“I had to have the taste of city in order to appreciate the country.” – Beatrix Ost
Naturally I am drawn to any woman who leaves a thriving life in New York City to raise her children on a farm in the countryside. Artist Beatrix Ost (along with her husband) did just that in 1982, decamping from her creative and eccentric city lifestyle and re-creating the rural version of it in a 19th century Edwardian home on 500 acres just outside Charlottesville, Virginia. What I personally respond to most is how little her style – both in fashion and interiors – has changed in her evolution from city to country life. The turban remains in place, the leopard is ever present, and she wears skirts and dresses like she is on her way to a perpetual cocktail party. Her home has many elements of country life – a relaxed coziness, depictions of farm animals, and a kitchen right at the heart of the house – but also it is infused in each room with her signature color palette and evidence of an artful life throughout. ..
Not too long ago I was sitting in the American Embassy in London of all places, and I noticed two women sitting in front of me wearing the chicest bonnets. Who on earth are these ladies?, I thought to myself. So I googled “white pleated bonnet,” and an entire world of Amish-inspired fashion popped up on my phone. Looking at all the Amish-style photos I’ve now collected, I realise that while I might have my tomboy farm style down pat for the most part – functional trousers (usually from J Crew), my Grenson boots, my old Balmain military pea coat, and an Isabel Marant plaid flannel shirt – I haven’t quite figured out my way to look feminine on the farm yet. I’d like to wear more dresses and skirts. I’d like to wear a blouse. I like how the clean black and white looks against such a decorative, romantic landscape. I like the mix of girl style and boy style. The braids work too. Now, if only I could make my life as simple and focused as the Amish have done, then we’d really be talking.
I know. As chic as she is you probably feel you don’t ever have to see another style icon pic of Jackie O as long as you live. I’m with you on that. But now that I have gotten so into riding, and what to wear when riding, Jackie O’s style on a horse has rekindled my awe of her chicness. These days, riding gear has gotten very technical and branded. I am constantly cutting off visible tags, blackening out logos with sharpies, and trying to find the most classic and pared down jackets, jodhpurs and boots while still keeping an eye towards practicality...