Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beyond basics

My safe outfit is jeans and a black long-sleeve shirt. If it's really cold, jeans and a black sweater. When it's hot, it's jeans and a black tank. Or a jeans miniskirt and a black tank. I have some nicer stuff, skirts and sweaters, but unless it's black or red matching things properly is always a gamble. My sister has joked that I'm mentally color blind. For work or going to Josh's parents' house, I wear dresses mostly. A woman at work told me one day that a denim skirt isn't dressy enough. It was really embarrassing and caused me to go stand in the bathroom (on another floor so nobody at work would know) and have a panic attack. Dresses are easier than skirts and tops since it's one less decision to make.

Alex tried to help by writing coordinating numbers on the labels of the skirts that went with shirts. So I could just take the #4 shirt and look for the #4 skirt and trust they go together. She also scribbled color blocks on a piece of paper, showing which colors go together. Alex even only used colors I have in the closet. So she didn't bother with pink or purple since I don't have anything in those colors. Plus from looking at Al doing ballet all the time, I already know light pink goes with black.

Sometimes I have dreams that there's a huge walk-in closed packed to the rafters with amazing clothes, all in my size, and I'm skipping through it, yanking out amazing outfits. When I wake up, I'll actually be all excited thinking the walk-in closet is just waiting for me to open my eyes, look at it and pluck out an outfit. Then I realize the closet that really exists, my heart sinks, and out comes the jeans and black shirt.

Josh, a straight boy, has even given me fashion tips when I bitch about things too much. "Try easing out of your comfort zone by just adding a scarf." Yeah. My scarf is black.


Nina said...

Coordinating colors IS hard, and so I wouldn't sweat it too much. I think the key is having a few basic pieces that go with nearly anything and then just pairing them with other stuff. And, in my opinion, black is great - everything goes with black. Most of my wardrobe is black even though I like and wear a good amount of color.

This is my advice for work: start with black basics - invest in a black suit (skirt, pants, jacket) and a black shift dress. You probably already have something that could count as a black work dress? White dress shirts are great, and you can layer them with colored sweaters. And you can add pretty much ANY color with black - wear a green sweater or a blue shirt with the suit. Add a colored belt around the shift dress. Wear a colored scarf. Or wear a colored skirt with a black top. Black is wonderfully versatile. The key is to invest in a wardrobe you can build upon, pieces that can be swapped out easily.

And for casual stuff - I really don't think there's anything wrong with wearing jeans and a black shirt. If YOU are comfortable in it, then that's what's important. We all have our "safe" outfits, I think. Mine is jeans and a white tee. But in terms of matching things, I think the same principle works for casual clothes. Jeans go with everything and any color. Or black jeans and any color. (More black!) I really like black jeans.

I have heard of using the color wheel to match your clothes, but I honestly usually don't mix-match colors that often. Here's a pretty good explanation of how it works in theory though: http://angmogirl.com/2010/06/how-to-match-the-colors-in-your-outfits-color-wheel-approach/

That whole fantasy of the walk-in closet though...I mean, I have that fantasy too, but then, you know, you still have to figure out how to actually wear all that great clothes. So I think the best thing is to start with basic pieces (which it sounds like you've got mostly) and then slowly work a few colored or patterned pieces that you really like in with those basic blacks. The key is to really like those pieces.

Okay, thus ends my post-length comment. Sorry!

Mizasiwa said...

My wardrobe also only had black and a few items of brown even my jeans were black and my socks and shoes too. I came to a point when i needed colour and yes Josh is right just adding a colured scarf that is different can change the entire outfit Just try choose something that you really like and try not look at the price (I have buying new clothes becouse they cost so much money) But slowly adding coloured accessories should be perfect for the kind of wardrobe you have.(think scarves gloves earings and necklaces to begin with) I also do dresses as I can use them in winter with shirts and tights underneath I tried to buy dresses this summer that would work as winter dresses as well. Good luck

Mizasiwa said...

Oh and about the denim skirt - do you see clients? If you see clients depending on the style of the skirt and what you are wearing it with it could be too casual but I doubt youd be the kind of person who would dress slopily no matter what you are wearing to work. and if HR hasnt complained I wouldnt stress too much

Melissa said...

Don't feel too bad. I'm 30 and I just started learning how to wear colors. I found this thing pretty helpful:


If you go to the "Palette Search" you can use the slider bars to look up color combinations based around a certain color. It's made a huge difference to me. I'm learning how to use scarves. (!!!)