It’s truly fall now, my friends. In every way. Including the leaves turning and the temperatures dropping. So if I want to continue to avail myself of the company of friends on a patio somewhere for lunch or dinner, that means “rugging up”, as the New Zealanders say. Yep, rugging up for lunch or dinner, if one is dining outside, will be de rigeur from now on. I’m not talking about donning my down jacket, and a hat and mittens. It’s not winter yet. Something in between a winter outfit and a normal fall ensemble is required. Something comfortable enough to eat in and warm enough to sit outside for a couple of hours. Rugging up for dining out takes a bit more planning than usual.

Hubby and I first came across that expression when we were on a farm stay in New Zealand in 2003. We headed out with Doug, our host, in his four-wheel drive for a tour of the sheep paddocks, and he suggested we “rug up” since it might be cool in the open vehicle. We did, and it was, and what a ride we had over the hills on their farm. Opening paddock gates, closing others, watching the dogs herd the sheep. Hopping back in the vehicle just in time as Doug spun his wheels and we were off again. So much fun. And Hubby and I learned a new expression which we still say to each other. That memory always makes us giggle. Especially when we recall my shriek as the jeep topped a hill at speed and all four wheels left the ground.

So these days for a casual lunch in my favourite bistro in our village I will need to rug up. I might wear my new forest green Everlane long-sleeved tee with my old suede moto jacket, my Frame high-rise straight-leg jeans (similar), and my Paul Green loafers (similar in black patent). Rugging up means no bare ankles. So I will need socks of course. And the lovely scarf I bought at Chatsworth when I visited there in 2017. And if the weather is extra chilly there’s always the option of wearing long underwear. No joke. Scarf for the neck, long underwear for the bottom.

Rugging up for fall with my M&S suede jacket, new green Everlane tee, scarf from Chatsworth, Frame straight-leg jeans, and navy socks in my Paul Green loafers.
M&S jacket, Everlane tee, Frame jeans, Paul Green loafers, scarf from Chatsworth.

My new long-sleeved pocket tee fits like the short-sleeved tees I bought in the summer, just long enough and just loose enough to be casual and comfortable. In fact, I think I could have worn a medium instead of a large. The tee works well with my old khaki suede moto jacket from Marks and Spencer. I won this jacket on Alyson Walsh’s blog That’s Not My Age in 2016. I love the colour, and deliberately sized up so it would be loose, which works really well this season since everything is loose, it seems. The Marks and Spencer jacket is no longer available but AllSaints has a really similar style, and everything is 20% off on their site at the moment. You can check out their jacket here.

Or, when I’m dining al fresco, which is the only way I’m eating out these days, I might wear my other new tee shirt from Everlane. This navy, square mockneck cropped tee. I like this style. It has a dropped shoulder and is really loose around the middle. I bought it to wear with my navy sweats. But I like it with jeans as well. It has a kind of early sixties vibe to me. I like both of my new purchases from Everlane. It appears that I have filled that hole in my wardrobe by adding these two light-weight fall tops.

For a trip to town the other day, I paired my navy tee with my Frame high-waisted, boot-cut jeans, my sneakers, my new Vince cable-knit sweater, in case it grew chilly, and my AllSaints tote bag. I bought this bag at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale in 2017. But they still sell a really similar style. Mine is smooth leather and doesn’t have the added cross-body strap, which is a shame.

wearing my new Everlane navy tee to town with my Frame jeans, Vince sweater, and AllSaints bag.
My new Vince sweater matches my hair.

I’ve been on the hunt for a small cross-body bag for a while. And when I met my friend Susan for lunch on the outdoor patio at Nordstrom earlier in the week, I spied these AllSaints cross-body bags. The “Captain Square Cross-body bag” is just the right size and shape for what I want. I didn’t buy it right away because I wasn’t sure about the colour and the salesperson said they might have other colours on the AllSaints website. That’s when I discovered that everything on the AllSaints site is 20% off. Sadly, for me, although the other colours are lovely, they are not exactly what I want. So I plan to order the grey one from Nordstrom when we get back from camping next week.

This is what I wore to lunch at Nordstrom. I didn’t intend to actually use this shot, featuring Hubby’s colourful drip bucket placed where the eavestrough leaks. I usually remember to move his buckets. But I was in a hurry and I just wanted to check that my outfit didn’t look weird. I don’t always trust my mirror. I left my white jeans out of storage last month in hopes that I might get one more wear out of them. And I quite like them with my new Vince sweater, my black Stuart Weitzman boots, and my ancient black messenger bag. I tried my old Max Mara blazer, but it seemed too structured for this outfit. So I swapped it for this reversible black and grey camo-pattered windbreaker from Theory. Funny that I’m getting more wear out of this jacket lately than I have for ages. Must be my white hair.

