Yes, those two titles are, to my mind, equally suited for this post. It would certainly be nice if all my posts were neatly tied to a topic, beautifully illustrated and executed with stunning phrasing, insight and good punctuation. Unfortunately life is imperfect and minds are complicated.
I've talked about dressing-inspirations before in relation to "characters" we sometimes costume ourselves after, like different facets of our personality; a 70s art teacher, a 60s free spirit, 1890s orphan, pioneer woman, witchy herb-gathering woman, 90s Bikini Kill fan, fisherman-girl...I could go on.
Sometimes inspiration behind a particular way to "style" (I use the word very, very loosely here. The parameters of my "styling" are limited to 5 minutes of dressing time, whether the particular piece is practical for the day's activities and how much fun my husband will make of me if I wear it.) a piece of clothing is a little different.
Since most everything we modern humans do is laden with semantics, memes, meanings and references and most importantly, connections, there are hidden meanings to all of our inspirations. Sure, a dress is just a dress, a garment to shield you from the wet and cold exterior world. But it is also an expression of your selfhood, a secret code that translates to only a few, perhaps none.
So I am not lying when I say that what I wore today was inspired by a famous painting of Leonardo Da Vinci's and other, earlier works in medieval style.
What it is about this dress precisely, given to me by the ever-lovely Missa, I could not tell you, since its mostly a 70s Americana mock-patchwork, but something about the fluttery white sleeves the colors and the fabric inspired me to do my hair up in an echo of a medieval style. Add a leather-band reminiscent of the Da Vinci painting and my guinea hen (?) earrings from Lost Boys and Lovers and there is suddenly something more to this dress than its intended message. (Or maybe I just read too much into it.)
My Medieval woman would be A Lady of the Forest of course, a see-er, a witch, shape-shifting silly goose.
Our Lady Of The Forest, on the other hand is a beautifully wrought tale by David Guterson (one of the few male authors who's work I follow consistently). It's a story about faith, losing it in the face of utter injustice and human misery and finding it in the most unlikely places.
Namely, the small town of barely masked Forks, WA (famous in its own right from an entirely different caste of literature); where a young, homeless mushroom picker becomes the unlikely vessel of Mary-an Visions.
Its events unfold as both believers and unbelievers, as well as those who wish they could believe, flock to the small town to get close to the young visionary. On her side the girl has a local catholic priest who's faith has all but failed him and a cynical older woman. Written in a pitch perfect omniscient voice that's at once passive and intimately aware of the characters, Our Lady Of The Forest is (imho) an over-looked modern classic.
I bet they have it at your local library.