In Soho I paid an extended visit to Morgane Le Fay: there were two brides to be and me, trying on dresses.
No layers of white for this lass, though; I was drawn to a transitional dress made of lovely light blue-gray jersey. It wasn’t really my style: it was cut to the knee (good), had short sleeves (good), a straight drop waist (hmm) and a thin tie at the neck (yikes).
But when I put it on with a pair of heels and stalked around the cavernous boutique, gazing out the window at the gray-white pillars and cobblestones, it seemed right.
Mr. C. came in with our lad, after having spent some time at BAPE, and broke my reverie with three pointed words: “Remember the Amish.”
Suddenly I wasn’t dressed for a day of lipstick and patent four-inch heels; I was ready to thresh hay and bake a pie, all without electricity.
That’s the brutal thing about context.
I once taught at a college close to Amish country, and was smitten by the beauty of the clotheslines I’d see daily—the deep aquas, greens, purples drying in the sun.
But I didn’t wish to emulate or, worse, imitate plain style, no matter that Chloe Sevigny once declared the Amish her style influence. (I don’t like Chloe’s style anyway; I always think she needs a good scrub and a cut.) The Amish are, of course, a culture, and they don't need a fashionista appropriating their thoughtful dress for a moment of style.
The dress thus remained chez Le Fay, waiting for an owner who didn’t have a memory of whoopee pies and clip-clopping horse-drawn buggies.
And truly I’m glad, because for me to dress Amish would be a miss.