Rugging up for lunch at Nordstrom. White jeans, black Theory windbreaker, grey Vince sweater, black Stuart Weitzman boots.
Off to lunch and the best fish and chips in town.

Susan and I had a lovely lunch on Tuesday. The rooftop patio at Nordstrom is really nice, spacious to allow for good social distancing, with propane heaters to keep the chill off. You know, I’ve been saying for a while that I think the restaurant at Nordstrom is the best lunch spot in town. The food is always delicious and the service always friendly. Susan and I both had their fish and chips. Oh my. So good. And as a transplanted Maritimer, I do know my fish and chips, people. And since we were both sufficiently rugged up for a sunny but chilly late September day… we had a marvelous time.

It always pays to dress for the weather. Makes life much more comfortable.

And speaking of dressing for the weather, today I am packing my long underwear and old wooly fleece, my raingear and my fishing boots, and even a pair of shorts and a couple of tees. We’re off for five days with our tent trailer, and the weather forecast is… well… variable. Hot one day. Cool and rainy for a couple. Hopefully it will be good in the evenings for a campfire. I love campfires. I have packed heavy socks, lots of tea, and several books. So I am well prepared for a couple of inclement days stuck in the tent. As long as there are no bugs. Please let there be no bugs. It would be unusual for bugs at the end of September. But it is 2020. So who knows what the week will bring.

You know, it’s much easier to rug up for camping. Just layer on the turtlenecks, heavy socks, fleece, rain jacket. No one cares what I look like. Not even me. It’s the staying warm when I need to look presentable that is more difficult. Rugging up when one is patio dining and still wants to look good, and be warm but not too hot, takes more planning.

So what is your secret, my friends, for dressing appropriately to dine out of doors when the weather starts to get chilly?

*** All links to clothing and bags in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link I will earn a commission.

Joining Catherine’s #IWillWearWhatILike link-up over at Not Dressed as Lamb.


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19 thoughts on “Rugging Up For Lunch”

  1. Loved this post, Sue, because you’ve hit on exactly the kind of fashion question which befuddles us in COVID times. So, I’m off to plan my “rugging up” outfit for our upcoming bookclub meeting this week where we will drink tea brought from home and circle our lawn chairs to discuss Madeline Miller’s “Circe”. You’ve inspired me to wear my cashmere hoody under my 8-year old navy leather jacket and finish it off with a navy/green scarf my sister brought me from the Hebrides last year. That hood just might come in handy once the breeze picks up…

    Bring on the long underwear…it’s going to be an interesting year!

  2. You’ve nailed your rugging-up outfits. I especially love the first outfit. The “khakiesque” tones of the new tee and the jacket are gorgeous with the beautiful Chatsworth scarf. The outfit is a variation of my beloved pink and green colour combination, adjusted in tone for autumn instead of spring – so clever. Well done on filling the tee-shirt wardrobe hole. Since your last post, I’ve acquired a new long sleeve Sportscraft tee in fuschia, which is perfect for early spring and will be just as good in all seasons except summer. We “rug up” in Oz too, though not so much now that spring has arrived 🌸

  3. I just wanted to say, it looks to me like you are really hitting your stride with your gray-hair style. Seems edgier but totally, you, and love the colors you’re choosing.

  4. Not very big on eating outside when it is chilly. I have noted, however, that offering rugs is now quite common over here in UK so perhaps it will be something that takes off as the climate swerves. Years ago, we stayed with friends who were lucky enough to have woodland. It was just after Christmas, there was snow, so we went out with flasks and bottles, and sat by the lake for coffee. Never knowingly under-dressed, I sported my heavy fake-fur coat which goes everywhere with me in the winter. Perfection. Enjoy the camping.

  5. I like the phrase rugging up and will remember that when heading out to have a physical distanced coffee with the group. Since we meet in a park by a river it is sometimes chilly with a breeze and makes us wonder how long we can keep this up. Well, earmuffs, gloves, scarf, warm socks and layers should work until the snow flies. Also a blanket and perhaps a pillow to sit on with the lawn chairs to keep the bum warm as well. The fresh air and company is worth it for now, only thing putting a ‘damper’ on it is the rain. Have you figured out how to do the book club in wet weather? I wish I looked as stylish as you do in those photos. You have a wonderful way of putting layers together and not look like a marshmallow. Those white jeans look great with the new sweater.

