Unsurprisingly, I found that even with a minimum of interaction with other people other than my gentleman friend (who professes not to care about clothes), I did care what I wore—even in the middle of nowhere, you won’t find me larking about in an ill-fitting T-shirt and baggy shorts. Not that I got fancy—my vacation wardrobe was essentially T-shirts, jeans, a navy cotton skirt, a gauzy scarf, and sneakers or sandals. These stripped-down, carefully chosen essentials were practical for sailing, biking, and canoeing, but they also pleased me.
I have to admit it was nice to have some of the pressure of dressing removed for a while. There’s no question that other people bring an element of competition (as well as inspiration) into the equation. Residents of fashionable cities have to work harder to stand out from the crowd, while a sea of people provides an almost endless parade of looks to imitate and modify every day. Being in a rural area, there’s not the same urgency to peacock. A true eccentric might continue his or her dedication to conjuring striking ensembles no matter the setting, but most of us are chameleons, adapting to the circumstances, reverting to our true colors when we're alone.