What I learned from my “Wear Color” phase

I wear a lot of black. Like, a lot. My sister once mocked me by customizing a black t-shirt for me bearing the phrase: I’m only wearing black until they make something darker. That was 15 years ago, and my tastes haven’t changed much.

When I sat down to capture my Life List a few years ago, I filled it with travel and adventure and the unknown. All the big and exciting (and SMALL and exciting) Learn to Wear Colorthings I want to try and experience and see and do in life. And among all the big, exciting travel — I included “Learn to wear color” because I felt like I was missing out on something wonderful. I felt like all the people in my life who know how to wear teal and plum and PATTERNS were onto something, and I wanted to try it.

So I did. A year ago I started forcing myself to buy clothes that aren’t black, or gray, or some other solidly neutral shade of blah. I Pinterested myself silly, and spent a small fortune on a closet full of purples and pinks and greens and yellows. YELLOW, you guys. Yellow is hard. I picked out clothes and put together outfits that I never would have considered before. I forced myself completely out of my clothing comfort zone. I OWN BLUE PANTS. BLUE! Not navy, not denim. COBALT BLUE.

This winter, however, I’ve felt myself losing steam. I’ve felt less and less motivation to reach for the color, and I’ve felt more comfortable in my neutrals again. The thought of constructing an outfit around something yellow — exhausts me.

A few months ago, I stumbled across this article. And while I am certainly not comparing myself to the likes of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, and I don’t necessarily think I suffer from “Decision Fatigue”, it got me thinking about WHY I might be comfortable in my neutrals. Is it because my brain has simply decided to care about something else? On some subconscious level, am I removing myself from this decision altogether? It’s not that I don’t care about looking polished or put together, I just like black.  By wearing “the same thing” all the time, I have to spend waaaaaay less energy on clothing and I start every day with that much more energy. And confidence.

So, Lesson #1: Sometimes, less is more. Truly.

And perhaps more importantly, Lesson #2: It’s OK to try new things, and not like them.

When I wrote that list of things I want to do before I die, it never occurred to me I might try something — and hate it. I mean, what kind of “try new things” gal would I be if I tried it and said, “nah, I’m good”? Two years ago, I tried hot yoga for the first time and didn’t fall in love, but wearing color? I don’t like it. Not every day and not forced and not yellow.

And someday I might travel somewhere exotic and amazing and beautiful, and it just won’t be my cup of tea.

But, that’s OK. No one is going to make me surrender my adventurer card, and no one is going to take away my black/gray/neutral wardrobe and nominate me for What Not to Wear (right??), and — let’s face it — no one is even going to notice if I go back to my fashion happy place and enjoy bright colors from afar.

Now. To make friends with someone my size who likes yellow…

5 thoughts on “What I learned from my “Wear Color” phase

    1. But YOU are a ray of sunshine, my dear. To be fair, I’m a pretty big fan of mustard — yellow’s dark, mysterious cousin.

  1. There is a certain beauty to being in the Army and wearing a uniform everyday… on the short list of things I miss about military life, not having to decide what to wear or how to wear my hair everyday are on there. ;)

    1. I never thought about it before, but I’ve also selected a hairstyle that is more or less the same everyday. It’s not like I have a lot of style options with this haircut! (You just blew my mind.)

  2. I’m a fan of black and gray. I have managed to get a lot of red in my wardrobe to wear with the black and gray. But I’ve never thought of it as choosing to spend my creative energy elsewhere. I think that’s exactly what I do. Thank you for the insight!

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