    1. I almost forgot, I do love the travel stories, there is always an adventure that makes me feel like I went along with you.

  6. I have always been on the look out for fashionable fleece jackets after finding two beautiful and warm fleece blazers at LL Bean in Maine years ago and one at my local department store now gone. Most look sporty and why do they need to be? Why does comfy and warm need to look sporty? So it has always been a constant quest. When found they get a LOT of use.

    Lately I have found cross body bags to be perfect. I started with the Lo and Sons Pearl which I love. I just wish it was a little deeper for my iPhone X. But I love the organization in it and the softness of the Napa leather version. Looking for something a little bigger and something I could wipe down I bought a Travelon after Seeing a friends. It truly would be great for travel with the zipper clasps.

    As it’s cooler here I need to revisit my cooler weather clothes. Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. All great outfits & I love your old black messenger bag . I’m not good at sitting out in the cold . Cold makes me bad tempered so it’s best avoided . As a previous poster said , rugs are often provided here in outside eateries but who used them last ? One more thing to worry about . I hope your trip goes well & is bugless . Wonder what books you’ve packed ?

  8. Sue, do you really want a purse with a top zipper that’s rough on your hands and catches on things? That All Saints bag would not come home with me, no matter how pretty.

  9. Hi Sue, I really like the last grey and white outfit. Have you seen the guitar straps for bags that are available lately. Every colour and/or pattern under the sun makes a very comfy cross body strap. Also I move straps around from bag to bag, sometimes bags did not come with a long strap but have the hardware to accommodate one. Happy camping! Lise

  10. Sue have you ever looked at the Longchamps Le Foulonné crossbody bags?

    Despite an embarrassing collection of designer bags sitting in dustbags on my shelf, I don’t carry a handbag anymore. Part of getting older and no longer buying into customs that don’t serve me! Because I realized all I ever need with me around town is my phone, which is in a wallet book case with my bankcard, my keys, and maybe a Burt’s Bees lipgloss/chapstick. Since I always wear clothing with pockets (thanks, menswear!), I am bag-free and loving it.

    That said, when traveling, I do need a handbag. The Longchamps Le Foulonné crossbody has for several years now been my go-to. It holds enough without bulk, has an outside pocket and is well made. I always get asked where I got it.
    Just in case you think twice about the Allsaints. Cheers!

  11. For the first time since I retired we can’t go south this winter so I splurged and treated myself to a Canada Goose parka, in red. I figure my old Canadian bones aren’t used to our winters anymore and need some extra pampering. That should take care of my body, but it’s my soul I’m worried about now. What’s your preferred brand of tea. Red Rose is getting harder to find in giant boxes. Tried Yorkshire. Tetley is OK. I’ve heard PC is good. I’ll be consuming it by the tankful in the coming months.

  12. We’re nowhere near rugging up here in SoCal – we’re forecasted to have another heat dome event this week. But when it eventually happens (November?), it will be jeans, ankle boots, a sweater, puffy vest, and a knit or crocheted scarf that pulls it all together. My winter uniform, whether I’m here in LA or finally in Portugal.

  13. “Rugging up!” What a wonderful phrase! I’m a self-professed word nerd and I love it when I’m introduced to new words and expressions. Our favourite campgrounds out here in Alberta are already closed for the season and hubby winterized the trailer last week, but we’ve been watching the forecast and fitting in some wonderful fall day trips for hiking and kayaking. We definitely need to “rug up” though, especially in the mornings!

  14. Excellent phrase for that particular situation you described, that we’re all dealing with right now – AND wanting to look great while doing it! I’m thinking as the weather cools and I’m still swanning around outside, I’ll have an opportunity to wear things that were just too hot in recent winters…
    Very nice outfits, and still loving your “new” hair!

  15. Love your new Vince sweater with your hair. Very chic. I won’t be able to rug up here in Southern California until November.

  16. Beautiful autumn colours! I hope that you both are enjoying your trip-without bugs,naturally 🙂
    I love rugging up but my friends don’t. It is pretty cold now-10-15 °C,too early for this..
    So,no dinners al fresco,only a quick coffee or two,with prosecco from time to time
    I’ve bought burgundy Uniqlo jacket as an underlayer for my jackets and trench coats (I can wear it alone,as well) and have a special thick cashmere pashmina,so I would be cosy and good,but without brave enough company 🙂

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