Let’s face it. We’d argue that the cottage is the perfect place to forget about fashion altogether in favour of total and complete comfort at all times. And while these ensembles might not fly in the real world, at the cottage they’re practically haute couture.
Fleece, fleece and more fleece
Beloved of outdoorsy folks everywhere, fleece isn’t exactly parading down the runways during Paris fashion week, but whatever. Fleece is pretty awesome. It’s warm, it’s insulating even when it’s wet, it dries quickly and it’s breathable. It also comes in a rainbow of colours. Heck, it may even be made out of recycled plastic containers (or recycled fleece).
Crocs ‘n’ socks (and the equally common Birks ‘n’ socks)
OK, this is a fashion crime no matter where you are, but the combination of socks and sandals is just so practical that we’re willing to overlook the sartorial sin. Think about it: you get to wear soft, comfy socks and can easily slide on a pair of shoes when you need to duck outside to tend the barbecue or take your place around the campfire. Fashion tip: if you don’t want to look really goofy, trade the black dress socks for some chunky woollen ones.
Enormous, holey t-shirts and sweatshirts
These oversized shirts, which generally see the light of day only at the cottage, end up smelling like campfire and bug spray no matter how many times you wash them, but they’re so incredibly comfortable that no one cares. Yes, there’s probably a hole (or five) in them, but that just provides ventilation. You get bonus points if the (sweat)shirt once belonged to an old boyfriend or your grandfather, or is from a university or concert you never actually went to.
Mosquito netting headgear
Yes, you probably wouldn’t wear a hat with mosquito netting in the city, but again, at the cottage, practicality far outweighs vanity. Bugs are a natural part of life at a rural property, and spray can only go so far, especially if you’re working in a damp or shady area. A hat (and clothing, if you want to go that far) draped with mosquito netting is a perfect way to make sure your work or hike isn’t interrupted by constant swatting.
The hat you only wear fishing
Maybe it’s covered in fish hooks, maybe it’s so weathered you can’t tell what its original colour was — regardless, your fishing hat is the ideal accessory out on the water. Tight enough not to blow off, soft enough to tuck under your leg if you need to, and with a brim long enough to keep the sun out but short enough to see if your minnow is still alive as you pull in your line. It will never lose its fishy smell, but no one cares.
Your birthday suit
You may not make it a habit to swim in the altogether anywhere else, but swimming at the cottage practically requires at least one midnight dip wearing nothing but moonlight. If you’re lucky enough to be at the cottage solo (or with people you’re not self-conscious around) you might find a little casual nudity is more the rule than the exception. After all, why worry about dirtying up a towel when you could just dry off in the sun? Just make sure your neighbours can’t see you.
That decades-old decades-old bathing suit
It lost its elasticity years ago and is looking a little threadbare, but it’s so comfy that you wear that same bathing suit year after year. Pool parties in the city call for a little more care when selecting swimwear, perhaps, but at the cottage, loose and relaxed is the way to go. Just make sure the elastic isn’t too far gone, or you might end up skinny dipping by accident.
Extra-goofy barbecue aprons
Whether they say “License to Grill,” “The Grillfather” or reference Game of Thrones with the ominous “Dinner Is Coming,” barbecue aprons with groan-worthy slogans are de rigueur at the cottage. After all, where else would you wear multiple years worth of Fathers’ Day presents?
Ratty flip flops
You bought them at the dollar store at least a decade ago and they carry the permanent grubby imprint of your feet on them. They’re the shoes that simply will not die. Perfect for shuffling down to the beach or ducking out to the shed in a rainstorm, these faithful plastic flip flops will forever be a fixture next to the back door. Even better, keep them next to a basin of sun-warmed water on the deck so you can rinse off your feet before going back inside.
If you can find a pair that don’t bind awkwardly, onesie pyjamas can be ridiculously comfortable and just plain ridiculous, all at the same time. Their level of coverage is perfect for padding downstairs in the morning without having to get dressed and they’re warm enough that you could wear them out onto the deck to enjoy the morning sun, even if there’s a chilly breeze.