Our Favorite Boating Clothes: Look Good. Feel Great!
Not too long ago we discussed just what made for a high-quality boating shoe, but we neglected the rest of the recommended boating ensemble. Today we're going to remedy that by talking about boating clothes of every stripe and color, from foul weather gear to a dockside gala, the Better Boat crew has you covered. Quite literally in this case.
While it's perfectly acceptable to run around in jeans and a t-shirt, the truth is that specialized situations require a wardrobe that is suited for that specific purpose. If you have you ever spent a day on the water without the correct gear then you might know what I mean. Sunny weather offers sunburns, rainy weather can lead to hypothermia. Jeans and a t-shirt are not suitable for the boating lifestyle.
The Boat Reflects It's Captain:
Before we worry about what to wear while sailing, it's important to make sure that your vessel looks just as ready to sail as it's captain. That means making sure everything looks prim and proper. Try out our metal polish and no-slip deck cleaner to really make a positive first impression!
Light Colors Advised:
Most of us don't take trips into a storm while boating (at least not on purpose). This means you're going to be constantly seeking ways to beat the heat. While cracking open another ice cold brew might seem like just the ticket, you'll be much happier if you simply opt for light colors that reflect light rather than absorb it. This is twice as true on a boat because you're getting direct sunlight on top of the sunlight reflected from the water. The more sunlight you can reflect, the cooler and happier you'll be.
Sunny Boating Clothes:
I always have the most fun picking out boating clothes for fun in the sun. A Polo shirt and a nice pair of khaki shorts will keep you cool and allow you to stay flexible. Baseball caps are nice in a pinch but if you're spending a lot of time topside without shade then a wide-brimmed sun hat will prove its worth in no time. Women get a lot of choice when it comes to sun hats but for guys it's generally form over function.
No matter what clothes you choose it's important to ensure that they are breathable. Long sleeves can be a real blessing when it comes to avoiding sunburn but it's a fine balance. If you're going for even just a light windbreaker, ensure it has some zippers to allow for air flow. There's not much worse than being stuck in long sleeves and soaking in your own sweat. You're going to have a bad time.
Evening and Night Excursions:
One interesting thing about boating is that no matter how hot the day might be, the temperature will drop dramatically once the sun sets. This is about the time to break out the jeans and sweaters. You might even want to bring a blazer along if you're really trying to dress to impress. Much better to be overdressed by a little bit than under-dressed by a lot.
Foul Weather Gear & Layering:
There is an endless amount of gear that can be a great boon for fighting through bad weather but the one rule I have is that it need to be water-proof. We all have that lucky Mickey Mouse sweatshirt hanging in the back of the closet, it's warm and comfy. A rogue wave or sudden downpour can make you want to peel that sweater off in a hurry, but a water-proof outer layer will remedy that issue every time.
Layering is always a good idea for a boating excursion whether you expect rain or not. There is no such thing as too much clothing in my book. You can strip down as much as you need to, but if you didn't bring that extra jacket then you're probably out of luck unless a shipmate is willing to share. You might also be the captain but believe me that the passengers are gonna be none too happy about turning back toward harbor for a jacket.
There are plenty of choices regarding how to make your first impression felt and at the end of the day, your personality should be reflected in your clothing choice. Personally I'm more inclined to think I'll get on better with a fellow sailor wearing a t-shirt that says 'Who farted?' than I would with a preppy fellow in a blazer and dockers. You can find me sunning in a Jimmy Buffet t-shirt and denim shorts, but there's nothing wrong with cleaning up your look if the situation calls for it.