Wednesday

Corner View: personal style


I must admit I don't have anything very serious to say about my personal style these days. I used to have all sorts of style opinions (and a wardrobe to match). But 2009 was my first year as a mother, and...well, I think we all know what that means! It also happens to be my first year running a sort of business from our home (in addition to the freelance work I've done for years now). The combination of motherhood, my stubborn refusal to use daycare, and working during every spare minute (nap time, bedtime) that I can filch in my studio...let's just say I spend a lot of time in my pajamas.

When I do have a rare (rare!) opportunity to actually get dressed, I enjoy it. But, lacking the time to be terribly inventive, I have retreated to the classics for the most part. Good jeans. A cashmere sweater (which I enjoy finding at resale stores), a classic trench. Most of the contents of my closet haven't seen the light of day in over two years.

But here's the other thing...for the bulk of my life, up until just a few years ago, I lived a sort of nomadic life. My parents had lived this way since they met and, having an only child, they were able to continue with me in tow. They were not (as most people assume) either hippies, jet-setters, or military. This is just what they liked to do. They were at least functionally multi-lingual and well-traveled. They loved to roadtrip and were comfortable in a variety of environments. They lived lightly and were always ready to pack up and move for the sake of a new horizon. For me, this was a lifestyle in which I found myself at birth, so it was not just second nature but, really, first nature. I felt safe and secure on the road. I enjoyed the transitions, and my own ability to shape-shift from one environment to another. It felt like my greatest strength, and I relied on it. If I felt insecure or unhappy in my life at any point, my immediate reaction was to move, the farther the move and the greater the change of environment, the better. It was almost like shedding a skin and growing a new one, just as sleek and snug and supple as the first, but entirely different.

So it is that I have always been captured by those moments in spy novels or films where a character goes under cover, sheds all signs of previous identity and takes on an entirely new persona. The idea of stepping into an anonymous motel room with a drug store sack containing hair dye, scissors, new sunglasses and a change of clothes, tossing all possessions in a dumpster, and walking out a new person with nothing to lose....ah. Forget your romance novel formulas, your happily-ever-afters. If there's a fantasy for me, that's it.

Of course, I effectively gave up that lifestyle when I got married, became the owner of a lovely home, and brought home our amazing, magical, mercurial child - at least for practical purposes. Lest you fear for my stability, don't worry - I married the one man who will happily buy a pair of drugstore shades, step into a strange motel room with me, and spend the week on the road heading wherever the highway takes us. The one man who would sleep in the desert with me for days on end, washing in streams and waterfalls and never minding the sand in our teeth and the dust in our hair. The one man with whom I could have happily traveled through vastest China on the way to adopting a child we'd never met.

So for this personal style moment, I give you my form of escapism: a pair of cheap shades, a false set of reading glasses, a faux ponytail... Hey presto - I'm a new person for the day. Even if, these days, it's only for the space of a trip to the coffee shop ;)

For more Personal Style moments from bloggers around the globe, stop by Jane's and browse through the list.

23 comments:

Di said...

I love the idea of becoming someone else.....cool. I didn't manage any photos of my personal style because every time I tried to do it it was dark outside.....and the photos were really bad - looks like everything I wore was black...oh actually most of it was!

Liz said...

Love your style on a deeper and grander scale than just the clothes, love you in your trench, but love more how you talk about your style of living, your husband, your child and how you move thru your life... charming!

MODsquad said...

LOVE your journey! The faux reading glasses are darling on you!

Yoli said...

As a lover of the theatre I recognize the same greasepaint in you as in me. Very well done!

Joyce said...

I love yours and your sweet girl's style. xo

liza said...

Is that really you?? Great idea! I love it!
ps... puffer here (mine is actually light blue but I'm coveting the brown) http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/product/patagonia-womens-down-sweater?p=84682-0-782

andrea the pomegranates said...

This is a great post. I love the transition from one character and deepening into another but all still very you...

caramelcaramelo said...

so nice! i smiled throughout! and the kisses of the other post are divine! thanks again for these beautiful postings. and yes mommy is a rather "cool cat" as Q would like to say! kenza.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Well, Kenza, it's actually that Q wants me to admit what a cool cat SHE is. Mommyhood is generally not a flattering job (my "cool" days are definitely behind me) but it is a job with many, many other more important perks.

Liz, thanks for the link. I have been coveting the new down "sweaters" all year, but trying to resist, since I still have a serviceable set of parkas in my arsenal.

The Wanderers' Daughter said...

ps - I meant "Liza", not Liz. Tired typing.

Guusje said...

You know what?

I like you and your story very much!

Thanks for putting so much effort in!

xg

Elisabelle said...

I love these photos!!!

anna said...

Really really enjoyed reading this, feast of recognition

Le blÖg d'Ötli said...

I love this "novel" style !!! Wow !!! A nice corner (and view ^^).

shayma said...

a very happy new year to you, too. thanks for visiting my blog- yours is beautiful with lots of sweet photos of the little one. there are so many beautiful blogs out there, like yours, wish there was more than 24 hours in a day to read each and every one of them. i do look forward to visiting your blog again. best wishes, shayma

Jo said...

How lovely - I am just beginning to attempt to have some style again. It is a sloooooow process with a (much more stylish) child in tow!

Am so awed at you coping without daycare - I hardly get anything done! You so need to do a post on how you manage it.

Cabrizette said...

I love your photos !! Jean's and cachemire, the good choice to be always pretty !!!

Yanyan said...

This is a great post! I smiled and can relate so many things you wrote. My cool days are sure behind me. PJ is my signature look now. Not only I don't have chance or time to wear my fancy clothes, most of them I couldn't fit in anymore after Landon was born. Love what you said about the moving: 'It was almost like shedding a skin and growing a new one, just as sleek and snug and supple as the first, but entirely different' My husband and I calls ourselves: modern day Gypsies. We are here in US 5 years, this is the third state and city we live and tell you the truth, I am itched to move again... :) Sending a hug to Q.Yanyan

Bichos da Matos said...

You're a very stylish girl, just like your daughter;)

Juniper said...

Looking pretty cool and trendy there, it's nice to be able and inspired to redefine oneself every now and again. This latest change of scenery has certainly made me shape shift a bit. At least with regards to colour.

FDChief said...

Wait a bit.

Maxine loves to cuddle up to her mommy and coo "Mommy's pretty! Pretty mommy!" She likes to exclaim over her outfits when she wears something stylish.

Her older brother, OTOH, is a typical guy (many of us only notice what you're wearing when you're NOT...or when you have something so knock-out stylin' that it clubs us over the head) and just runs to hug her and shout "Mommy's the BEST!"

You are gonna have some serious fun, you and this girl.

jane said...

i love this. it´s great to get to know you a little better. and now i want a fake pony tale...

Jeanne-ming said...

There are many traits in you I have come to love. That you are a good mother, a creative genius, passionate, loyal to your man, honoring of your mother, flexible....i could go on and on. But Maia, you are a great writer. You can turn any subject into riveting prose in the way I bet your husband can make a grilled cheese into a gourmet feast.