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.
Ever since my children were toddlers, Gifford’s Circus has been a major highlight of our summers in England. It’s a small, family run “homemade” circus that is cozy enough to feel intimate but big enough to create a festive dose of energy in the room. The beautiful sets are hand-painted, the inspired costumes are hand-sewn or plucked from vintage stores, and the acts are unique, impressive and thoughtfully curated. You simply can’t believe something this personal, charming and creative still exists in the world of global Ringling Brothers and Cirque du Soleil domination. It is the antithesis of the worldwide, mass produced, profit-seeking spectacle. Every year there is a different theme – past ones have included everything from Janis Joplin to War and Peace to Greek Mythology – that dictates the design of the tent, the characters, the costumes and the music. The stories are high-brow enough for adults to appreciate but subtle enough that they don’t get in the way of a 3 year old being able to equally enjoy the show. I have yet to find a better combination of entertainment and personal style.