next adventure!

So there you have my guide to the girlier side of a camping suitcase. No long flowing maxis in meadows I’m afraid. Just straight forward, practical style to show you there is a way out of jeans.

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