Starting Over: Poor Planning & Building a Summer Wardrobe from Scratch

When it appeared the schools would be closing here in Ohio back in early March, I hurriedly packed my suitcase, loaded up my SUV with a bunch of my son’s old, childhood toys and some other gifts I’ve been meaning to bring up, and I headed north. It was still very cold in Ohio, in fact, it was snowing the day I arrived.

I didn’t pack quite as many clothes as I normally do. I tossed in 2 coats: a favorite raincoat (see it here: Raincoat)


…and my L.L. Bean Barn Coat. (see it here: Barn Coat)


I also packed 3-4 pairs of navy and black jeggings/jeans, several pairs of shoes, a pair of snow/rain boots, winter sweaters and a few long sleeve shirts. The only semi-summery outfit I packed was my favorite polka dot shirt and this green cardigan.


Unfortunately,  I forgot my favorite summer sunhat. I’ve really been needing it on our long 5-8 mile walks around the neighborhood! I may end up buying another one since I’ll be here a while. You’ll find them here: Sun Hat.

White & Navy Polka Dot Shirt with Orange Cardigan Sweater, Navy Jeggings


I’ve been here around a month now and spring has definitely sprung. We’ve been having temps in the upper 70’s which I’m loving, but I realized this week that I’m woefully unprepared for the warm temps we’ve been experiencing. I really, really wish I had tossed in a couple of pairs of my fave scalloped shorts and some of my casual, linen summer dresses.

White Scalloped Shorts


Truthfully, I don’t really need any shorts since I have plenty at home, purchased over the last two summers, but I always try to add a couple of new summer dresses to my spring/summer wardrobe each year.

With the temps rising and unsure when I’ll be headed back home to Georgia, I went in search of a few summer dresses to help get me through the next month or so until things return to normal. I kinda wonder what “normal” will look like after the spring we’ve had. I’m sure you do, too.

The first place I headed online was to the Tommy Bahama site since I LOVE their linen shift dresses! They have one that I’m super interested in, but unfortunately, it’s not currently on sale. So I’ve decided to wait in hopes it will go on sale.

This is the style I love wearing during the summertime. It’s a flattering fit and not too short, hits me right above the knee. It must be a really popular style for TB since they’ve carried it in different patterns every single summer since I discovered it in the Tommy Bahama store in Maui a few years back. It’s currently available here: Summer Dress.


I only purchase cotton or linen dresses for summer since I really dislike how clothes made of polyester, rayon, etc… look on me. Plus, I don’t find them near as comfortable or cool as cotton and linen. Linen and cotton do require a bit of ironing, but I find it totally worth it for the look and comfort they offer.

I especially love Tommy Bahama’s linen, shift dresses because they fall naturally over the body in a way that’s flattering, feminine and very forgiving. That’s what I want in a dress…the three Fs! lol They are also lined with a cotton lining, so no need to wear a slip.

In my Google searches a few nights ago, I discovered one of the TB dresses I already own was available in “New” condition on eBay. The price was less than half what I paid when I purchased the dress brand new in Maui, so I bought it. I love the color/style of this dress so much, I don’t mind having a duplicate. It should arrive tomorrow or Friday.


I tripped across another TB summer dress that I already own and love on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth. I purchased it again since the price was excellent! Tommy Bahama Floral Dress


You may remember seeing it in this post where I shared why I dread salon visits so much: My Favorite Hair Style and Anxiety at the Hair Salon.

Unfortunately, I forgot to change the shipping address to Ohio so sadly it’s headed to GA. Argggg.

Favorite Hairstyle


I found another really cute Tommy Bahama linen dress on eBay (New with Tags) and purchased it. It’s a style that I’ve never tried before but hopefully, it will fit. The price was so good I decided to take a chance. The color scheme/pattern reminds me of another TB dress I have at home and love.

