sapeurs, congo, london, gentlemen of bacongo
My oh my. I call myself having fallen off the fashion bandwagon. Among the trees and flowers and writerly women at my residency, I moved freely sans makeup or a care to my appearance -- and felt the most beautiful I have in a long while. It might be that old media effect, ie, when I stop watching TV and reading magazines I always feel better about my appearance.

Returning to NYC was a major shock to the system. I found myself somewhat put off put by the emphasis on style and image here, to the exclusion of character. There are people who live in this city as literal images and not real people, and this is considered normal. And perhaps my hesitance to return to any kind of fashion consciousness is a deliberate attempt to dissociate myself. And to not deal with the whole rummaging through, choosing, and trying on of clothes which by their very design tell me that my body is wrong.

When I was a kid and we did the thrifty thing as a matter of necessity and not option, I always felt like I came up short. Moving to NYC didn't help, although there is a wider range of stylistic options available for those of us who aren't uber brand conscious, ie, hand-knitwear (thank God I can't knit or it would be scarves and sweaters in the summertime). I am not actually unstylish, I have simply dispensed with caring too much about it. I have only so many brain cells and I would rather not pump 50 percent of them full of meaningless tidbits about leggings and frocks. But I would also not like to walk around in the NYC equivalent of a potato sack.

On lunch break today, passed the infamous Mango that I've been hearing about for at least two years and haven't yet investigated. I might stop in and check it out (although the dresses seemed a bit on the short side for those of us above 5'5" and a size 4). So there might be hope for me yet!

On a related note, just getting hip to the release of Gentlemen of Bacongo (pictured above), a photo book documenting the Sapeurs of Congo-Brazzaville. It is now, after only a few weeks on the market, SOLD OUT, with more available after December 18. Check out the exhibit showing at the London Newcastle Project Space if you're lucky enough to be there. Sure wish I was, although I doubt I would be fashionable enough to attend. :)

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