Things from our childhood can traumatise us, and so it is with me and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Seriously, watch it again as an adult – it’s disturbing. For some reason, Violet Beauregarde’s transformation into a ginormous human blueberry always captivated and repulsed me. She was entirely purple (or violet – great script writing with “you’re turning violet, Violet!”). Now for the disproportionate effect of this trauma: my hesitation around wearing one colour from top to toe.
It can’t really be the terrifying image of the spherical form of Violet Beauregarde that has me on edge around a monochrome fashion moment, but I’m at a loss to find any other cause. In this context, you can appreciate why this particular get-up was a small but important step toward full sartorial freedom. Obviously I am a hero amongst women, battling against the key issues confronting us.
If I can level any criticism at myself (and friends, nobody criticises me like me) then it is that I am scarily suggestible when it comes to le fashion. The prime example is the 33 years I spent convinced my ears “stuck out too much for dangly earrings”, followed by wholesale capitulation just as soon as I’d looked at approximately 20,000 photos of amazingly chic women wearing statement earrings. I’m not alone in this – it’s why you’ll see bloggers and Youtubers suddenly all start exclaiming that they just LOVE mustard this season, or star print, or red and pink worn together. It’s just like Josie and the Pussycats foresaw.
Keep in mind that I also consume a larger than average amount of fashion imagery. I read magazines and blogs, I watch videos from all over the internet, and I refer to pinning things on Pinterest as “playing Pinterest”. I’m not good at video games but I am good at cataloguing pictures as “Autumn/Winter”, “Spring/Summer” or “Inspiration”. Think about the height of your Candy Crush addiction – that’s me, lying in bed on Saturday morning looking at pictures of clothes for an hour. So eventually, the top to toe trend had me in its grip, despite my VB phobia.
This could have gone a lot of ways, because I own a lot of colours, but in the end I went with blue simply because this top and these pants happened to be the best combo available to me. The red tops I have didn’t really jive with my red pants, I don’t own a green top, at the time I didn’t have purple pants. It also meant I really got to confront my concerns about being mistaken for a human blueberry. It was an emotional journey, you guys. Keep an eye out for my book “Fruitful Fashion: one woman’s journey to acceptance”, coming to reputable booksellers soon.
I did some research before I put this outfit together, because why not leverage the wisdom of my sisters who came before me. Based on that one 5 min scroll through Google results, plus my own experience, I’d give you this amazing advice about how to wear one colour top to toe:
- You either need the colours to match exactly, or you need to choose very different colours. Matching coord sets will give you the edge on the first option, while the second is way more accessible/requires no new purchases.
- Much like in an all black outfit, the clothes need to be on point. The eye is not distracted by prints or combinations of colours, so scruffiness will be unusually noticeable.
- Go all in on details. Look at how much detail is on these pants - buttons, pockets, turned up cuffs - it's a riot. The sleeves on the shirt are balloon-y fun, the earrings are not shy and retiring. This is less about tonal dressing, TBH, but is valid advice for dressing up/life nonetheless.
And, of course, screen your childrens’ viewing before they get into it, lest they be as traumatised as me.