Tommy Bahama Dress


You may remember glimpsing it on me in this photo I took while touring the Dior Exhibition in London last summer. (See that previous post here: Beautiful Dior Exhibition: Victoria and Albert Museum, London 2019.)

Christian Dior Exhibition, 2019, London England


Last night I found this adorable Tommy Bahama dress on sale and luckily they had it in my size. So this one will be delivered sometime in the next few days and it’s one I don’t already own. You’ll find it and many other Tommy Bahama dresses on sale here:
Tommy Bahama Dresses on Sale.  This particular dress can be seen on sale here: Tommy Bahama Sleeveless Shift Dress.

With the three dresses I’ve ordered, at least I’ll have something to wear as the days grow warmer. Talbots doesn’t have my fave scalloped shorts in stock right now, so not sure what I’ll end up doing for shorts. At some point, when it’s not so difficult to travel via interstate back into Georgia, I may make a trip back home to pick up some more clothes. Driving back home right now feels risky with all that’s going on, not to mention Georgia is requiring self-quarantining for those folks coming in right now, depending on the state from which they are coming.


Unfortunately, I only brought one pair of sandals with me, the blue pair shown below. These are practical sandals that I love wearing every day around the house, for summer walks or summer hikes or whenever I’m traveling during the summer months. I took them with me to Kenya, Morrocco and Egypt. They saved my life in Egypt where it was broiling hot every single day! They also accompanied me to England last summer.

You’ve heard me rave about these sandals so many times because they are the most comfortable, supportive sandals I’ve ever worn. I always buy them here: Sandals. They seem to be in short supply these days, not sure why, but you can see the ones that are still available here: Sandals.

Best Sandals for Arch Support and Comfort


Though I love the sandals above for everyday summer wear, I wanted at least one more pair that would look a bit “fancier” to wear with my summer dresses when I leave the house. Of course, the only place I’m going these days is the grocery store.

I found these cute Skechers sandals for a great price and decided to order them. They are currently $34.95 with a coupon that takes an additional $8.74 off, bringing them down to just $28.18.

They arrived today and I love them! They have so much arch support, a feature I really value in a shoe! They come in several colors but this was my fave. Love how they look on–very flattering.

I ordered my usual size, size 7, and they fit perfectly. I think they will look great with the dresses I’ve ordered and with my other summer dresses/shorts back home. You’ll find these available here: Sandals.


We’ve been taking a lot of long walks throughout the week and on weekends, so I decided to order some sneakers for the days when it’s still too chilly for my fave walking sandals. I ordered these one size up since I like to wear my sneaks with thick, cushy, low-cut socks. They were super affordable at just $32.99.

They arrived today and are perfect with the socks I ordered at the same time. They come in a variety of colors and I wouldn’t mind having these in the white/gray color combination, too! You’ll find these cute sneakers here: Sneakers.

These are the socks I ordered to go with them. They arrived yesterday and they feel/look great with the sneakers. They come in several color combos, including white. I went with the gray since the sneakers are gray. If I order the white sneakers too, I’ll probably order these socks again in the white color combination. If you’re in need of summer socks for sneakers, these are available here: Socks for Sneakers.


I think I’ll shop for some summer shirts today to go with the jeans/jeggings I brought along with me…maybe pick up some t-shirts and another long-sleeve linen tunic. Love those!

Update: I just noticed Talbots is having a huge spring sale. See everything that’s on sale here: Spring Sale. Off to shop the sale!

Linen Shirt for Summer


See you tomorrow for Tablescape Thursday!

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  1. Sandy from W Chester Ohio

    I love those white shorts. You will be needing your L.L. Bean coat tomorrow

  2. Hi Susan!

    I haven’t owned anything linen since 30 years ago I had a white linen skirt that was so pretty, but wrinkled like crazy.

    I see linen clothes and wonder: is it different than it used to be in the wrinkle-department?

    Hope you’re doing well!


