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Friday, December 18, 2009

Back in Black

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The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good, on you!
-- Coco Chanel

I have a point today - a frivolous one but a point non-the-less. However, it’s going to take a little background for me to get there. Plus I have a cold so I’m a little muddled and medicated– but here goes.

I listen to NPR (National Public Radio) a lot – especially at work. Nerd Radio Ebay calls it and he’s right really. But there’s a lot of interesting stuff on there and what can I say? I like it…nerd that I am.

So on NPR the other day they were talking to the director of a new movie that is coming out. I didn’t quite catch the name of the movie. It’s staring Colin Firth so I’m assuming that it’s something British probably involving cravats and dueling. But the part I did hear was the interview with the director. His name is Tom Ford and is apparently new in the world of movie directing because he came to fame and fortune as a fashion designer and specifically the primary fashion designer/director for Gucci. As part of the interview they talked about the movie a bit of course, but then also about his designs, inspirations, motivations – you know, all that artsy stuff. At the end of the show the interviewer asked Tom about what he was wearing. Tom said that he was wearing what he considered kind of his uniform – black suit, white shirt, black tie. The interviewer said that it seemed kind of conservative and even boring considering the things that he’s designed for other people to wear. Mr. Ford agreed, but said that he had to go with what made him feel comfortable. He felt like when he wore a lot of color, it sort of distracted him and made him feel like the outfit was the one wearing him rather than him being the one wearing the outfit.

At last – Validation!

I wear a lot of black – grey and brown too, but mostly black. I usually tell people that it started when I began teaching elementary school art. Because I was in clay and paint and markers and crayons all day I would ruin a lot of shirts if I didn’t wear black. Plus I wore aprons all the time, so who cares what outfit is under the apron right? This is true – I did ruin a lot of shirts. And I did start wearing a lot more black in the art room. But if I’m being honest, I’ve always kind of gravitated to the dark end of the color palette - probably something to do with my bright and sunny disposition. Even in college, I can remember getting a lot of crap from my sisters about wearing black…again. Now this was the 80’s so anything that wasn’t neon pink was less than fashion forward. But I had a lot of dance and theater classes during the day, which kind of lends itself towards the beatnik black thing.

Now I gave up the art gig a couple of years ago now, but I still have an awful lot of black and neutrals in my wardrobe. Maybe I’m just lazy but I find that it’s just easier, calming, less stressful, less trouble – but I do get some comments about it and I’m just insecure enough to dwell on those a bit. I blame all of those fashion make-over shows like What Not To Wear. We’re supposed to infuse color into our wardrobes. Structure, jackets, fit, pattern and color. Everyone generally looks better at the end of the shows than they do at the beginning so the advice must be right…right?

But now I have validation. I have Mr. Tom Ford – Gucci designer on my team. And come to think of it a lot of other fashion designers too. Marc Jacobs seems to be a fan of the basic black and do you ever see Vera Wang traipsing around in leopard print? No! She's always wearing black. And Coco Channel, the inventor of the "little black dress" herself said “Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.”

Of course I'm hardly a fashion icon and I surely don’t own anything designed by any of those folks. And while I’m not wearing big lumpy black sweatshirts, I’m probably a ways off from elegance as well. But feeling comfortable in my own skin is hard enough sometimes without adding a pink and yellow geometric pattern to the mix. It makes me understand what Tom Ford meant about the outfit wearing him.

So I’ll work on the fit and structure thing and maybe throw in a colorful scarf or something from time to time. But I’m going to dig my heals in about wearing the black and I have Mr. Gucci to thank for it.

Take that Stacy and Clinton.


Anaise said...

Several years ago, you wouldn't have been able to find even one black item in my wardrobe, but they're creeping in--the black items are easy to mix and match with other colors, and for some reason they look more crisp and clean than anything else I wear.

So I say more power to you!

shoezimm said...

I own 2 black items (and since one is an undergarment it really doesn't count)....though I have looked around more than once to find a "little black dress" in my size. I never really thought about it. I tend to stick to denim and whatever t-shirt fits so I am sure Clinton and Stacy would have a cow over my wardrobe as well.

My opinion? Wear what feels comfortable and looks good to you....and who cares what other people think about it. At the end of the day you are the one who is left to wear the stuff so you might as well enjoy it.

Rachel said...

Yesterday on the Today Show I had to laugh because......the point you just made....was made on the Today Show. Apparently, feathers, and sequins are in right now. Several ladies were brought out showing what to wear this holiday season and the lady who was behind it all, describing how to be "in" this season was wearing.......a black dress........ :)

Gerb said...

My entire wardrobe used to consist of black when I was working full-time as an ASL interpreter. Colors which contrast with skin tone are required and nothing contrasted as well with my pale skin as black. Once I decided to quit interpreting so much I found happiness in yellows, pale blues and patterns. Now I sort of mix it up and wear everything... but black is my favorite.

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