Brightening up


Black is my go-to. Wearing “dress-up” clothes to work eight hours a day, five days a week, my biggest priorities are looking professional while feeling comfortable. In those early post-college days, I had a handful of dress tops, one pair of (black) slacks and two pairs of heels. When I earned my first paycheck, I started flipping that dough into other pieces . . . and other pieces . . . and still more pieces. Building a wardrobe.

Needless to say, I have a little more clothing now. And, um, a few more pairs of shoes.

But one thing has remained constant: all that black. On any given day, I’m wearing at least one — if not two — black articles of clothing. Black boots, black heels, black flats. Black pants or a black cami under a black sweater. Black earrings with a black belt. Black.

I’m not sure where my late-blooming obsession with dark hues came from, but it’s sort of my signature now. Black and red are incorporated into almost every outfit, and I’m mostly okay with it. Lately I’ve been waking up early only to stand in front of my closet with the familiar, baffled look of a woman who squeaks about having “nothing to wear,” though. I’m just so sick of everything I own.

I went shopping on my lunch break Wednesday, tearing through a local department store until my arms ached under the weight of dresses, shirts and capri-length pants. In 30 minutes, I’d racked up a hefty bill (but had a 30 percent off coupon so, you know. Less guilt). Where once I’d have wandered around the mall with friends and my sister for hours, I rarely get out anymore — so it’s easier to justify my shopping sprees by remembering I don’t piece-meal purchase things throughout the week.

My goal for the outing was clear: buy cute, casual clothes I can wear on upcoming trips to New York City and California, and no black. When I do shop, it’s usually for work-appropriate garb . . . which makes sense, of course. I spend most of my time in work-appropriate garb. But that means I wind up reaching for the same two shirts on Saturdays and Sundays. And even those have black.

Like a frizzy-haired tornado, I wound up with three short-sleeved cardigans (gray, white, fuschia); a knee-length floral dress to wear to “The Newsies” in New York next weekend (ye-ah!); two brightly-colored tops; khaki and blue cotton crop pants; and a pair of fuschia-jeweled earrings. Basically? Everything I would never wear in my “normal” life.

So, for the first time in a year or so (or more?), I recently went to work in a floral, pastel-colored top, brown capris, brown heels and a bright pink pin — as evidenced above. Not a stitch of black to be found.

And I have to say: it felt good. My initial awkwardness over the no-black rule faded by lunchtime, especially as coworkers complimented my ensemble. As we’re thick in the middle of the warm weather months, I’m going to make it a personal goal to have a no-black-clothes day weekly. And if I’m feeling crazy brave? Maybe twice a week.

I’m sure the Angel of Darkness will be glad I’m out of his closet.


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Is your wardrobe dominated by any particular color? Are you as into black as I am? What’s your favorite color to wear?

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17 thoughts on “Brightening up

  1. I grew up being told that blue looked good on me and white didn’t, and I kept that in mind until only a few years ago despite the fact that I’ve not been a child for a while. Then I kind of did what you did, went out of my way to buy something different and found that actually, it wasn’t so bad.

    Trying out new types of clothes are so fun and you can find out things you didn’t know about yourself. That said, I think I’m still more of a blue person than the “newer” colours. The thing about black though is that it goes with anything which makes choosing what to wear so much easier. And it can often make casual clothes look quite formal too. I can definitely see why it’s your favourite.

  2. Oh you should see my closet! All black and white. Maybe a little brown for variety. Everything GOES with black…it is versatile! So I’m right there. And I hate the mall, even though I constantly find myself there because of my teenage daughter (even then though I’m not “allowed” to shop for myself because it is all about her). Once a year I meet vacationing friends at an outlet over on the coast and that is where I do my shopping. That happens in a week and a half. I am going to try to get colorful things this time. You have inspired me.

  3. Mostly black here too. I think it will only get worse for me too since I just started a new job (I’m a massage therapist and I just recently obtained a new job at a salon) and my uniform is black scrubs. Black top, black pants, and black shoes. I do have some color in my closet but i almost always pair it with black as well.

  4. I’m all about black and brown. And, for whatever reason, all my accessories are purple. But to the more important things: YOU’RE SEEING NEWSIES! I saw it a few months ago. I’m excited for you. Hit me up if you have free time in NYC 🙂

  5. You and I have the same issue!!! I love black. It goes with just about everything. I usually brighten it up with crazy jewelry. I’m going on vacation at the end of next week (a cruise, which means I need less black). I went shopping about a week ago and picked out things that had color (okay, I did get one pair of black capris but all in all, I did okay).

  6. I also have a LOT of black, and LOVE charcoal grey (though, strangely, I don’t own a lot of it…weird). Other than black, the two colors that dominate my closet are dark hues of purple and green. I have no idea where the green thing came from, but when I did a serious revamp/clean out of my wardrobe in the fall, I found green thing after green thing after green thing… 🙂

  7. When you look in my closet it looks like it’s easter! I actually wonder if I think I’m still eight! That said, I have about five go-to outfits that are all black. Love black! It’s just too easy.

    Congratulations on adding a little adventure into your wardrobe. 🙂

  8. Well done! That pin is so pretty.

    I have the opposite problem – too many brights / patterns & not enough neutrals lately – in fact, I need a striped shirt intervention.

  9. Black is also a color I wear all the time. It’s hard to resist – it really does go with everything! It was worse when I had to wear professional clothes to work, as like when you started, I tended to simply dress up a nice top with black pants. I’ve moved into a job where jeans are acceptable work attire, but it’s still difficult to move away from the regular black, especially in winter. It does make me feel far more cheerful, though, and I’m glad to hear you’re giving it a try!

  10. My wardrobe is nothing if not pitiful. I keep saying I’m going to go shopping, but I hate shopping so I always find an excuse not to go. I’ve got a few trips coming up that should motivate me but, so far, they haven’t. I’m at the point, I should probably get help from a personal shopper.

  11. I find that my small wardrobe consists of tshirts and jeans. Oh, and hoodies. Lots of jackets, too. But everything I wear are different shades. But if I’m wearing dressy clothes, the outfit is usually themed black.

  12. Yay, bright colors!!! I find that I have the opposite problem. I am attracted to bright colors and patterns, so I don’t always have things that match!

  13. Yay color!! 🙂 When I was in high school I wore six colors (total). Black, white, blue, brown, gray, and well…I don’t remember. Maybe army green. But now I LOOOOOOOOOOVE wearing bright colors and find myself a bit cheerier when I do. Plus I bet you look pretty in pink. 😉

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