We have to talk about apple picking for a minute.
We’re suburban parents. Apple picking is as much a requirement for fall as pretending to be cordial with your annoying neighbor when the kids trick-or-treat at her house.
My good friend and colleague Christine Tarlecki curated some lovely farms for apple picking just about the time I hit the number four spot on her list.
It was also about this time I realized I have valuable knowledge for the other moms whose zip code contractually obligates them to apple pick, drive SUVs, and have a sign reading “Live. Laugh. Love.” somewhere in the house.
See, the instinct is to apple pick in super-cute autumnal outfits. I mean, did I spend $138 on faux-suede boots so they could sit unseen in the school pickup line? No. I bought them because they go with every fall outfit bookmarked on my phone.
And sweaters! My 25-year-old J. Crew sweater has a leaf on it. Clearly, J. Crew intended that sweater for fall activities because when you’re 22 and wear it on a date that guy realizes your goal is to be a suburban apple picking mom and brings you home really early.
You can’t wear those things, and not because a date in 1999 went sideways.
I’m married to an outdoorsman, which means I spend a lot of time regretting my clothing choices. I’d like to save you from that discomfort.
Like the time my brand-new husband took me hiking. I put together an ensemble straight from an L.L. Bean photo shoot. Polo shirt. Khaki shorts, because khaki looks like the outdoors. Hair woven into long braids. Super outdoorsy-looking and cute.
And functional from my toes to the tops of my hiking boots and exactly no further.
The chilly air somehow didn’t improve as we A) hiked and B) moved out of the ungodly hour of 7 A.M. because hikes for some reason have to start early.
Nobody hikes at, like, two in the afternoon.
My husband passed me his windbreaker, which was sweet but also not cute-hiking-ensemble approved.
He’s almost a foot taller than me. The windbreaker fell well past the line of my shorts. I looked like a flasher with Pippi Longstocking’s hairdo.
So I’ve learned a thing or two about dressing for the outdoors.
First of all, apple picking is really buggy. It’s almost always hotter than you anticipated. And if there’s been rain in that apple orchard any time since the Cretaceous period, the ground will be wet and your suede boots will definitely find a patch of mud.
So here’s where I introduce you to Outside. Don’t let the name get you freaked. Outside is a magazine for, well, yes – it’s for outdoorsy people. But it’s for outdoorsy people in the same way Whole Foods is for people who live organically – I say I’m going for free-range chicken, but I’m mostly going for the Amazon return counter.
Outside does have articles like “Insect Energy Bars” – no thanks – but it also has articles like “Elevate Your Apres-Ski Game With These Whiskey Cocktails.” It bridges that gap between the outdoors life I pretend I have and the outdoors life I actually have.
So check out Blair Braverman’s page, especially her primer on hiking. The outfit described there is exactly what you need for outdoor fall activities.
Also, if you enjoy a good everyday dress but, like me, are well into the stage of life where bras are a requirement, Blair has you covered. Literally.
Don’t worry. I’m not all gloom and doom. We can wear our October gear for some fall activities. The haunted houses here, for example, should be gentle on those suede boots. Or the Murder Mystery Tour in Peddler’s Village I heard about here. Or take a driving tour of these haunted Bucks County locations dug up by my other colleague, Dan Weckerly.
Although Dan – I love you, but I live in Bucks County. Did I need to know about all of the haunted places in Bucks County?
I did not, Dan. What if those ghosts decide they’d like to live in some newer construction? What if they decide to move in with me, Dan?
Let’s just pretend all of those haunted locales are in Delco. That’s far enough away. Everybody knows ghosts can only travel so far. I mean, look at Michael Myers. He isn’t a ghost, but he’s not exactly alive either and he seems really reluctant to leave Haddonfield, Ill. So you know – Delco, Dan. Delco.
Because running from ghosts is like apple picking – I can’t do it in suede boots.