When I started working in corporate America in the Fall of 1999, I needed a suit. Actually, I needed several. As I started my interviews that spring, I marched myself to the Laura Ashley store (remember this place?!) at the Cherry Creek Mall because they had some gimmick if I opened a credit card. I was that fool. I mean, Laura Ashley?! I bought a moss green twilly suit–pants and a jacket–for about $75, which was a steal even then. I followed it up with a trip to Ann Taylor where I bought a black shift, a long matching jacket and pants–my version of a three piece suit. I think I also bought a cornflower blue french cuffed shirt and a yellow and black pinstriped one. That was a week’s worth of outfits, and I wore the hell out of them because I had to.
I landed my job while we were still corporate dress, with Fridays as corporate casual, which definitely meant no jeans. Slowly, I began to collect black pieces of clothing because they were versatile, didn’t need to be dry cleaned that often, and let’s face it, were slimming. This random hodgepodge of clothing managed to escape San Francisco in one of my many suitcases bound for Connecticut two years later. Kids always asked me why I wore so much black. In a world of mostly t-shirts and jeans and sweaters, I was the girl in charcoal slacks and black sweater.
So where was the color? It was in my red patent leather shoes, turquoise purses, maroon winter coats, and tropical scarves. You see, I love color. But I was either afraid or self-conscious or simply poor. I don’t know. But now as I look back, so few things in my wardrobe for the past 15 years have had color in them. It makes me sad.
Fortunately this summer, I had an excuse to end this. I needed an entirely new wardrobe. I’m not trying to sound flippant or precarious or even snobby. But I really did. I went from a size 14 to an 8, and I am still dropping. So let’s just say color looks a lot more attractive on my frame when I’m a size 8 instead of a 14. Some can pull it off. Me, I am too self-conscious. Or, well, I was. Now it’s like watch out color!
For the love of all that’s sacred, yesterday I purchased a blouse with brightly colored birds scattered everywhere. Birds. And the sales guy in the dressing room said, “Honey, it’s you. It’s a must!” And for the first time in my life, I listened. Even better, I agreed with every part of my soul.
Things I still own that are black:
- Wool Dress for special work occasions
- Long tunic that I usually wear hot pink wedges with
- 2 pairs of slacks; one regular, the other cropped.
- Light weight jacket
- Fleece jacket
- Cashmere full length coat that I have had since 1999
- One boring black sweater
- Camisoles, tank tops, long sleeve, short sleeve, and V-neck tees
The rest as you can clearly see, are color. As the Stones say, “I’m gonna open up the throttle”. It’s color or bust in 2012. And let’s be honest; the colors this year are fantabulous. I have met few shades of pink I love. Fuscia is now one of them, and I own a pair of suede loafers to prove it.
I was going through my closet this afternoon, pulling things that no longer fit for Goodwill and good friends. And I loved the line down my closet, filled for the first time ever with color. When I heard “All Down the Line” tonight on my playlist, I couldn’t resist.
Yes, ELO, I am never going to be the same again.
Vive les couleurs!
All Down the Line–The Rolling Stones
Elderberry Wine–Elton John
Moon on my Shoulder–Lyle Lovett
It Ain’t Easy–Shooter Jennings
Here Comes Your Man–The Pixies