Ripping Off the Band-Aid: A Week Without Black
Everyone, I would presume, has a wardrobe vice- something they fall back to when they need to feel comforted or confident or safe. My wardrobe vice is black.
This relationship with black isn't new. I was a chubby kid growing up who loved fashion magazines, and all of those magazines promised me that black was slimming. So whenever I was feeling happy or sad or self conscious I draped myself in black.
Fast forward to modern day, and I wear colors now! But also, lots of black. So, I thought for this week's experiment I'd go big or go home. I would go a full week without black. Well, a full business week.
This week's task also kicks off my first set of Mini Labs- still committed to the experiment, but with lower stakes. (Read more about the structure of the experiment here.) This week was a gradual build. I work at home for the most part, and didn't have any evening excursions until later in the week. That gave me the opportunity to test the black-less waters a bit before emerging into society in full color.
THE BROKEN RULE: Black is always best.
Day one of the no-black, and I was feel pretty determined. I pulled on a white sweater, a gift from my mom (she's the best at clothing gifts- also probably my only follower. Hi Mom!), my favorite scarf, jeans and my navy blue booties. It was then, as I pulled my shoes on, that I realized that I only have one pair of autumn-appropriate non-black shoes. No matter! Nothing was getting me down. As I set up my little tripod to take a photo, our dog Izzy ran up and sat next to me, thinking we were going for a ride. I looked down and realized that I'd dressed to match the dog! Even better! In the photos below, the first photo is me prior to the dog-matching realization, the second is my glee post-realization. We spent the rest of the day driving around running errands for work in our full twinning glory.
Tuesday was day two of no black, but also day two of working an outfit around my navy booties. I pulled on jeans, (again! I rarely wear jeans so often) a navy striped shirt, and my camo jacket and figured it was good enough as I headed to buy dog food. As I looked at the photos later, I kept thinking that all two of my black-less outfits looked preppy, and I don't identify as preppy. Could it be that I just associate any black-less outfit with being preppy?! Is this a revelation?!
Oh, Wednesday. Wednesday almost broke me. I had to get up extra early for a work appointment, hadn't done laundry and was feeling particularly spiteful towards navy blue. I stared longingly at the black sweatshirt I'd bought the week before, but knew I couldn't live with the shame if I broke my black fast after two days. By some small miracle, I remembered I still had the gold flats I wore as part of my costume from my summer doing Shakespeare in the park. A reprieve from navy!! I dug them out, pulled on yet another pair of jeans, a gray top and my yellow coat. As you can see below, this outfit was not cute, but at least it wasn't blue.
There's no way to put this gently. Thursday I was bloated. I wanted to wear clothes that were sack-like and cozy and all of my sack clothes are black. It was also my first excursion out to see people I actually know while wearing full on color, and while not as bad as Wednesday, I was cranky. The event I was going to (a friend's devised clowning piece) didn't warrant anything fancy, but I was tired of jeans and I only own jeans and black pants. I tried on skirts but they cinched in right around the bloating and it was all wrong and uncomfortable. I settled on the outfit above. It was just sort of fine. I like all of the pieces individually. I'm still not too jazzed about them together. Everything felt tight and angry.
The show was fantastic, however, and it, and seeing friends, cured me of my crankiness.
Here we are. It's Friday as I write this, and soon I'll be leaving to usher and attend a play starring one of my friends. I've been nagging myself all day that I should probably just give it up and wear black so I can look presentable. But never fear, I have prevailed! I have come out victorious! I am wearing no black for the fifth day in a row, and for the first time all week, I really like my outfit! I'm wearing a midi blue (I know, enough with the blue!) polka dot skirt, a white t-shirt, denim jacket and a patterned burgundy scarf to brave the wind outside. Oh, and those navy booties. I'm not really a jeans and t-shirt type of lady, so I'm finally feeling more like myself, even without the black.
THE CONCLUSION: I had one big revelation this week. I fluctuate in size in about a ten pound window. All of my clothes that are colorful fit me best at the bottom of that range, and all of my black clothes fit me best at the top of that range. I know that I gravitate toward black when I'm feeling like I have a little extra, but I hadn't realized that that mindset has infiltrated my shopping habits. I don't think wearing black is bad or shameful. I still love an all black outfit, but I shouldn't use it as a crutch or a curtain to hide behind. It'll definitely be something I'll continue to experiment with as the year goes on.
On a lighter note, I ordered some new non-black, non-navy shoes! They should be here next week and I am all kinds of excited about them.
Until next time, friends!