Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hardship and Style

Today's local, organic farmers, with their long days and periodic near-existential challenges, all around the mission of providing superior food for a community, earn their style, rather than attempt to buy it at the mall. 



“Hardship is vanishing, but so is style, and the two are more closely related than the current generation supposes.”

E.M. Forster




This quote, now a favorite of mine, was provided in this comment:

Dear Muffy, Long-time reader, first time commenter. I'm currently a student in Cambridge, UK -- after four years in the other Cambridge -- and your blog is always a nice reminder of what I miss so much about New England. Anyway, I came across a lovely quote from E.M Forster that I thought captured something about the essence of preppy style, though Forster was describing the Cambridge of his youth and how it had changed. It reads: "Those hardships are vanishing. Hardship is vanishing, but so is style, and the two are more closely related than the current generation supposes." - Benjamin

12 comments:

anglow said...

That picture is lovely and so is he!

C said...

There is still an abundance of hardship in the first world, but a lot of it is modern, manufactured hardship. Less to be romantic about.

BlueTrain said...

I don't think hardship is vanishing; it just moved somewhere else. I lived among some hard people for a while, in a log house at that. My first job out of high school was working on a farm, which I guarantee you, was not easy, though I can't quite claim it was all that hard either. Probably why I have no style. However, the farm was in Massachusetts, just outside of Amherst. The crop was tobacco; no idea if it was organically grown or not. Now, how many of your readers even know tobacco was ever grown in that neck of the woods?

Chris from New Hampshire said...

I appreciate the nuance around the word "hardship" in the quote and picture, not as a synonym for "victim" or downtrodden, but as a extended, literally "hard" activity and lifestyle with high costs of failure.

nutrivore said...

A dairy farmer I know locally was working in freezing weather sans gloves. I asked him if his hands weren't cold and he simply said: "My hand is a giant callus. It stays warm."

My martial arts teacher - an old gentleman who grew up poor in rural Korea - is very preppy though he probably has never hard of the term.

For the past 60 years, he (and his students) have worn thick cotton canvas uniforms. They chafe your skin when they are new and weigh a ton, but as they get old and broken in, they get softer, lighter and move with you.

Wearing polyester in his class is a sacrilege. "If you're a black belt and want to be taken seriously, don't wear that."

After an hour of a gruelling, very acrobatic workout, one appreciates the breathability of cotton. When it frays enough, its a sign that you are ready to move to the next level of training.

Bitsy said...

I agree that style is not something one can buy in a store, but rather grows out of the way one lives one's life.

Marie said...

Wonderful portrait

Greenfield said...

This quote is a great reminder that truly authentic clothing and accessories are ALWAYS grounded in the practical world--whether that is a barn jacket for milking cows or an OCBD for a Wall Street office. "Pseudo" or "derivative" anything simply would not work as required for the job.

Unknown said...

What a lovely quote. It's particularly apt in these days of fast fashion and affordable luxury.
Bonnie

Bethany Hissong said...

I agree with everyone and esp. Greenfield. True style is a product of living an authentic life. "Hardship" has many definitions.

Anonymous said...

Hardship vs style is a similar comparison to quality vs quantity. I'd rather have far fewer choices of high quality, than many choices of low-quality. --Holly in PA

JSprouse said...

How about Thoreau's observation to "beware of enterprises that require new clothes." Walden also contains some bits about clothing first being made for a covering and following certain modes of dress without questioning. Something to think about. I like the copy of Chapman's Piloting on his shelf. Nice photo.