I built my capsule wardrobe because, prior to the beginning of the 100 Day Challenge, I had very rarely worn all black. However, every day since the Challenge began, I have only worn black…every day.
The only people who have noticed that I am now a monochromatic person in the shade of spiritual poverty are my work colleagues, who see me every day. New students each semester only see me twice a week or so and probably don’t remember or have no idea that my other wardrobe is red, green and blue. My church family will probably start to see it when I start recycling Sunday outfits more frequently.
I stopped wearing black in any shade when I was 14 and did not have any garments (even pants) in the color for close to 25 years. My Aunt commented at my Grandmother’s funeral that I don’t “look good in black” and it took a very long time for me to consider that she probably meant “you don’t look good when you are sad and have been crying a lot”.
When I took the position at Texas State, I suddenly needed a lot of professional attire and although I am teaching fashion students, I have never considered myself fashionable. I took advice from an old out-of-print book (yay interlibrary loan) by Susan Sommers titled “French Chic: How to Dress like a Frenchwoman”
This book is the genuine grandmother of all of the more recent style guides and as one blogger commented, if you can get past the 80s photos, the advice is timeless. Susan’s advice is to pick a neutral and stick to it. Thinking that I did not look good in black, I chose Navy Blue. The color was the basis for my professional wardrobe, along with shades of brown, blue and white, for a decade. I added shades of red (not including pink) as an accent but did not include any other hue in my closet.
Making a minimalistic choice of color schemes made it easy to upgrade my wardrobe to a post-grad school look and kept me from buying things just because they were on sale. However, in the past few years, I have added purple, yellow and green (Mardi Gras!) to my wardrobe and really expanded the red. I only started adding black to my wardrobe when I finished my experience as ACE Fellow and needed to buy some additional “non-administrator” clothes for work. I realized that black would be a good way to off-set some of the wearable art that I was designing and picked up some black skirts and slacks.
So, here I am today, about to begin a silk painted scarf in shades of black and grey to explore minimalism and use my challenge to remind myself that I am looking for reality in a sea of brightly colored distractions.
In the spirit of this post, I changed the colorway of my recent pattern to shades of grey.