    • My TB dresses do wrinkle but I don’t mind at all. I’ve told this story before on the blog, but it’s worth repeating. 🙂 Many, many years ago when my son was still in high school (making it around 20 years ago-gasp!) I was shopping in Talbots. I purchased two wonderful linen suits that I still have and love. When I was paying for them, knowing very little about linen I asked the associate who was checking me out if they would wrinkle. She was a lot older (and wiser) than me and she sweetly informed me that they should wrinkle because they were made from Irish linen which she seemed to be implying was the very best. She said that the better the linen, the more it will wrinkle. She let me know I should wear my wrinkles with pride. lol

      Since then, I’ve noticed Alexander Kraft, the owner of Sotheby’s Realty in France (whom I follow on Instagram) wears a lot of linen pants/slacks in the summer. He is absolutely the most dapper dresser I’ve ever seen. I follow him strictly to ogle his antique cars, gorgeous homes and impeccable wardrobe. You can see his Instagram feed here: .\

      Anyway, his linen pants always have creases at the top of the legs where pants crease when sitting, so you know they are made of linen. Having followed him for as long as I have, there’s no way he would wear anything less than the finest linen. So over the years I’ve come to accept (and even love) that my linen dress will gather a few wrinkles during the day. Linen dresses are the closest thing to wearing nothing during the summer, they are sooo cool so the wrinkles are totally worth it when you live where it gets really hot in the summer.

    • Just scrolled his feed and here’s a great example of him wearing linen pants:
      Pretty sure these are linen, too: . He just created his own bespoke line of clothing and those pants may be from his own line.

      Not sure if anyone makes a linen blend that feels as soft and cool as all-linen, but doesn’t wrinkle. The wrinkles just make me think of fine, quality linen and summertime. 🙂

    • Wendy, I’m shopping shirts right now at L.L. Bean and I noticed they have shirts they are calling “washable linen.” Maybe they are more wrinkle-free. You can see it here:

    • Alexander Kraft IS dapper — good call.

      Okay, so what you’re saying is, “Get with it old lady, today we wear linen w/ pride!”

      Isn’t it funny that as we get older we get sooo set in our ways?


  3. Wow – living out of a suitcase for a month must be challenging! But I love those TB dresses – you’ll look great this spring! 🙂 Thanks for the info as always, and Happy Wednesday out there! ❤️

    • It is, but I’ve kinda worked out a system and fortunately, there’s a closet in my room so that helps. Have an awesome week, Barbara! XX

  4. Franki Parde says

    Shop till you…wow…on a roll!! franki

  5. WANDA BRADEY says

    Susan, for some reason I have not received your email updates in 4 weeks. I was hoping you were okay. I see now you are in Ohio. You stay healthy. I resubscribed to your blog. Take care!

    • Thanks, Wanda! I’m not sure what causes people to get unsubscribed. I just had that happen to another BNOTP reader a couple of weeks ago. Aweber, the service that sends out the email update, never has a good explanation for what causes that. One time it happened when a reader’s Gmail account bounced the email back because her Gmail was completely full. Thanks for resubscribing! Let me know if that happens again.

  6. I had just bought a 2nd pair of Eccos, and now you’re tempting me with cute skechers! Arrrrrgh

    • lol Eccos are addictive! The sandals are really cute but for a sandal that will outlast us all, you can’t go wrong with Eccos!

  7. Kathleen says

    You did really well for packing in a hurry! Fun to buy on the internet and have packages delivered to your door.

    • It is, especially when you’re pretty much trapped at home. lol Even going to the grocery store feels like a big outing right now!

