For the first six years of my life, we lived “out in the country”. My dad had just returned from Vietnam. Gone was the man who had to have the best of everything and in his place was, for lack of a better word, a hippy. We lived in an old farmhouse, had chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, and an orange square back Volkswagen. My mom actually kept a broom by the back door so she could chase away the geese. My little sister Erin and I loved life on the farm.
To say we had vivid imaginations would be a major understatement. Every day we were somebody different. One day we would be the Von Trapp children and dance around the house. We would beg our mom to stand at the bottom of the stairs so we could sing “So long, farewell” to her, and insisted she perform the adult portion of the tune. Other days we would run around the farm in the prairie dresses our mom made us and imagine that we were Mary and Laura Ingalls. It was the kind of childhood everyone should have.
But what I really loved to do was page through my mother’s fashion magazines (I can still remember the planter she kept them in) and re-create outfits I had seen in them. One of my favorite ensembles was a flannel pajama top paired with tights and mom’s high heels. They were amazing blue patent leather. I thought they were the most beautiful shoes in the world. Other days I’d wear a white turtleneck and white tights (very Edie Sedgwick) and push my cat around in a doll stroller. This is truly where my love for fashion blossomed. I knew that the perfect outfit could transform you into something different. I was hooked.
Playing dress-up was an every day occurrence out on that farm. But when you think about it, aren’t we all still playing dress-up? There are so many roles we play in our lives and they each have a specific look. For me, one day I’m a fashion maven helping others find the perfect outfit, the next day I’m in cargos and a tank pitching a tent. For others, they are super mom by day and a sexy wife out for dinner with their husband by evening. It’s how we interpret these roles that give us our individual style.
Take what I call the “Carrie Bradshaw Factor”. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past fifteen years, you’ve heard of “Sex and the City” and Carrie Bradshaw (played exquisitely by Sarah Jessica Parker). The show premieres on HBO and suddenly women all over the world are spending $400+ on shoes, drinking cosmos with their girlfriends, and coveting labels they couldn’t even pronounce. It was a phenomenon that changed the way women dressed, spoke, and behaved. When I went to the first “Sex” movie, almost every woman in the theater was in high heels and date night tops. And it was 10am! These suburban moms were playing a role and it was quite fun to watch. They saw a character they could relate to (maybe it’s who they once were or who they wished they’d been) and emulated her style. This is the adult version of dress-up and we all do it, whether we realize it or not.
I say embrace it. I always ask myself, “Would the little Megan be happy with the way she turned out?”. I think it’s important to stay true to your dreams and foster the child inside of you. Have fun with fashion and your style. Take risks. Play dress-up. Who knows, you may find the role of a lifetime.