After moving to the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, life has taken a serious curve. In particular, my wardrobe.
Working in an office as a Project Manager meant I spent most of days in tailored trousers and tops and an array of different coloured court shoes. Particular favourites included patent red and hot pink suede. My hair was (generally) straightened and styled and I always wore light make up.
These days I don’t style my hair (or brush it regularly – my sister actually had to cut a giant knot out when we went back to Shropshire the other week), I can’t remember the last time I wore makeup, and my wardrobe has drastically shrunk. I thought I’d share my wardrobe staples with you, so if anyone out there is planning a lifestyle change to live on a small rock in the sea, you’ll know exactly what you need!
First off, hiking boots. I live in my Hanwag Comox GTX boots. When I say I live in them, I mean I wear them every single day. They keep my feet warm and dry, and for an island covered in mud and puddles, they’re pretty handy. I have been looking at investing in some wellies recently for the really wet days but due to my weird shaped legs (no ankles, runners calves), it’s proved impossible to find a pair of wellies that actually fit. Gaiters and hiking boots appear to be the answer.
Next up, trousers; here I have a wet weather and a dry weather option. The dry weather option is my beloved Rohan Troggings. Labelled as ‘your new favourite trousers’, these truly are a wardrobe staple. They’re made from technical hiking material but designed in a jogger style, elasticated waist and fitted in the right places. These are brilliant for hiking – I wore them for two weeks on the trot when Sarah and I hiked coast to coast across Scotland, and they’re perfect for day to day life when you’re unloading lorries, chasing cows, cleaning bikes or just sitting in the tearoom at the laptop *ahem.
My wet weather trouser option consists of my Crewroom No Fuss Leggings (I actually have two pairs, which is good cos I wear them a lot – comfiest leggings ever!) underneath my Sprayway waterproof trousers. These trousers have taken a battering and are starting to look pretty worn, but they still keep me dry. I never thought I’d be someone who wears waterproofs as every day wear, rather than just for hiking but there we go. I actually visited the village hall Christmas fair in waterproofs and my stripy jumper as an outfit last week…
I’ve just invested in some thermals from Marks and Spencer and for the days it’s truly freezing, I throw on a pair of thermal tights underneath whichever trouser option I’m wearing on the day. Comfy and warm, bonus. I struggle buying thermals because I absolutely can’t stand the feel of merino on my skin (except my feet, merino socks are a winner) so I was pleased to find non merino options in M&S.
On my top half, there’ll be a baselayer of either an M&S thermal vest or an M&S thermal hoody, depending on how likely it is wherever I’m going is warm and I’ll need to strip down a few layers. No one wants to see my thermal vest.
On warmer days, it’ll be my Crewroom vest top. I love this top – it’s like a Rubiks Cube threw up on it!
Mid layers are guaranteed to be from Crewroom; either my NorthWest hoodie which I’m in love with (I just found out they do a SouthEast fleece, the version without the hood – and it comes in pink, winner!), or the Backdraft lightweight top, or the waterproof sweatshirt (can’t remember the name).
Special occasions will involve my stripy jumper with either troggings or waterproofs.
On top of this layer will almost definitely be a gilet. If it’s properly hammering down with rain, it’ll be my Mountain Equipment hardshell, but I prefer gilets. I have two which I rotate; another Crewroom special which is quite fitted and has a hood, or my beloved Mountain Hardwear down gilet which is like wearing a duvet. I’m currently kicking myself for wearing it while working outside the other day. It was about -2 and I was sanding and priming windows. It’s now covered in primer. I’m such a fool.
My NorthFace Thermoball jacket also gets thrown into the rotation when I need an additional layer, alternated with my Berghaus fleece. Admittedly the fleece is a small mens, but it’s seriously warm and comfortable and is the clothes equivalent of a cuddle.
Hats, socks and gloves will be Sealskinz. My current new favourite gloves are the Outdoor Sport Mittens; they’re perfect for working outside since I can get the mitten hood off easily as and when I need to, while my hands are still covered. These replace the Fairfield glove which have been a firm favourite for a long time now. Still second favourite though!
Socks are always a variety of Sealskinz waterproofs. On cold days I’ll also wear the merino liner socks to keep my feet toasty warm. I have three of the waterproof cable knit beanies in cream, navy and grey and I wear them most days. I have just also bought a cute knitted beanie from Rohan (it’s stripy!) which will be thrown into the mix on dry but cold days.
That’s it. That’s my current wardrobe of what I live in, day to day. If you’re planning to move to a small island, be prepared. Ditch the heels, buy thermals.