My Favorite...Tokyo-Bought Dress and Hat
Yogi and CosmoBody trainer Tara Stiles tells us about this wacky outfit she bought in Tokyo. It's all about dinosaurs, kittens and creativity.
Yogi, studio owner and trainer on the new CosmoBody video on-demand service Tara Stiles tells us the tale behind this wacky outfit she bought in Tokyo. It's all about dinosaurs, kittens and creativity!
How did these amazing pieces come into your life? "I've been to Tokyo a few times now, for yoga and teaching, and I have a yoga apparel line with Reebok so they brought me out. But I've just fallen in love with Tokyo and made some friends there, who brought me to this crazy street called Takeshita Street, where all these young people are. It's kind of like St. Marks in New York but it's even more out there, in a fun—not scary—way! It's this really creative street where they have all kinds of shops. The people who hang out there are basically kids in their teens and early 20s, and they're dressed up in the most vivid, creative outfits, and a lot of time they match their friends—it's really thought out, really fun. It looks like this dream world. And I got a bunch of stuff from that street because it reminds me of that playfulness; wearing something that makes you feel creative, clothes as wearable art."
It's so much fun to explore that playful aspect of style. "Yeah, I think the dress was $20! Everything is super inexpensive there. Simple fabrics, simple shapes, but with really creative colors. I've always liked to wear crazy things [without] worrying about what designer it is, what label it is or who am I impressing, or anything like that. People get excited when they see you're in something that makes you happy. And I've always, as the years have gone by, just kept going with that, 'It's okay, I can dress crazy, it's totally fine!'"
Sounds like this outfit carries the energy of Tokyo with you. "[Tokyo has] so much energy, so much excitement about art and culture, and the food is amazing. I feel it's like the future. It's this civilization that survived because they got it all right. They're eating really well, respecting where the food came from and being mindful about what they're eating. The whole culture is really fascinating to me. And from a clothing perspective, it's amazing."
Do you remember buying this dress and hat? "I remember being in the store with my friend, who is a yoga instructor, and everything in the store was amazing, and, like, $20. I wanted to buy so much anyways but I was like, 'I don't feel bad about it now!' I'm not super girly, I wear a lot of tomboy [stuff]—sweatpants and loose T-shirts—because I'm doing yoga all the time, but this was really fun. The shape was simple and girly, and the pattern was completely hilarious and out-there, the kittens and the strawberries, and the sea foam green color. I tried it on and it fit perfectly, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is ridiculous, but I have to get this and I have to wear it all the time.'"
Cool! And do you wear it all the time? "Yeah, I wear it all the time. I live in Soho, and anytime I have an outfit on from that street, one of these street bloggers is like, 'What are you wearing?' I'm okay with being the neighborhood weirdo at the moment."
How about the hat? "The hat was the same thing—every kid is obsessed with dinosaurs. I was like, 'Why can't you be an adult and wear dinosaurs?' It's one of those things where you wear it on the street and it's a conversation piece. People ask where you got it, or tell you a story and start talking about their favorite dinosaurs. I feel like I wear these clothes not to get all sorts of crazy attention, but to make friends. It keeps everything creative and interesting."
Does that spirit of creativity and freedom translate into your yoga practice and teachings? "For sure. The studio in New York I own is called Strala, and we go around and do these training programs and, literally, all the ideas behind it are about moving with ease to create the experience of freedom for people to discover it on their own, so people feel creative in their bodies, minds and lives. We call our instructors 'guides,' they're guiding people through the process without getting in the way. That's the whole reason I got so excited about yoga in the first place—the creativity and the freedom, how free you can feel when you're moving, how it feels good and exploring the position instead of trying to nail a pose."
When you see these pieces in your closet, what's the first thought or feeling that comes to mind? "I just see potential. A potential for a really fun day. I know if I put on that outfit and I go outside, things are going to happen. I'm going to have a great conversation, whether I'm just going to pick up a cup of coffee, or going to the grocery store, or going to and from the studio. Whatever it is, somebody's going to smile and it's going to make me happy. And I think, that's sort of my mission with everything I want to do, professionally with yoga and also personally, I just want to be happy. And I think a lot of happiness comes from sharing and connecting with other people. I see it and I'm like, 'I'm going to make new friends today!'"