She's planning a trip home to her native New Mexico soon, and it will involve a decent amount of hiking, including more difficult trails. As femmes do, we mulled over ways to make hiking look chic without sacrificing practicality and comfort, and it struck me: THE WALKING DEAD.
Sure, finding style inspiration on a show about zombies is a little off the beaten path, but the women of The Walking Dead have a lot to teach us about looking awesome while exerting ourselves in the great out-of-doors. Layering is priority number one — despite filming in the brutal Georgia heat, there are always layers, even if it's just doubled-up tanks — something that's pretty crucial to creating interest in an outfit.
Another recurring theme: neutrals and texture. I loved this look of Michonne's because it took a pair of basic worn jeans and kicked it up a notch with a loose, sleeveless knit given shape with an outstanding leather vest (in my dreams it looks like Rick Owens or Ann Demeulemeester; in reality, closer to Denim & Supply). The same look can be replicated with shorts in lieu of pants, (which really should not be denim or even tight cotton if you'll be working up any kind of sweat at all) and if you want something less heavy or expensive than a leather vest, something in a sturdy cargo-esque material — with or without pockets — will look just as good. Or thrift an old denim jacket, cut the sleeves off, and call it a day!
Outer layers are loose, sometimes sheer, and made of supremely lightweight fabrics that give coverage from the sun, bugs, moisture, what have you, but they don't add a lot of bulk and can easily be tied around the waist if you need to bring your femme guns out. Airy, drapey tanks go over the more fitted ones, and you can scoop up inexpensive gauzy tanks and tees by the armful at a Nordstrom or Nordstrom Rack. Hurley and RVCA are great for long-sleeved camp shirts that look amazing. One of my favorite white shirts is Hurley, and works just as well at the beach as it does on a hike or camping. Make sure you stick to neutrals and keep tones in the same color family for easy mixing and matching.
If you go the hiking or cut-off shorts route (I would), make sure you pack appropriate socks — probably official hiking ones from a sports store that has a decent hiking/camping section or an REI. You want all the protection from ticks and scratches you can get, and you'll want to make sure they stick out above the top of your boots a little bit, like on my personal favorite, Rosita, pictured above. I've done some pretty moderate hiking in both Seychelles and Frye boots and I'm not exactly the kind of girl who stays on the trail; hell, I've hiked in heels, so it's 100% possible to find practical, comfortable boots that don't necessarily look like this.
There's also always a belt. The more leather, and the more beat up it is, the better. It does a lot for an outfit, even an outdoorsy one, and it's handy from a practical standpoint, too. You can shove things in it, swing tools from it, and use it for safety or as a wilderness hack in a heartbeat. Back to Rosita, the belt is doubled up and loaded with holsters (hey, it's a zombie apocalypse), but yours can hold water bottles, a compass, knife or small leather pouch, etc. I hope that this little brainstorm with Anita inspired you to take advantage of warming temps and nature, and get your hot femme behinds outdoors! Sans flesh-eating zombies, of course.