Fashionable. I’m totally not. I used to be. Now, not so much. Now, I’m 100% Indonesian kampung style (A’s term for our style, or lack thereof).
I didn’t pack much when I was coming to Indonesia because I knew that my living and working situation would be fairly basic. That meant there would be no need for high fashion. In fact, everything I brought was highly casual, with a basic black cotton knee-length dress and black tights thrown in as my 1 “dressy” outfit. And I nixed the dress after a couple of wears here because it just didn’t feel like it hung right on me and I hate wearing clothes that I feel don’t look or fit right. So I basically have zero fashion here.
What does this mean, exactly? In my western life, I plan my outfits every day. I don’t mean that I spend 2 hours trying to decide what to wear – ain’t nobody got time for that. It means that when I’m lying in bed at night or when I wake up in the morning, I work out my next outfit in my head almost to a T. When I get dressed, I may make adjustments but it’s rarely necessary and I always rock my style hard.
No such thing happens now. There’s no working out my next outfit while I lie in bed at night or in the morning. There’s no rocking any style. There just is no style. My daily outfit now consists of loose pants of some sort or an ankle length skirt plus a t-shirt (long or short-sleeved). My daily outfit decision time is about 15 seconds. On the plus side, I try to make sure that whatever I wear for the day mostly matches (at least).
And my hair. I’ve always had a very relaxed type of hair style. It usually looks artfully tousled, in my opinion (I could be wrong – maybe I’ve looked crazy all this time and didn’t know). I don’t do high maintenance hair, or weaves, braids, extensions or wigs, and I generally work my hair towards a style then let it do whatever it wants as long as it’s near to the style I was trying to achieve.
I cut it all off before I left Jamaica back in January because I figured I would need to be focussed on settling into my new life and job, not on styling my hair. Now, it’s growing out and needs some actual attention so I wash and twist it once or twice a week then pull it out the next morning so it’s all curly-twisty. That’s it until it’s washed again. I don’t even look at my hair in the mornings. I get out of bed, muss it up with my hands and call it done for the day. I’m not gonna lie – it looks a little crazy some days and the neighbours probably think I’m a rasta. One day soon, I’ll start wearing a headband (when it doesn’t feeling like it’s cutting off the circulation in my head) and maybe tame the madness a little.
And speaking of hair…my legs! ALWAYS in need of a shave nowadays! But, somehow, staying in the bathroom long enough to do it seems like running an unnecessary cockroach-sighting risk. I only shave my legs when I’m in a nice hotel on my days off or if I happen to be at The Jamaican’s house. So generally, they get shaved once a month on average. Besides, I’m wearing loose pants or long skirts every day anyway so who’s gonna see my hairy legs?
See? That right there is the problem. Listen to that statement: “Who’s gonna see?” My standards have fallen. Sigh. So much sighing.
Meanwhile, I’m not overly bothered by this total lack of fashion in my life. I do look forward to being fashionable again but I suspect that this experience has even somewhat changed my idea of fashion. I’ve never been the type to suffer for it, except when it comes to shoes (regrettably, I’ve suffered for the sake of cute shoes); overall, as fashionable as I believe I usually look, my clothes are almost always comfortable. But I think my Indonesian experience will make me even more so now. I’m not going to be sloppy – I don’t think I have that in me – but this experience is teaching me to be more relaxed about style and fashion.
Like the lack of shoes, let’s see where this one ends up.