The Colors I Wear…

As you probably are aware, I prefer to wear primarily dark colors. I am quite specific the colors I wear because I believe colors have meaning and feeling. I also feel more at ease with dark colors (aside from the occasional white/cream/ivory/ecru/what-have-you) because of they reflect me in some way.

Colors are like a filter of what is going on inside of myself. I also believe it goes vice versa: the colors you wear influence what is going on in you internally. In other words, colors are a two-way street between the clothes and the wearer. Here is a look at the colors I wear and how they make me feel, and the other way around.

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BLACK: As some of you might know, I am getting more at ease with wearing all black all the time. I believe black is a mysterious, elegant color. It is also a serious color, and I am usually serious. Meaning, I like to think deep thoughts and connect the dots to all things in life and in the world. Therefore, black suits me because of its mystery and depth. After all, you cannot get any darker than black. It is the endless deep, so to speak.

At the same time, I feel black suits me because I feel dark sometimes. As someone with mental health issues, I deal with depression and anxiety often. So black comes in handy. There’s no way I could ever wear pastels or something bright in order to lift my spirits whenever I am down. It just would not work. I am quite an honest, true person and I used to hide my issues with bright colors, and it just didn’t feel right. Since I believe one’s personal style is self-expression, I am quite comfortable with wearing lots of black.

 

RED/BURGUNDY/MAROON/WINE:  Ah, red. The color of passion. The color of fierceness, passion and rage. The color of sexiness. I admit I wear the red color “family” often because a friend once told me I look good in red. That being said, though, I feel feminine, powerful and sexy in these colors. It is a way to showcase my strength while blending it with my dark depth that is black. It is a good combination – red and black. It represents so much, depending on the wearer. But for me, these red colors are a representation of female strength.

Flavour lace gray kimono

GRAY/CHARCOAL/MISTY: The in-between when it comes to black. The substitute for black. The perfect choice for when I feel self-conscious wearing all-black. It also comes in handy because charcoal is a good color, and goes so well with black. It represents the same things as black – mystery, depth – without the darkness. It takes out the dark emotions I experience and just leaves in the mysterious, deep thoughts. At the same time, though, my emotions are like a storm, so gray represents my inner storms.

Also, gray has it’s own mysterious element to it. Gray makes me think about mists and fog, kind of like how Ireland and Scotland are. A gray cloudy day looks beautiful to me, believe it or not, so I see the beauty in the gray color family.

Ecru sweater

WHITE/CREAM/IVORY/OATMEAL/PALE BEIGE: Seems kind of odd that with all my love for dark colors, these pop in. However, it does reflect me. I believe in personal healing and inner peace, and these colors represent that. You might say blue is that color, but that is color of calmness (I may appear calm, but I’m a storm inside). So healing and peace are a big deal to me, and I would wear colors to reflect that personal value I have. I hope others would recognize that, and make personal healing and peace a must in their lives.

PURPLE/VIOLET:  Oh, purple, purple. The absolute royal color itself. And the grand substitution for black! While I do not wear much purple (I am trying to change that), I do like this color because of its radiance and regal touch. It is also a bold color, and I see it as another form of being powerful. Only this time, it is personal power, rather than feminine. To me, purple reflects courage, braveness, and being at ease with it. It is like, red says, “watch out for me”, while purple says, “I am already here”.

DARK BLUE/NAVY BLUE: Eh, because I am out of ideas. Or because I liked the top or dress or skirt, and there were no other color options. Or I need to look professional during a job interview. Or I am feeling self-conscious over my lack of a wide range of colors in my wardrobe. Yeah, could be it.

So, those are my colors. Would I ever wear pink, yellow, green or any other bright color? Well, I wear green on St. Patrick’s Day to showcase my Irish heritage. But if I were to ever wear a bright color or a pastel again, it has to be worn with black as well. Like pink floral top with a black background or black pants. I’m just not ready to go “full bright”, if you will.

And honestly, it is just not me. I feel comfortable in my skin with black and other dark colors. I’ve also been doing it for so long that I have forgotten how at ease I felt when I first began dressing like this. Maybe if I were to put on a pink, yellow or lavendar top or dress, I would. But there must be something black to it. Or else, I’d be totally out of my skin.

 

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My Style Journey…

I think the best way to describe my style is to explain how my style developed. I believe style and fashion is a form of personal expression, so I would say my style has been a journey, just like my development as a person has been.

Firstly, as a teenager, a time where personal style tends to most especially develop, I really didn’t have much of a personal style. I followed trends, wore whatever was popular, with a few personal likes thrown in. For example, I remember in the summer of 1998, khaki pants from the GAP were popular where I was, so I had a pair and wore them often. Nevermind that I felt awkward in those khakis because I felt it made me look heavier; I just wanted to keep critical classmates at bay.

I do remember during my junior and senior year two shirts from Mandee that could be best described as boho-like. I loved those shirts, but tried my best not to wear them too much or else those critical classmates would not be kept at bay.

