Wash and Wear

Now that we’re done with the Mayan Apocalypse and being pranked by the ancient world, we can move on to more pressing concerns. Washaway Beach Style Watch!

Daisy in hat and sweaterAberdeen, WA, gateway to the South Beaches, is for many Washingtonians a line in the sand too crappy to cross. Hitchcock can rest in peace knowing there is the enduring spookiness of the Aberdeen Salvation Army, and we won’t even get started about the Great WAL-.

The town’s famous favorite son was a cute, troubled boy who fled at the first chance. The “Welcome To” sign says “Come As You Are.”

But I say, let’s step it up, people. I’d like to see it taken further.

tire track sunset clam batmanThose in the Other Washington are familiar with “The List”, The Washington Post‘s New Years’ Day In/Out List. It was conspicuously less funny this year, but there’s always the anxiety of being caught in the wrong column. The plight of the less fortunate should not bring glee, but sometimes it does. There are, it seems, (non-bike-messenger) men wearing leggings and calling them “meggings”. Out!



In art, in music, in fashion, each blazing new trend is indebted to its predecessors, so current fads often echo old traditions. Unlike “The List”, the forecasts of Washaway’s fashion forward can be more like the tides. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if things are headed In or Out.

George in sweaterSweaters and knits continue to dominate. It is never off-season to wear a Christmas sweater, but, unless you are a dog, and in some cases, even so, allow me to suggest you add some pants.

Shiloh sheep buttUnless you are Craig, who has been fearlessly blazing the trail of fashion’s wild frontier by wearing shorts since last March.

Craig december shortsCoastal ecologists, asleep at the switch, take note. The fact is that this single, simple act, this brazen, revolutionary wardrobe selection, has been STOPPING THE OCEAN. Keeping it at bay.

“We haven’t lost much,” my neighbors and I whisper guiltily among ourselves, like we somehow got a pass, not appearing on the Out list. Meanwhile, a few blocks away, on Ash Street, hearts are being broken and houses are falling in that were never even noticed before.

Ash St. collapse 3

Ash st. collapse 1Ash St. collapse 2 A festive group gathered at their compound at the end of Ash  for New Years’ Eve. With bonfire, beers and three black dogs, they prepared for the last rites. Only now does it occur to me that I should’ve told them all to change into shorts.

Ash St. grouprunning lab

Over here we are falling in less. Somewhat less. Except that the house at the end of my street did finally fall in. It “succumbed to Mother Nature’s wrath!” as the South Beach Bulletin likes to say.

Dec. 22

Dec. 22

Dec. 29

Dec. 29

road end houselessIt is so weird to see it gone. At any rate, I am counting on Craig to continue with the lucky shorts mojo, because while I fully, completely believe in the magic, I am too wimpy to join the revolution.  It’s winter.

Tire track textile

Tire track textile



“Form follows function,” they used to tell us in art school. Yet after only a few minutes of wearing rubber boots with yummy felt innersoles, the fact that they are not bedroom slippers slips the mind. Which is more thrilling: striding through puddles and marching into the ocean in January, impervious, or the air of mystery they imbue upon the wearer. Are you a clammer?

boots and Heidi                                       A pirate?

Todd pirate             Retired from the Bering Sea?

Les and Katie 12-12Or just a lunatic gardener? Form and function are exotically intertwined here, as something as pedestrian as footwear can allow both wearer and watcher to create mythic narratives, both true and false.

Les Katie silhouetteSeasonally Out, yet always In: Lost Soles. Craig told me he had some more flip flops for me. I brought six nice drywall screws to install them. I was unprepared for such great bounty of specimens! I was digging through drawers for whatever crazy half-rusted screws I could find. I have had to subgroup the collection into Pairs, Menswear, and Exotics.

flipflop assortedThere is no specimen more exotic than the giant scuba flipper Craig found. It truly needs a wall of its own.

flipper groupSo Craig told me to come out and see the whales. There were two whales flashing their tails and shooting water jets. By the time I got out there, all I could see was water shoots far in the distance.

Whale watchers

Whale watchers

In a story that spread like wildfire, due to the small town and Craig’s popularity, Craig had gone out to photograph the whales with his fancy new Nikon and forgotten to bring the memory card.

But every photographer aches, remembering their own version of this story. In hindsight it will become the best picture that ever, never was. The one that got away.




About washybeach

Washaway Beach This Week is a blog by photojournalist Erika Langley. See more work at www.erikalangley.com.
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