My Kiwi and London friends are always surprised to hear the weather and water in coastal California is not terribly tropical.
It's often foggy here in the morning and chilly at night. And you need to wear a wetsuit to stay in the water for any length of time. Dining with Al (Fresco), as my Dad calls it, happens only a handful of times a year without a patio heater.
This makes for tricky outfit planning on what my American friends call Date Night. For the last couple of years we have gone out every Sat night. When the kids were tiny we went out Wed and Sat nights. I figure someone else can keep the homefires burning while I have a (few) cocktails, some chortles and kick up my (high) heels with the ole hubby. As a fellow blogger Kayce writes, date night "is a wonderful habit if you don't have kids. If you do, I consider it a necessity". She has seven kids.
Some of the fun is choosing the heels and the ensemble. But after eight years here in CA I've realised that with every outfit the most important thing is the cardigan or jacket. Because sometimes that's all you end up seeing. On vacation in Santa Barbara, my two old staples came out again: the Marc Jacobs shorts suit from five years ago, a riff on the military look, hopefully without seeming too Boy Scout.
True I'll never get a job as a stylist, as this pic at Bacara in Santa Barbara shows me in all Marc Jacobs. Jacket on and jacket off. Left pic with one of the shoes on the seats. This is the second photo you've seen of this shoe, which is a bit sad and pathetic of me. Poor old things they no longer have their ankle straps and they're falling apart. Much loved and much worn.
And on the other end of scale, a couple of nights later out come my other uniform of newish crocheted tunic, long sleeved has to be, and old Joie shorts.
Soon everything is covered by my camel (or do you say butterscotch?) cotton jacket from MikeandChris also five years old.
My new shoe obsession is my Stuart Weitzman rope sandals. Good with shorts, trousers, bright dresses. Saw them on Jennifer Aniston in OK mag, blimin' copy cat, and everyone I meet says they have just bought a pair. If you want to make some quick dosh, start making rope sandals or in fact wrap rope around everything. Toot sweet.
Have you got a favourite Date Night outfit?