This week's Friend Friday is exploring the theme of our sartorial alter-egos and is being hosted by Relatable Style. This was what we were asked to think about:
"The idea is that we all fill a lot of different shoes and work a lot of different roles in our everyday lives. I thought it would be cool to see some of those “alter egos” and ask the ladies to create an outfit about the person they would like to be if circumstances allowed (Ballerina? Rock star? Mother? Fashion journalist?), or the person they thought they would be now when they were little (Doctor? Teacher? Livin’ it up in the city?)."Well I already have a life split between almost mutually exclusive worlds in which I am required to play extremely different roles with dress requirements that are almost polar opposites. My days are spent filling shoes of various alter egos, this blog being one of them! When I read the blurb above, I also realised I tick several boxes mentioned. I am a Doctor (though of the PhD variety), I am now a teacher of dance, and I live and work in one of the largest cities in the world. Did I imagine I would be doing all that when I was little? Nope! Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Welcome to my world...
By day I'm a mild mannered financial professional working in the big bad City of London, and no, I didn't cause the credit crisis if you're wondering - that would be a structured credit derivative trader - I'm just a number crunching Excel monkey in a dull reporting function but hey, it pays the bills. My day job means I have to look very sharp, professional and feel confident, so suits and tailored separates are the order of the day.
By night I shed the sharp suits and shift dresses and turn into a.... flamenco dancer! I teach and perform, often straight after a full day at the office, which means changing from tailored suits into a completely different form of work wear. Switching from thinking about figures and finance to dancing flamenco is certainly not easy but the physical act of getting changed into the right clothes immediately helps me prepare mentally for the task ahead.
Performing flamenco also means looking the part, which means getting to wear some amazing costumes. I find wearing a costume I feel good in does wonders for my confidence on stage. As we often dance solos, costumes are a very personal thing for flamenco dancers. When selecting costumes I also think of the audience, as you have to remember the costumes will be as much a part of the audience's experience as they will be an expression of what you are about as an artist.
And then there is the time spent in the studio in classes and rehearsal which requires a whole wardrobe of it's own. I'm sure everyone who dances, when they get dressed for class, has those romantic images of dancers in their rehearsal gear, bodies either nonchalantly at rest or sweating it out in full motion. I used to dance ballet so I often use a lot of my old ballet gear to rehearse in. I love worn-in rehearsal clothes because they feel like old friends - the tattier they get the more you feel that they've shared the battle scars of your dance training journey with you. Some of my rehearsal gear is practically falling apart. Now that I've started teaching I need to look smart to be in front of students. So I have recently bought some yoga and dance influenced gym wear specifically to teach in.
I never know what interesting twists and turns my week might take and hence make the excuse that I need the right clothes to deal with it when I go shopping! This week at the office I've had to attend meetings and present important results, while in the evenings I've taught classes as well as rehearsed, then on the weekend I am performing in a small show with my students and possibly dancing in a music video for an unsigned singer.
When I'm travelling with lots of costumes to a theatre, music festival or film location I need to wear comfortable outfits that I can change in and out of quickly and am not too precious about squashing up in a bag to leave backstage. However, I still need to give the impression to industry types like film directors, festival organisers and stage technicians that I am a professional in my creative field who is amenable and easy to work with. So I rely on a uniform of relaxed casual layers with some trend led pieces thrown in the mix.
Sometimes I get performance work on weeknights which can mean having to turn up at very trendy music venues in London and working with other musicians and artists. On these occasions it is much better to get changed rather than to arrive in a suit, as creative types can find someone with a very corporate image hard to relate to. Usually if I do a gig in London there is also the opportunity to make a fun night out of it by staying to watch other acts and bands performing later or dancing till late to a DJ. You won't catch me dead on the dance floor in a suit! So I have a section of my wardrobe I call my "gig gear". It's essentially all the fun, fashion forward things I bring to work along with my costumes to get changed into so I can play at being a rock star for the night.
I have to say that living in large cosmopolitan city like London allows anyone to live out whatever their alter ego fancies as nobody bats an eyelid at what you wear. The winter weather here, though I complain, allows a creativity with layering and texture I could only fantasise about growing up in Australia. And since I've added fashion blogger to the alter-ego list I can now wear fashion forward clothing with impunity as I head off to London Fashion Week armed with my trusty SLR.
And of course London is unparalled when it comes to offering a diva who loves to dress up for a night out ample opportunity to do just that with shows at the opera, ballet and theatre on all year round.
Finally, I also spend a good part of my vacations in sunny Spain where I brush up on my flamenco dancing skills. As I usually go in the summer it also means I can cast off the dark, moody, wintry layers and entertain my inner bohemian by taking the chance to swan around dressed like Carmen.
So there we are - lifestyle and style schizophrenia in action. And I wonder why my wardrobe is so big!