Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Color Bound: Even if Everyone Around Me is Surrounded in Black
Everywhere I look, I’m surrounded by a sea of black: black skirt suits, black pants, black pumps and even worse black pantyhose. In the ultra-drab government sector, I’m finding out color is a luxury that most women just don’t want to indulge in. Not me. I aim to be different. I want color, I need it. It’s not that I have an objection to black; I just don’t want to see it five days out of the week. I also don’t want to see shapeless, colorless separates. Talk about making a girl depressed! At times, I want to send out a memo telling everyone “Come get a free makeover in 1717. The first five people receive a free door prize!”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my city and wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else but when it comes to professional fashionistas, DC is definitely lacking, and I’m not just saying this because I wear color everyday and work in an office where the basic uniform is a black suit. Simply, DC is known for its politics rather than its fashion and some things just don’t change. Which makes me think: How do I bring fashion to a place that is so unfashionable?
I began to contemplate and only came up with more questions. With so many fashion options available for women today, why do they gravitate to black? I had tons of questions and spent some time thinking about them before building up the nerve to approach several women and ask them for myself. I wasn’t at all surprised at the “it’s a habit” responses or the “this is the culture here” replies but answers like “I don’t know what else to buy when I’m shopping for work” scared the living daylights out of me. How could anyone say that and be serious? There are a plethora of career separates and suits available, no matter where one tends to shop. Almost every store, unless you are shopping under a rock, has color nearly bursting out the front door!
With spring in full effect, I am saddened when I see 6 out of 8 women in the office, with black, frumpy boring clothes. I’m expecting bright hues, pastels, floral prints and bold designs and even if there is black, I need to see white very close by. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightening. It was time for an experiment. I wanted to understand this woman. I needed to put myself in her shoes. I needed to become a “blackster”.
For three days straight, I wore black. This included a retro 40’s black pencil skirt suit, some well tailored Limited trousers and a black Marciano high-waisted pencil skirt. First, I paired the suit with silver accessories and black patent-leather mary-janes. On the next day, my trousers looked great with a black cropped jacket and sage green blouse; and on the third day, I wore the high waisted skirt with a semi-sheer black satin blouse. As much as I hated black before, I began to warm up to the color. I felt powerful, sexy and confident. I was showered with compliments by both men and woman and the number of men flirting and making eye contact- let’s just say there were too many to count.
Maybe black isn’t so bad after all. If done right, it can be both flattering and stylish. Okay, so maybe I can wear black- just not every day. In the end, I have come to this conclusion; I must lead by example. I can’t expect everyone to be on my page. Black is good but color is better! I have this dream where, every woman can, and will be fabulous. If you are one of these “extreme blackists” BEWARE! I’m coming for you.