Before we start I need to clarify. This is not about how to do the Inca trail in a ballgown – thats not what being a fashionable trekker means. This is simply about how to do the trek when you are someone who cares a little bit about fashion and style and wants to complete the trek with dignity. So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the fashion girl’s guide to Machu Picchu – all the tips and tricks and the sensible advice so you can be the fashion girl (or boy) I could not be.
Even before we went to Peru for the Inca trek this was one post I promised myself I would write. Like I mentioned, DJ and I were researching about our trip for almost a year. There is a whole lot of information out there and you will find information about everything you need to know. The one thing I could not find is how to complete this hike in a semi-fashionable state.
Its a four day hike in high altitudes and cold weather, fashion and style should be the last thing on my mind, right? Vanity has no place here. But lets be real – everyone wants to look their best. This is a trip of a lifetime for me, I am probably never getting the chance to come here again, and I plan to take a million photos (and more if possible). And I want to look my best in these photos. And you know what – that is absolutely fine. When I look my best, I feel better, feel more confident and more energised. My philosophy with this is just do what you want – if you care about this do everything you can to look your best. If you don’t, thats absolutely fine too. (Its annoying but wanting to look your best still needs to be justified sometimes).
1. Hiking Shoes
So my issue with the hike shopping started with trying to get shoes that were stylish, actually, lets go with non-ugly. What I discovered was that non-ugly hiking shoes are very hard to find. The ones I fell in love with were of course, too expensive and needed to be shipped from the USA which made then exorbitant and honestly, it seemed unnecessary. But luckily I walked into Blacks and found a beautiful pair of leather hiking boots which was the style I wanted.
Tip: start your shopping early so you don’t need to compromise. And I always remember what a friend said about hiking boots, they are so durable so you need to buy boots you love and like the look of. You will wear them for a long time so you don’t want to regret buying them every time you have to wear them. Wearing them should be something you look forward to.
2. The Big Jacket – Apricoat or Jack Wolfskin
Of course you need a big jacket. The catch is to get one which is breathable and keeps you warm at the same time. This is one that Dj got from Apricoat which is a start-up. I do love supporting new and innovative brands. I don’t have a lot of complaints about the jacket as such except the same compliant I have or almost all clothes – the jacket is long for me. Dj is extremely happy with his jacket. But this is one I would wear while trekking or doing some other activity and not otherwise.
Tip: Of course you need a big jacket. The catch is to get one which is breathable and keeps you warm at the same time. I started out using my Uniqlo puffer jacket but that just didn’t work for an activity and switched to the Apricoat jacket which was breathable. (I have linked other jackets above since Apricoat may not be something everyone would want to buy from.)
3. The Comfy Sweatshirt
Putting on a soft lined sweatshirt in the cold after an exhausting day of trekking is the most magical feeling. It was literally the one thing that I was looked forward to after the day’s trek was over and we reached our camp (that and the freshly made hot popcorn).
Tip: just because an article is not something you need for the actual hike, don’t dismiss it as trivial. Its just as important as the item you actually use when hiking. The comfy cosy feeling a nice sweatshirt will give you after a long hard day of trekking cannot be overestimated.
The second issue I faced was trying to get hold of hiking trousers that fit me. Now this isn’t now just vanity but please make sure your hiking trousers fit you well. I got hold of two pairs of trousers. One fit me well and one was a size bigger around the waist and a little longer. My original plan was to wear each trouser for 2 days during the four day hike. But since the bigger ones were so uncomfortable even with the belt, I either kept trying to hitch it up or kept trying to make sure I wasnt tripping over it by trying to tuck them into my boots. This was a not a good position to be in the middle of mountains and sharp climbing paths. For the rest of the hike I just wore the other trousers.
Tip: get your clothes altered if you need to so they fit well. The extra stress of ill-fitting clothes during a hike like this was just not worth it.
5. Tee shirts
This is something only I probably needed to buy and I am sure everyone else in the world already owns sweat wicking clima-lite tees. Dj has about 50 of these and I had 1. I don’t really sweat that much even in the gym and just don’t find these comfortable. I just wear my old cotton tees and don’t really think of gym clothes as something that need to be shopped for – old clothes become gym clothes for me most of the time. So I made sure not to buy a ton of these tees, just bought one more and wore these two on the hot days we had while on the trail. For the rest of the days I went back to my trust cotton tees.
Tip: think long-term even when shopping for a particular activity. This is always my mantra. I am now using these tees for my spinning class or when I do something especially strenuous. I am super glad to be able to get some use out of it after the trek is over.
6. Hiking Socks
Sadly I realised even somewhat non-ugly hiking socks are unattainable. (The picture under this heading is not of the ugly hiking socks because nobody needs to see that, but of beautiful Machu Picchu!)
Tip: sadly, sometimes you cannot be fashionable. The hiking socks I got were the ugliest I have seen. Not the ugliest hiking socks, but the ugliest socks per se. I was upset but there are somethings you need to give up on. Make sure the socks can never be seen above the top of your boots and you are good to go.
I really hope you guys enjoyed the post. I will be going back to my fashion content for sometime since I have been posting so much travel stuff my fashion posts are totally backed up! Come say hi to us on our Twitter. You can subscribe for our emails for regular updates every time we post, and do like us on Facebook. Hope your Monday is as good as Mondays can be! I usually treat myself to something. Even if its something as simple like my favourite podcast I feel I have something to look forward to.
Certain items were gifted by Simply Hike to Fashion and Frappes.