My Secret to Being Brave About Colour

In a country that is weirdly proud to be associated with the colour black – just because we appear on the bottom of globes doesn’t mean we have to create a visual connection with the Underworld, you guys – I’d describe my look as more like “Cirque de la Mode”, or Circus of Fashion.  I’m not against black as such, it’s just that the inside of my wardrobe reflects an inner voice that basically shouts “Are There Any Other Colours I Haven’t Seen Yet” every time I walk into a shop.  However, the questions I get on my blog posts and sliding into the ol’ DMs suggest that some of you love and fear colour.  You want it, but you don’t know how to get past the flashing beacon feeling it can give you.  So I’m here to tell you how I became a BRAVE LADY OF FASHUN.  It’s all about your state of mind.

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First up, it helps to grow up in a house with an appreciation of colour.  My Mum bought an Art Deco house in Cambridge (v conservative place) and promptly painted it bright blue.  We did not know that it was featured in the town museum as an example of its kind.  We just knew that blue would look awesome, and so it was.  Mum coped with the sniffy comments on that one for years.  Our hallway was papered in maroon, dark green and cream stripes (very “in” in the 90s).  When I moved away, we picked a duvet cover printed with neon gerberas.  I don’t really remember much black in our wardrobes – I had one pair of black pants that I wore with my beloved raspberry red mohair jumper – but I do remember plenty of colour. 

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It also helps to remember that nobody cares what you are wearing.  I will 100% people watch when I am out and about, because I find people (and obviously personal style of those people) pretty fascinating stuff, but I can’t remember a single person I saw in the street today.  By Friday, I will struggle to remember what I wore today, let alone anyone else.  Unless you live in a fairly shit town, the chances of someone coming up to you to tell you they think you look awful are basically zero.  I dress up in fairly odd combos all the time, and let me tell you, not every outfit is a success (photos from the early 2000s evidence the horror of a teenager with a budget for clothes and no adult oversight).  So far, I’ve noted zero people making a point of telling me I’ve made an egregious error.  Nobody cares! (And anyone who does care is a dickhead with an empty life who needs to get some interests to occupy their mind, so you can safely ignore their opinions.)

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The other thing to keep in mind is that colour is much better looking.  It’s flattering, it’s attractive to our monkey brains…basically if it’s good enough for flora and fauna, it’s good enough for me.  We’re the luckiest of all living organisms, because we can choose our coverings (I know there are cool crabs who do this too, but we aren’t stuck with whatever we find in a rock pool so we still win).  Which flower do you think gets the most visits from bees?  Correct, not the grey one.  Find the colours that flatter your face (this is where op-shopping is great, since they have a veritable rainbow to play with) and you’ll realise how much more fun it is to dress like a beautiful hummingbird than a ground-dwelling rodent.

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Finally, educate yourself on colour.  This isn’t about looking up the colour wheel – this is about adjusting your eye to accept colour combinations.  We all know that I absorb a ridiculous amount of fashion imagery through books, magazines and online, but I also just absorb images.  I visit galleries, I buy books full of pictures of art, crafts and interiors, I read the paper and I look at the pictures, I look at pictures of natural wonders on Instagram (my friend Rachel got me started on geodes etc and that changed the game) – it’s all grist for the mill.  Obviously, I’m not doing this intentionally anymore – I just like looking at appealing things.  It’s the reason I love Instagram but had to slowly back away from Twitter (too many words, too many “discussions”).   So start finding images you think are beautiful, and figure out which colours are in the mix. 

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Colour makes you more attractive.  It perks up your own mood (and the mood of others around you).  It makes you a part of the swirling palette of existence on this planet.  You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t wear colour out of concern of what others will think of you (see above: nobody cares).  If you think you don’t know which colours “go”, I have great news – I personally think the idea of clashing vs coordinating colours is a bunch of nonsense.  Go.  For. It. And remember, if you don’t like it – you can always take it off.

Dress from Uniqlo (can't find it on the site but I do like this).  Shirt from Aida Maeby (sold out sorrrry but this dress featuring this beautiful fabric is on major sale).  Boots are Bruno Premi from Ultra Shoes last year (have you checked out their new store on Willis Street yet?).  Sunnies a million years old, earrings from Olivia (purchased at Cre8tive Worx here in Wellington).