One day my husband joked that my wardrobe spanned the color spectrum from navy to black, which he quickly revised when he realized that the navy pieces in my closet were, in fact, actually black. “I take it back,” he said. “It’s the spectrum of black to black.” Hilarious. I am, after all, a former fashion editor and wearing black is, like, a job requirement. But I’m also a New York City dweller, and, well, that’s what we do. But over the years I have accumulated lots of colorful clothing, it’s just that I don’t wear them as much as the dark stuff. Hubs wasn’t having it, so he bet me I couldn’t commit to wearing color, and only color, for more than three days in a row. I took the bait, and took it further: I vowed to wear color every day…for two weeks. Here’s how it all went down.
I spent a few hours the following Sunday night pre-gaming, in anticipation of a Monday start date. I stood in front of my closet and surveyed the space. Hubs had a point, there was a certain black hole-ness to it. I started sifting through the hangers, plucking out options and piling them on my bed. A burgundy and white striped button down and a jewel-toned floral tunic were early options. Found a long navy skirt I remember buying in Paris and a raspberry cashmere sweater I got at an outlet store, neither or which I had worn in ages. Soon I was flinging hangers with glee. Jesus, the things I found, that had hung dormant for years. Pretty things! Wearable things! I also found a number of things that no longer fit, at all, and I unearthed a leather mini skirt that pre-dated both of my children.
I set aside five, completed, gloriously colorful outfits and called it a night.
The first three days, getting dressed was a blast. I was downright giddy each morning. I rocked brights, embraced color blocking, mixed and matched prints like a pro. My mood was noticeably lifted every single morning and although I didn’t quite feel like myself, I liked the challenge and what felt like a newness in my wardrobe. Not everything worked, of course: black clothes do, undeniably, have a slimming effect, and some colors just didn’t seem to suit. I also ditched the red lipstick I used to wear as my formerly black-clad self—it just seemed a bit too much in my current technicolor state. I layered all my jewelry per usual and it, too, looked fresh and new. The color options were endless, and for whatever reason I regaled in the more unusual color combinations (bright blue with burgundy? Sure! Brown and chartreuse? Absolutely). On Day 2 I had a luncheon to attend and instead of my trusty LBD I wore a full skirt swirled with blues, a crisp white shirt and loads of turquoise jewelry. Fantastic!
Day 4 I hit the color-soaked wall. I felt tired and uninspired and I had a packed day that called for lots of schlepping around NYC which, historically, would call for my prior (perfectly utilitarian) uniform of skinny black pants, black flats and black leather jacket. I was not happy. I pushed through it and wore super dark rinse blue jeans with lots of gray (top, sweater, shoes), and I topped it off with layers of silver chains embedded with all different size and shape green stones in order to amp the vibrancy. Not my best effort, but I put it in the win column.
Day 5: Allow me to put the casual into Friday. I busted out a pair of my beloved cargo pants and stumbled on a new color combo alert: Olive green (pants) and burgundy (silk blouse) is an awesome mix! In fact, those cargo pants brought me such happiness that I wore them all day Saturday, including out to dinner with friends Saturday night and I’ll be damned if you can’t dress those bad boys up (heels, silver sparkly top, red lipstick). Day 7 was #SweatsAllDay Sunday: no black, no problem.
I was on a roll. Week 2: BRING IT. Day 8 I wore a red, gray and camel print dress that’s been in my closet for years but has been out of rotation since before my kids were born. The dress was flouncy, and roomy (comfortable) without being overwhelming. I felt like I had made some important archeological discovery…in my own closet. I loaded up the jewelry, natch, with pieces from my beloved collection of silver and red coral Native American jewelry. I knew in that moment that it was a look I would go back to even after this experiment was complete (and I have).
And then, on days 9, 10 and 11, it didn’t just rain…it POURED. And let me tell you, when it rains in New York City it is all about the basic black. Oh, the misery of dirty rain water splashed on the cuffs of my hot pink trousers, ditto for the cobalt and silver geometric print pants and navy satin skirt I tried. The anxiety of dealing with shitty weather in my non-black state was too much to bare. The rain was relentless, and the casualties mounted. All around me I gazed wistfully at women clad in their inky glory…mindlessly traipsing through sloppy streets and sitting on rain-splattered seats on the subway. I was a mess, I tell you, and all I could think about was my beloved black leather leggings THAT WERE HANGING IN MY CLOSET.
But, I survived, and eventually clear skies (along with my sunny disposition) returned. In the end I thought the experiment was kind of genius. It pushed me to experiment, get out of a rut, and wear my clothes in new ways. 14 days of wearing nothing but color and I lived to tell the tale. On day 15, you guessed it, I wore all black.