Seasonless Clothing for Snowbirds (Rainbirds on the West Coast)
by Kay Kerns (along with Tina Boomerina)
Kay Kerns, a friend of mine, asked me if I had any articles about seasonless wardrobes – clothing that works for snowbirds (or rainbirds) who live half the year in the North and half the year in the South. Well, because Kay will be living in both Seattle and Phoenix in a year or two, she ended up writing this article for us because she knows more about building a seasonless wardrobe than I do.
In the United States, people who “go south” for the winter are usually called snowbirds, but people who live in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and Northern California) are sometimes called rainbirds. And, most rainbirds don’t end going to Florida, they go to the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or the California desert).
Seasonless Snowbird (Rainbird) Clothing – by Kay Kerns
Here’s what Kay wrote:
I’ve been thinking about seasonless and snowbird/rainbird clothing and I’ve noticed that travel-friendly clothing often fits in with the same theme. Seasonless clothing should layer and work together in the same way as travel wear.
In Arizona, you may need to go from cold conditions to hot ones within a short period. I noticed the temperatures in Phoenix can go from 88 to 55 over a 24-hour period and I there's fierce air conditioning everywhere.
Layered Clothing for Southwest Snowbirds
Thin layers that can be easily added and removed, made of breathable fabrics and loose, flowy, gauzy stuff are ideal. I remember passing through the Southwest on one of my first road trips and living in a dark-printed gauze broomstick skirt because it didn't wrinkle, was so comfortable and loose, and could be super casual or more dressy depending on my tops or accessories. The dark colors of the print didn't show dirt either!
Then I backed up into a cactus in a desert botanical garden and got spines all over my hip! Now I know why cowboys wore chaps!
Kay’s Seasonless Wardrobe Ideas
Here’s my list of clothing that works year round. I always get pieces that work alone or layered:
- Tops and bottoms: Buy lighter-weight cottons and knits. (Neutral colors are versatile.)
- Leggings: These can be worn as a layer under a long skirt for extra warmth or as bottoms with a tunic or shorter dress if it's warm out.
- Long skirts (peasant style, gauze, T-shirt knits, stretchy fabric, maxi length): Long skirts can be worn in hot weather with a tank or short-sleeved knit top. If it’s chilly, long skirts can be worn with tights or leggings under them and worn with a long-sleeved top, thin sweater or knit top/cardigan combo.
- Capri pants
- Denim anything: I especially like dark washes.
- Khaki anything: Army green, to my mind, is more seasonless than beige khaki.
- Florals: I look for prints with a dark background. (The dark floral dress from Eucalyptus can be mixed and matched with every piece in the main photo - for every kind of weather.)
- Tops and dresses with 3/4 sleeves
- Tank tops
- Tailored bigshirts: The most versatile ones are white or chambray. (article continues)
Keep reading about seasonless fashion on page two.