Sunday, January 9, 2011


I’ve been ruminating as of late on what I mean by the term “modern traditionalist”. Truth be told, when this blog began I had a vastly different idea of what it meant. Much of that was an accumulation from the molten amalgamation of others’ ideas, of trends and of what I thought I was supposed to be. That has been a bit of a motif throughout my life, always trying to fit in with the crowd. I’d affix myself to a theme and take a barnacle’s journey through life. Not unexpectedly, it isn’t very gratifying.

And yet there are ephemeral flashes where the real modern traditionalist surfaces. A sudden gasp of air and she’s gone again. At times I fear I’ve lost her forever and then she arrives once more. Now I trust she’s here for good.

But who is she? She’s not twee or precious, two sisters who commonly get stirred up in a fit of possessiveness whenever “traditional” enters a room. She’s also not preppy, an equally domineering cousin. All of this bickering has caused “traditional” to have an identity crisis of her own. I’m not one for math, but maybe a simple equation is in order:

modern = the superficial (style & design)

traditional = the soul (behavior, hobbies, beliefs & passions)

modern + traditional = me

The best summation of this equation can be located in my profile, Elizabeth Bennet as styled by newly anointed Vogue Paris EIC, Emmanuelle Alt (astoundingly excited about Ms. Alt’s new position, but let’s remain focused, shall we?). For a more visual representation, imagine if this cool chick invited you to tea for which she baked all day and presented you with a hand-knit scarf upon leaving. She would be a modern traditionalist.

Photo by Terry Tsiolis from Vogue Paris.

Photo via here. Photographer unknown.

Photo via here. Photographer unknown.


  1. I rather fit into this category myself and do occasionally find it a bit contradictory. But I do think you can be interested in intellectual pursuits and still have a passion for style, design and fashion - they don't have to mutually exclusive. It is an easier combination to accommodate now - when I was in school (college) it was not. I went to a left leaning bastion of intellectual vigor and had to hide my Vogue beneath my text books. And when I graduated, if you weren't going to grad school, there were only a few acceptable industries to join - I was lucky enough to find a job in one - publishing, which turned out to be the best of all possible worlds - art and literature. In some ways I am happy things have changed and it is easier to meld all one's interests without the harsh judgment of the ivory tower.

  2. I'm adoring the positive responses! Thank you.

    Quintessence - you have an interesting perspective. I believe I've reconciled my intellectual with my more superficial pursuits but I do remember a time when I felt it could only be one or the other. What I've begun to celebrate is that a fashionable sort, one typically associated with a certain type of lifestyle (restaurants, clubs, galleries, parties!), can actually be fairly domestic. My idea of domestic ran along the lines of a modern interpretation of Donna Reed. While that is certainly a popular style as of late, thanks to Mad Men, it's not me. I'm a little too loose and a too much of a punk for that. I'm now accepting that I can bake and sew and still remain true to myself!


  3. I love the idea of a Modern Traditionalist! And those are lovely photos of Ms. Gainsbourg...


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