Every few weeks she comes to my home. She arrives swathed in a world of possibilities. Like all unexpected guests, she comes when I’m still in my pajamas, wearing no make-up, my hair a mess. She also comes on days I feel particularly fat, or I wasn’t planning on going anywhere, so I have no excuse to dress up. But I always let her in.
She takes on myriad forms but is somehow always the same. Blonde, brunette or red head, she has the same dreamy visage of a girl completely at ease in her surroundings. She is quirky and at the same time classical, the type of girl you always imagine would be your best friend, if only you were equally interesting.
She is dressed with an eye to romance and originality, and seems to always be able to find pieces that are not only attractive, but also special. Something perhaps found in an imaginary vintage store that only she knows and worn in combination with other pieces in a way I never could have thought of. At the same time she seems completely comfortable, entirely at ease. Nothing binds, or rides up. Everything skims her willowy frame, and drapes or fits in perfect relaxation. Colors softly glow against her skin, never garish or clashing, always quiet and serene, even in the brightest yellows.
She wears the perfect jewelry and accessories, which again appear as treasures found by an artistic eye. Layered in whimsical ways I never would have thought of, and never like anything in my own collection. Her looks speaks of another age, yet is entirely modern.
She inhabits spaces both exotic and entirely familiar, haunting spaces of romance, of which she is both a part and apart. One could easily see her as a student of history of literature, perusing dusty shelves or visiting historic spaces. Her sensibilities make her both of the past and the present, and she often appears in ancient rooms scented with ageing roses and chalk dust. Just as often she skips freely in the sunshine on the worn streets of India or Morocco, or through record shops in Memphis and honky-tonks of the deep South. She is the clever, slightly dorky girl of romantic comedies, reading dreamy books or lying in the tall summer grass.
Looking at her, I want so desperately to be her. To be the anthropologie girl. When she arrives in my mailbox I sit in my pajamas, over 40, over weight, and search for what I can have that will give me a taste, just a sliver, of the girl she is that I never was. A cardigan here, and necklace there, (but only on sale), and when I leave my small Midwestern burg and get to be in one of the actual stores, I spend hours searching, going around the shop again and again trying to see everything, find every hidden treasure, knowing that it will be months before I may do so again.
You would think that I would hate her, but I don’t. Perhaps it is a result of getting older but I no longer envy the young, even when I mourn my own loss of youth. I love watching her, seeing where she goes and what she wears. It is a romance of sorts between me and the girl I wish I had been. Unlike the models in the fashion magazines, she isn’t there to show me what is wrong with me, or what I am doing wrong so I will buy the products she represents. Instead, she invites me in, offers possibilities of a world where I feel entirely welcome and as comfortable in my own skin and she is in hers. That is her allure, her seduction. If I buy enough, emulate her clothes, fill my space with her furniture, her books, her knick-knacks, paint my walls with chalkboard paint, sleep on her bedding…one morning I’ll wake up and I’ll be her. The anthropologie girl. Until then, she is always welcome to come over.