The number one thing to wear to a boat show is…

A hat. Yep, a hat. Now don’t get me wrong, there are several other do’s and don’ts that I learned at the boat show, but the one thing that I wished I had was a hat. I guess you could luck out and have an overcast, dreary day full of cloud cover and never once look up squinting your eyes trying to see the line of boats in front of you; but we had no such luck. We were plagued with sunny, bright blue skies that radiated blinding light in every direction that you looked. So, where my husband didn’t experience any issues at all because he was wearing a hat (of course), I walked around with my hand held up in front of my face making a visor to cover the sun for the entire two days. Not the most comfortable use of your hands… so, number one thing is to wear a hat. Or at the very least put one in your backpack in case you are like us and have the misfortune of beautiful, clear skies.

Which brings me to the next thing you need to not wear. A big purse. I brought my large handbag, you know the one that is cavernous and fits your entire life inside? Well, I thought I would need to put lots of brochures and “stuff” in my bag so I brought the big one. Nope. Don’t do it. All day long you are in and out of sailboats and that thing gets in the way! I did wise up and only bring my wristlet the next day, you know the wallet that loops around your wrist? Yep. That is ALL you need. Well… all you need as long as your husband is wise enough to already know this and is carrying his backpack. You put the “stuff” you pick up along the way in the backpack, you drop the backpack outside on the dock before you get in the boat, then you are free to move around unhindered by big purses while you are trying to imagine living on the boat. After all, when you are in the bathroom, you don’t have your purse with you… do you? Then you don’t need your purse with you when you are trying to decide if you fit in the shower!

On a side note about picking up all that “stuff” from the boat show. We picked up probably about 20 pounds worth of literature over the two days. Which I suppose isn’t a big deal. Until you have to put it in your luggage to fly back home. If your suitcase was already close to the 50 pound mark… you are going to be carrying that 20 pounds of literature through the airport as your carry on! So, pack wisely and leave space in your suitcase to bring all that good reading material home.

Shoes! Oh my gosh.. shoes are so important! If you have comfortable flip flops that you can walk around in all day, please wear them! Every boat you get on, you have to take your shoes off. Kicking flip flops off and slipping them on is pretty easy. Not so much with tennis shoes. First, the boats are probably wet, especially in the mornings, so you get your socks wet (unless you take them off too but that’s even more work!). Second, there is no where to sit down to put them back on AND you are on floating docks so you are swaying the entire time you are trying to stand up and put your shoes (and socks) back on. So, I wore flip flops and my husband wore tennis shoes the first day. I would jump out of the boat, slip my shoes on, then look back and he was still slowly putting on his shoes.. then tying them.. while I was waiting on him. I convinced him to wear flip flops the second day and we moved much faster in and out of the boats. πŸ™‚

Another thing while we are on shoes. Do NOT wear boots! Or heels! Oh my goodness. I saw many women wearing heels. What? You are on a floating wooden dock, walking miles each day – in heels? One slip of the heel inside the crack of the dock and you’d be a goner. How embarrassing, plus you’d ruin your heels. And boots? How are you going to take boots off and on all day? A couple of women I saw had just given up and were stuffing their boots in their backpacks and going barefoot. Save yourself the trouble and wear flip flops.

So If I was the one reading this blog I’d be pulling my hair out wanting to know that answer to the one big question I still have – WHAT THE HECK DO I WEAR TO A BOAT SHOW? The answer is so anticlimactic. Just wear regular clothes. Yeah, what you would wear to Wal-Mart. Or to the Mall. Or to McDonalds. Or to the Ball Park. Or to the Gym. It’s nothing special. There isn’t a dress code. And everyone there is dressed just like regular folk. I felt a little foolish for worrying so much about what to wear. I had spent hours picking out the perfect outfits for the boat show – and then I didn’t even wear them, thanks to the weather.

