Fashion Book: Wild
As a long-time fan of the Dear Sugar column on The Rumpus, I was very much looking forward to reading Wild. Cheryl Strayed, the once anonymous “Sugar,” wrote the book to document her solo trek through a large section of the Pacific Crest Trail, a punishing hike that stretches from the Southern border of California to the Canadian border of Washington state, crossing deserts, mountains, and forests in between.
After losing her mother to an aggressive bout with cancer, Cheryl is completely bereft. Seeking comfort, she turns to a host of vices: sex, drugs, despair. After her marriage falls apart, she decides to take a hike, though she has no hiking experience or acumen to speak of. The book weaves the story of her journey on the trail with her memories of growing up in rural Minnesota, her mother’s illness, and her relationships with her siblings, stepfather, and husband. She spares no details, rubbing the wound of her loss raw and letting it bleed all over the page. As in her Sugar columns, Strayed’s writing is self-aware and strong. She acknowledges her sorrows and triumphs and doesn’t gloss it all over in a varnish of cliches or revelations. I’ve heard the book described as “Eat, Pray, Love for Badasses,” and while funny, I don’t think it’s quite true. Wild is an honest portrait of fear and grief and courage, and also about ignorance, selfishness, and the ravages of life alone in the great outdoors.
Of course, Cheryl isn’t a fashion plate during her time on the trail. In fact, she is forced to wear the same clothes day after day as she can’t carry more clothes on her back. In a memorable passage, she describes the outfit she has chosen to greet her at her last destination, shipped to her in a pre-packed box by a good friend: jeans, a black t-shirt, and a lacy bra. It’s not fancy, but it’s comfortable, and it makes her happy to anticipate when she will be able to wear it. To that end, I thought about putting together an outfit I might want to wear in a similar situation–an outfit that would make me feel like me again, confident and happy and comfortable. Here’s what I came up with:
This outfit just feels very “me” and incorporates some of my favorite things to wear: boots, dresses, colored tights, simple jewelry, scarves, and stripes. And glasses, obvi.
What kind of outfit would you choose as your “freedom outfit”?