You see, I didn’t have a lot of self-esteem in high school. In fact, I had zero self-esteem. I was bullied a lot, and blamed myself for it, thus leading to a self-loathing mentality. But the clothes I wore did not reflect that. Instead, I relied on clothes to make me feel better about myself. The prettier the shirt, for example, the better I would feel.

Yet, this didn’t always work. It wasn’t like if I wore a lovely shirt, I would like myself. If anything, the pretty clothes were like a costume, pretending to be something I wasn’t. It was like a role I was trying to assume, and I would do this for many years – wearing clothes to make me feel better about myself.

Yes, I would insert a few outfits that I personally liked, no matter the trends or what people said. Starting in high school, I loooooved skirts and dresses. I felt feminine that way and tried to wear them often. Too bad kids at school would mock me, saying I looked like a teacher (OK, I did), and that made me afraid to wear the clothes I wanted. Basically, I was too concerned with others thought about me, so I never really developed myself as a person. Instead of getting to know myself and explore myself, I was consumed with what people thought of me (or what I thought they thought of me) for many years – and I mean, many.

You might recall an earlier post where I explored my interest in goth sub-culture. It is true in junior high and high school, I admired some goth style, particularly the witchy and the Victorian-like styles. But I didn’t have to guts to explore that side of me for a number of reasons. Among them, fear of being bullied and too self-loathing to truly express who I was.

So, for my teens, 20s, and early 30s, I wore clothes that I felt I should wear, not what I wanted. Yes, I wore a lot of skirts and dresses. But I wore what was trendy, or I would wear something to make me feel pretty, to mask the ugliness I felt inside. Again, I felt the clothes I wore were making up for what I did not have or feel.

You could say, since style is personal and a reflection of one’s self, my style during this period reflected me running away from myself and trying to be something I wasn’t.

Things started to change when I was 31 and moved from Staten Island to Brooklyn. I was on my own for the first time, and free to get to know myself and develop a sense of self. I didn’t expect that to happen, but once it began, it was exciting. And a little scary at the same time. A new world had opened up, and a new me was coming to light. At this time, I remember wearing pastel sweaters with sequins on them, sparkly tops, and gold glittery flats. As in, outfits to make me feel pretty since I felt ugly inside.

But as I got to know myself, and became kinder to myself, I began to eschew these items. I started to go with plainer, simpler clothes, and to my thrill, I did not feel ashamed. I didn’t care anymore what people thought, and it was liberating. I also began to explore the boho-chic look, though not all of it would appeal to me. Some did, like peasant tops and Roman coin jewelry. But I wasn’t fully boho.

Eventually, I began to feel more comfortable in darker clothes, particularly black. But I was still hesitant. I was afraid of being teased for wearing too much black. I wasn’t ready to let that side of me out.

Then came a dark period in my life, so to speak. I was at this job from hell, that caused me to develop serious mental health issues. I began to embrace darker colors, and soon began to explore the goth subculture again. I became honest with myself that I should’ve been a goth as a teen, and felt like I missed out on a major development period in both style and as a person. After all, I had spent years and years trying to be something I wasn’t and not being honest with myself. So, where would I be now if I had done that whole goth phase when I was younger?

At the same time, the major mental health problems I went through left me with some shame and a sense of darkness in me. I felt like I had gone through some sort of an abyss in me, and it took a while for me to get over it. Basically, I was haunted by my mental breakdown, and it took a while for me to love myself again and not feel ashamed about what I experienced (Someday I’ll talk more about my mental health journey, but not right now).

But still, I could not see myself wear clothes that were not dark. It felt like I was slowly, very slowly, stepping into my own skin whenever I would buy clothes that were dark red, dark blue, gray or even black. I still felt uneasy, mainly because I felt I was far too old to be developing this side of myself. But then again, I believe in the saying, to thine self be true. And my truth was reflected in dark clothing.

Over this past summer, I re-embraced my penchant for dark clothes, most especially black. I could not ignore that I felt like I was truly in my skin whenever I wore black. It just felt – and feels – natural. It is who I am.

True, I do get self-conscious still. Even though I am embracing an all-black look more and more, I still tend to wear other colors – red, purple, gray, dark blue and even ivory. I choose to wear ivory sometimes because I believe in healing, and ivory/off-white/ecru/whatever reflects that belief. But I wear other colors because sometimes I like the clothing item I see, or I feel like I should “spice up” my wardrobe by wearing more than just black all the time. I don’t know if it is because I am worried what others say or think, but I suspect this is common among those who wear black all the time.  Like, perhaps we admit we could use a different color now and then, or there’s more to us besides black. Hmmm, that sounds like a blog post topic down the road!

Anyway, I am feeling more comfortable in my skin these days. If dark colors are it, then so be it. To hell with the opinion of others. I am more at ease with my style more so than I ever was, mainly because I have more inner peace and self-liking more than ever. And my clothing choices are a reflection of that.

And who knows where my style journey would take me? Will I be in black at age 50? Who knows?

Just who knows?