Let’s talk weather. You see, Annapolis weather was a little crazy (ok, maybe not, but when you are from South Louisiana and you travel to Maryland, there’s bound to be some differences). The first difference was that Maryland has this thing called “seasons”, I suppose most of the country has them, but South Louisiana doesn’t, so this was a new concept for us. The weather forecast said 45 degrees in the morning, up to 80 at noon, the back to 50 for evening. How do you dress for that? So the first day I put on blue jeans, a tank top, a sweater, and a jacket.. oh, and flip flops. We went outside to get on the shuttle around 9am – it was so cold! I was so glad I had went back up to the room and changed out of my long sleeved shirt into the tank top/sweater/jacket combination. But by 11am, I had shoved the jacket and the sweater into my big purse (so yeah, I guess it served it’s purpose that day) and was down to walking around in my tank top and blue jeans. Which is NOT what I would have packed to wear to the boat show, but somehow fit in. The second day the forecast was much the same, so I knew it would warm up quickly. So I dug deep into my suitcase to find the pair of shorts I packed “just in case” and wore them with a short sleeve sweater and just for good measure put on my jacket, knowing that in a matter of hours it would just end up in my husband’s backpack (see, no big purse this day). This was the perfect combination. I just wished I had a darned hat!

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Is there a dress code for that?

With my tickets in my hand (ok, not really in my hand).. with my tickets in my email, I smile and realize that we are really going to theΒ 2015 United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis. I have never been to a boat show. I’ve been to a boat store, but that’s not really the same – I’ve never seen a sailboat at the local fishing and skiing boat store. Sot to say I’m excited is putting it mildly, I’m anxiously and eagerly waiting to bag my bag, hop on a plane, and find the boat of my dreams.

Wait… pack my bag?? And that’s when I realized that I know how to pack for work (boring – suits, blah), I know how to pack for vacation (the best – swimsuits, yay), but I have NO idea what one wears to a boat show.

Are you suppose to dress up like you can afford a boat? Are you suppose to dress comfortable since you’ll be walking miles on the docks? I know at the mall, if I walk into a department store in flip flops and I’m shopping in the shoe department, I get a mix of mildly amused/mildly annoyed looks from the sales people, you know that look that says they know you can’t afford what they are selling because look what you are wearing? Yeah… I love when that happens and then I buy 4 or 5 pairs of shoes just to see the surprised expressions on the faces of the sales people who wouldn’t help me. (hehe, that happened today actually, and now I’m in my work out clothes and smiling at these gorgeous heels on my feet – but totally can rationalize it since life soon will be all about the bare feet on the boat and I won’t have any need for heels, gotta enjoy them now).

But I digress, back to my problem at hand. Is the way the shoe lady looks at me when I’m wearing flip flops going to be the same way the sailboat representative looks at me if I’m wearing my worn out and worn in shorts and tank top? Do I need to put on a couple of thousands of dollars worth of clothes to be taken seriously at the boat show?

I DON’T KNOW… so I Google “what to wear at a sailboat show” (crazy stuff, huh? what did we ever do before we had Google?)

Now I’m sitting here typing this and still have no clue. I got answers like “It’s hot outside, so dress cool and wear sunscreen”, “you walk a lot so dress comfortably”, “you’ll carry around a lot of literature, so bring a bag”, “you’ll take your shoes off to get in the boats, so wear something you can slip on/off your feet easily”, and that’s about it.

I’m all the way back to wondering what to put in my suitcase. Guess I’ll just wear what I would like to wear while living on a boat.. well, that might be a little scandalous since I don’t want to wear much.. I’ll wear what I would wear to go island hopping while living on a boat.

But just for you! I’m going to document my journey through the dress code needed to attend a sailboat show that way YOU won’t have to ever wonder the same questions that are plaguing me now.

( you know… you’d think that I should be thinking about how I’m going to afford the boat of my dreams instead of thinking about what I’m going to wear while shopping for the boat of my dreams… oh well, priorities I guess )

More to come on the important issue of Dress Codes.