Late summer is full of adventure. That said, I frequently find my comfortable walking shoes do not necessarily jive with my overall aesthetic. You can only wear sneakers or Sperry’s so many times before feeling like it’s time to switch it up—but you also cannot walk for miles exploring new places in strappy sandals, shoes with no cushion, or, worse yet, heels.
Amanda and I have been on the hunt for the ideal sandal that takes our look (and our bodies) that extra mile as we explore new towns, stroll through farmers markets and trek across the world this season: a sandal that is comfortable, non-chafing, blister-free and most importantly has a supportive sole.
We settled on the Clair Slingback by Caslon. It’s cushy sole, butter-soft sueded leather, comfortable wide straps, plethora of color options and adjustable band checked all our boxes. Not only are they flattering, I have walked around for miles in them without regretting a single step. Our secret walking weapon selected, we built this month’s column (literally) from the ground up around these easy breezy sandals.
Islands and lighthouses dot the Maine coast, all begging to be explored, but one in particular will always hold a special place in my heart and history. In the summer of 2011 I was 25, clutching a freshly earned master’s degree, engaged to a sailor and looking for one last “hurrah” before resigning myself to full-blown adulting. Nate and I both grew up in the shadow of Seguin Island, the difference between us being that he spent his youth volunteering out there, whereas I didn’t step foot on this 64-acre outpost until Memorial Day Weekend 2011 when Ethan Deberry, captain of The Seguin Island Ferry, delivered us to its cove as the newly minted volunteer lighthouse keepers for the next three months. In addition to proving that Nate and I could, indeed, live in remote close quarters without killing each other (helpful knowledge going into a marriage), Seguin also offers expansive and dramatic views in all directions (you can even see Mount Washington on particularly clear days) and hiking trails across the varied landscape. In addition to offering me a day of nostalgia and memory, the island provides the perfect backdrop for taking these sandals, and the look we built around them, for the ultimate adventure test drive.
Preparing for a day on Seguin can be an adventure in itself. The island is situated two miles off shore, at the mouth of the Kennebec River. If you don’t happen to own (or have access to) a boat, you first drive to Fort Popham (in Phippsburg) and then catch the Seguin Island Ferry to take you the rest of the way. Just drive until the road ends and look for the guy with the curly red hair (that’s Ethan). You’ll get there, we promise.
Layers are absolutely necessary for this frequently chilly boat ride. We chose the iconic L.L. Bean Sweater Fleece Pullover. We love the custom feel of the fit—it’s available in petite, regular and plus-sized options—coupled with the soft warmth this wardrobe staple wraps you in. L.L.Bean updated the classic look of a fleece with a knit exterior, while keeping the traditional brushed fleece inside. This slight alteration of the design makes it feel a little more refined and transitions the jacket into a practical and fashionable choice. I was hugely tempted by the new color-block options, but erred on the side of caution and versatility with the solid sailcloth color.
There isn’t a dock on the island, so you need to be poised to navigate the transition from dinghy to rocky beach and be quite ready to get your feet, ankles and sometimes calves wet. Amanda and I opted to pack her camera and our cell phones in a dry bag, but if you travel with less gear, a simple waterproof/floating phone case would be an excellent choice in case of a dunking. Rolling up pants is always a viable option, but instead I chose to wear Cora Shorts by Boden. This linen short has a 6-inch inseam and a fuller leg, providing more coverage and freedom of movement as we trekked up the steep incline to the top of the island and wandered about. Our favorite detail on these shorts was the removable tie at the waist. In so many cases, when shorts or pants have a bow at the waist, it isn’t actually removable. We loved the freedom of choice (to bow or not to bow!) along with the vibrantly bright color and natural ventilation the linen offers. Pro tip: Boden is based in the UK. If you’re in a hurry, many items are also available at Nordstrom and they get to you far more quickly when you go that route.
The top of Seguin is approximately 186 feet above sea level, and the hill to get to the top is rather steep. I quickly ditched my layering piece as we paused to enjoy a strategically placed bench at a scenic overlook. We figured we would lean in completely to our nautical theme and pair our brightly colored shorts with a navy and white striped tee. While there’s no shortage of stripes out there, we love the affordability and versatility of this Whisper Cotton V-Neck Pocket Tee by Madewell. I struggle with v-neck shirts being a little too deep on my petite frame, but I found this one comfortable, flattering and not too revealing. Cotton naturally stretches out a bit, but this top held its shape well and the side-slits at the hem are a thoughtful detail.
Save its natural beauty and a few historical landmarks, there is little on the island. Anything you may want, you need to carry in with you. With two toddlers at home, I find myself eating like one and was sure to pack plenty of snacks and water. Sea Bags have risen in fame to the point where no summer look feels complete without one. Made from recycled sails, the medium tote in “Watercolor Waves” complements our nautical theme in the most practical way and carries all of our necessities with ease. What solidified this choice for us was that we don’t have to worry about it getting wet (because…sails) and, since it can be thrown in the washer and dryer, we don’t have to be concerned about the bottom getting dirty on the floor of Ethan’s lobster boat. We were able to tuck everything we needed inside and sail off into the sunrise for our grand island adventure.
GET THE LOOKS
Clair Slingback by Caslon (nordstrom.com, $79.95)
L.L. Bean Sweater Fleece Pullover by L.L.Bean (llbean.com, $79)
Cora Shorts by Boden (bodenusa.com, $70)
Whisper Cotton V-Neck Pocket Tee by Madewell (madewell.com, $24.50)
Watercolor Waves medium tote by Sea Bags (seabags.com, $160–$200)
Beaded Circle Tassel Earrings by J.Crew Factory (factory.jcrew.com, $39.50)
Cotton Bandana in Villa Blue by Madewell (madewell.com, $12.50)
For more detailed fit reviews of these items and more Maine fashion, head over to the East Coast Inspired blog, eastcoastinspired.com.
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Amy Power and Amanda Whitegiver are co-founders of East Coast Inspired, a fashion and lifestyle blog. Amy is a mother of two (and the model featured in this column’s photos) who spends her days dreaming of the ultimate craft room and intending to go for a run. Amanda is a lifestyle family photographer who adores dark chocolate and singing with her two daughters.