From the wilderness to the workplace, from lackadaisical to luxury, in the past few days I have had to make this effortful transition. If we choose to make it so, life can be full of experiences that are just as “down and dirty” as they are “down to business. Youth provides opportunity to explore both ends of this spectrum in some pretty experimental, tangible means. It is said that we must know darkness to see the light, so can it not also be said that we must know what it is to be bucolic if we want to understand what it is to be “business”. After a weekend in the mountains, this juxtaposition couldn’t be clearer.
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When I came back to New York, I noticed how drastic the disparity between what was typical dress on the mountains of Scranton, Pennsylvania and the style of New York City was. Being sent out on “street style”, in search for some high fashion New Yorkers strutting about their days, gave me an even greater understanding of how apparent this contrast is in my life. Beyond just style of life, lifestyle, there is a great contrast in style of dress on these busy streets of New York. After spending days feeling comforted by ridiculous patterns and wild hair, retuning to the “normalcy” of city life felt unnatural. I got used to wearing garments of clothing that doubled as tapestry, serving a dual purpose of also providing shade outside our tent. Now that is what I consider versatility in the form of dress, and who would have thought that my previous understating of versatile clothing was one that meant wearing a mens dress shirt as a mini dress.
Style can be absurd, but that makes it all the more intriguing. My attention is caught by looks that profess impudence, and the ability to go against the norm. My “norm” is not boho chic, bathing tops and rustic jewelry, thus making Camp Bisco Music Festival a host of eye catching fashion statements. Each outfit complimented with the unique spirit of whom it cloaked. I was one of the 30,000 or so happy festival goers who felt at home slipping on some chunky beads, a swimsuit, and colorful tapestry skirts. Having no dress standards to upkeep, my indecisive, free flowing spirit brought into play looks that could have been found at Woodstock in the 60’s to present day Tomorrowland.
As I got dressed for work this Monday morning, I realized that a tie dye bandana would be less essential in the office than it was on Montage Mountain, Pennsylvania. I felt naked without the colorful band rimming my hairline, also serving to quarantine those untamable strands from making an appearance on my face upon busting out the dance moves. Of course when you have hair as unruly as mine, there is no taming that can be done when you’re washing your hair with the ever-flowing stream of a lazy river.
Out there, the sun was an element to be embraced, not feared. When the sun strikes the city streets, we don’t find glamour in the magnetic pull between our clothing and our skin, glued together by the moisture of heat. Yet, when I slept in a tent, bundled up in sweatpants for bed, and woke up in an unventilated sauna, the tent we called home, these sweats couldn’t be avoided. I had to skip the BB foundation, and embrace the “glow”. After all, don’t we try to go for that natural, “dewy” look anyways (perhaps just not from head to toe).
With innovative beauty products from oil blotting papers to SPF lip balms, New Yorkers have their secrets to prevent the sun from claiming their cool. They balance high fashion with even higher heat. They do it in a way that integrates sophistication with lightweight fabrics that let their bodies breathe. The weather, it’s heat, and it’s unpredictability cannot stop New York from strutting in style. I was able to wander the streets of the financial district admiring and capturing on camera, the looks that some fierce New Yorkers sported even in the midday heat.
Life is about this balance. We can balance life with experiences, understanding the intents of a life lived for work, and a life lived for play. New Yorkers know all about this game of life, as we live in the city that never sleeps, and work in places that always seem to get the job done. There is so much opportunity for exploration in style of dress or style of life; and isn’t it beautiful how we can find this balance in the not-so-quaint little city we call home? With all the cool people, and things happening in NYC, you never quite know where the nights may take you, with this uncertainty just make sure to pack a tapestry and a blazer — the night is just as young and unpredictable as we are.