Reader Ursula posted this question to Facebook:
Have you written about how to dress for family vacations (Disney specifically) and not look like you are trying too hard (or too little as the case may be)? Struggling with function and body image on this one.
I’ll admit to never having entered a Disney theme park and I don’t have kids myself, but I’ve been to loads of amusement parks for day trips and taken plenty of vacations – with family and alone – that require similar amounts of walking and standing in line. (Think art museums in Florence in June. LINES, people, oh the lines.) So although I can’t speak from direct Epcot-based experiences, I will make my suggestions and ask those of you who have done Disney or similar family trips to lend a hand in the comments!
Last year I was reminded that in hot weather, feet swell and swollen feet in even the comfiest of ballet flat-like shoes worn without socks will lead to blisters. This year I was reminded that walking around for 8+ hours in ANY temperature will cause your feet to swell and flats can be killer in those cases, too. If your feet hurt, all bets are off, so consider your footwear choices first.
Audi’s solution is supremely comfy sandals which allow your feet to breathe and can have a little more leeway for swelling. Try comfort brands like Clarks, Dansko, and ECCO for starters, but sportier, casual brands like Crocs and Teva can work, too, depending on the clothes you plan to wear.
My feet can get just as torn up by sandals as they can by flats, so I’m thinking upgraded sneakers instead. If you don’t need loads of support, classic Keds or Chuck Taylors will look equally cute with sporty dresses and with shorts. But since most of us can’t do something that flat for hours on end, check out the current Keen offerings – especially the Maderas and Coronado – as well as the Teva Freewheel and Dr. Scholl’s Jennie.
No, really. Accessories are key to both comfort and style when you’re on vacation, especially if you’re both walking and hauling.
For starters, make sure you’ve got a bag that is lightweight and comfortable to carry. Something that can be worn crossbody like this LeSportsac bag would be great – water resistant and absolutely featherweight. If you’ve got to haul diapers, bottles, or other heavy kid supplies you will need something sturdier, of course, but if the whole gang is mobile and carrying their own stuff, pick a lightweight bag for yourself.
Track down a pair of sunglasses that you totally love. In all likelihood, they’ll be on your face more than off, so don’t settle for an OK pair. Target has a great selection, and if you’re willing to spend more I love the shapes at Madewell. This is a great way to up your style quotient, even if the rest of your outfit is super casual.
And consider picking a single set of simple jewelry for the whole trip. Stud earrings or smallish ones that won’t get caught in hair, a gold or silver chain necklace, and a bracelet or watch. Jewelry may seem like overkill, but opting for classic, understated items will help you look more polished without feeling over-embellished.
In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with shorts and tees for family vacations, so long as they’re actually comfy. Shorts can chafe and bunch on certain bodies and especially in hot weather, so bear that in mind – blister block or talcum on the thighs can help, as can wearing slip shorts (unless they make you overheat). Also remember that you are likely to wear a size larger in shorts than you generally do in pants, so consider sizing up. Also also super long shirts worn with shorts may throw off your proportions, so pick tees that balance you out. I’d do v-necked tees in solid colors, tan or denim shorts, and cute sneaks. Simple, clean, casual but classy.
If you want to have some non-shorts options, think about dresses from athletic brands like Athleta and Title Nine as well as brands that offer washable, durable knits like Land’s End. Dress, sunnies, sneaks, bag, done. And if you’ve got any slightly fancier stuff planned, add a scarf and some jewelry to your suitcase to dress up your knit frock.
Protect your skin
A sidenote to style, but I’m throwing it in anyway. SLATHER YOURSELF WITH SUNSCREEN. Make sure you have protection for your face and lips, too. Since you will likely be getting your photo taken approximately every 12 seconds, consider a tinted balm like my beloved Fresh Sugar. One swipe and you’ve got SPF 15 and a hint of color.
If you’re camping or hiking instead of hitting a theme park or roaming around a major city, some of these suggestions will need tweaking. Rugged footwear, appropriate bags, and wicking clothing may all come into play, so adjust your choices depending on your destination.
In terms of trying too hard? Unless you’re dripping logos and diamonds while riding the rides, I doubt anyone will notice. Maybe I’m being naive, but my guess is that most of the families roaming around the Magic Kingdom are too busy building memories and snacking and laughing and posing with princesses to care what other families are wearing. I hope so, anyway.
Am I wrong? Those of you who have recently vacationed with your fam or have an upcoming trip, what tips and suggestions would you add? Anyone do dresses for weekends at Wisconsin Dells or Disney, or are you shorts all the way? What about footwear? Sandals, sneaks, something else? Help me out with your input!
Image courtesy snoopdrew
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