Saturday, September 05, 2009

Color My World

When you work in a boutique whose merchandise is almost evenly split between extremely colorful fancy dresses and all white, even fancier dresses, you find yourself frequently attired in neutrals. Black, grays, browns, and the occasional small pops of color dominate the wardrobes of my co-workers and myself. It's not policy. It just happens. Of course, dressing in neutrals is economical. It's easier to mix and match, and working in the low paid world of retail fashion requires dressing both well and inexpensively.

I think part of this could just be sales instinct. When two people are side by side, and one is in dark neutrals, the person in a color or decoration embellished white, who happens to be the one paying, will stand out. I've read where designers Coco Chanel and Pierre Balmain required the sales and alterations staff at their salons to dress solely in black and grey.

Black clothing can be elegant, sexy, mysterious or authoritative. The song just wouldn't be the same if it were "the long, cool woman in the yellow dress." Black can be sophisticated and minimalist. It can be retro beatnik chic. The downside is that it can also be frumpy, self-delusional, fat lady black or the color of widow's weeds. I just had to google that phrase, and weeds once referred to clothing that indicated a person's occupation or station in life. Black is the color we (in the west) most often see on women wearing burqas. Black clothing allows the wearer to fade, like a ninja, into the shadows. It can be the color of sadness, danger or oppression. Moving from the metaphorical to the literal, black is the absence of color and light.

Black has dominated my wardrobe since long before my stint in wedding world though, and I'm beginning to wonder why. I used to be a (no 80's movie reference intended) a pretty in pink girl. I glow in cool jewel tones and simply kick butt in red. So why does my closet look like it still needs a light bulb when the switch is on? It's not really practical. Four of my five cats are mostly white, and I go through pet hair rollers with amazing speed. I live in the hot and humid south, and black absorbs heat.

My wardrobe and my indecision about being invisible or being seen won't change immediately, but tonight, I'm painting my nails bright red.


Blogger Nelle said...

Much of my wardrobe is black also. Firstly, i think this is a color often used, at least in the past, for larger women. Most women feel black is slimming and we are always wanting the most slimming option. I do feel with basic black clothing you can dress it up or down by jewelery or scarves. It is more versatile for work then after work. I must have a dozen pairs of black slacks and wear them to work at least three days out of five. I do wear brightly colored scarves and often "shells" of bright colors with black sweaters or jackets.

September 06, 2009 10:19 AM  
Blogger Songbird said...

I also wear a lot of black, I guess because I think it will make people take me seriously!

September 06, 2009 10:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Time to Call in Stacey and Clinton...? ;)

September 07, 2009 10:06 AM  
Blogger gigi said...

I have a closet full of pretty, flattering, brightly colored garments, all carefully chosen and adored in the stores. Guess what I grab when dressing to go out? The older I get the more I find myself wanting to disappear into the woodwork. I resent this new found fear of attention, and always paint my lips bright red. Just to piss myself off. :)

September 11, 2009 4:07 PM  

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