  8. Sherry Stuifbergen says

    Susan, I enjoy all your posts. You are very generous to stay with grandsons/family so long.
    I have a question. Did you watch “Sanditon”on PBS MasterpieceTheatre this winter? The ending was a “cliff hanger” and they canceled the Season 2 where it was made in England. It went over big in USA and other countries. We are trying to get the decision reversed and are campaigning for Season2. If you watched and liked it, can you vote “yes” to SaveSanditon for another season. Thank you, Sherry

    • Thanks, Sherry! I didn’t get to see it but I remember hearing about it. I don’t have cable TV now…disconnected it a few years back, so not sure I would have been able to see it unless I could stream it on my computer.
      That’s terrible that they canceled Season 2…was that due to the virus that’s going around? I know a lot of movies have been delayed due that. Thanks for letting me know that there are folks trying to have the decision reversed. I’ll check into that. Hope it works!

  9. DawneMarie says

    I own two linen tommy Bahamas dresses with long back zippers and fringed hem and sleeves. Love. I also have a pretty TB maxi dress. Love TB dresses!

    • I would love to get one of their Maxi dresses but I can never find them in cotton or at least a cotton blend. They are always a nylon or polyester or rayon or something like that. I love maxi dresses!

  10. Somehow I get the feeling that “having” to shop was not that much of a burden. I’m not that much of a fan of linen but I love summer fabrics of seersucker, eyelet, and dotted swiss (which is hard to come by!) I walk with friends at 7 am so I pretty much spend the day in elastic waist shorts, and tank tops. I wait till my after-dinner bike ride to shower so pretty summer dresses would be lost on me until this stay at home except for essentials order is over. I’m getting lots of sewing done…but not experiencing The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a la Marie Kondo…..

  11. Have you ever heard of Superfeet sneaker inserts? A orthopedic recommended them for my son’s flat feet and I decided to try a pair. What a huge difference having supportive inserts in your sneakers make! There is a chart on their website to help you find the right ones for you. They have been one of the best investments for my daily walks.

  12. I have a question about the barn coat you featured here. I live in Arizona and do not have a great need for several coats. I’ll need a coat mostly when I travel and I may travel to Ireland in the autumn. Would you recommend the barn coat or Barbour coat on this trip. I know you like both. There is a great deal of difference in the cost, but if the Barbour coat is worth it I do not mind the splurge.

    • I love both coats and they are both equally warm, especially when layered over a sweater. I love the rich history of the Barbour…you can read more about that here:
      The barn coat has a more relaxed fit, or at least my L.L. Bean Barn coat feels more relaxed as compared to my Barbour Coat. Because of that, I find myself gravitating toward it a lot since I love wearing a big wooly sweater under my coat during the fall/winter when it’s really cold out. It just feels like an old friend from the moment it arrives…like a coat you’ve had for years and have always loved.
      If I’m remembering correctly, I believe you can buy an attached hood for the Barbour which could come in handy if you’re caught in the rain, but of course, that raises the cost of it even more. I never purchased the hood.
      I absolutely love my barn coat so I know you wouldn’t be disappointed if you purchased one. They are both great coats. One thing that’s a slight negative for the Barbour coat is if you wear it a lot, like almost every day during the winter, you’ll eventually need to send it off to have it rewaxed. If you have an Orvis near you, they will send it off for you. I haven’t worn mine enough yet to need to have it rewaxed.
      If you don’t want to spend a lot, I would go with the barn coat. I love mine and couldn’t recommend it enough.

    • Since I have the Barbour Beadnell just thought I’d chime in here. The Beadnell is a pretty darn good raincoat. I really like the LL Bean barn coat but do not think it’s meant to double as a rain coat if that is a consideration for you. The Beadnell is my go-to-three-season everyday coat for our Middle Tennessee weather. Having a hood was important to me and I did purchase one for those rainy days. It’s well designed/constructed hood and folds up to easily fit in one of the pockets. It (the hood) has a lightweight easily bendable wire that frames/supports it around your face. In cooler weather I do comfortably wear bulky sweaters under mine. I have the US size 8 and am 5’3″ and weigh 122 lbs.

      I was able to score a great deal on a like-new Beadnell on Ebay so that was a determining factor for me. I did purchase the hood at full price retail.

      Good luck with your decision — they are both great coats!

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