Why blue is my new black
Every now and again, I unexpectedly catch sight of myself in a full-length mirror (think hotel bathrooms, for instance) and balk. It’s rather like looking at an old map: nothing is quite how I remembered it and some regions are definitely further south. Which is only to be expected, of course, and one has to be grateful for Mother Nature’s foresight in arranging the onslaught of middle-age spread to coincide with memory loss and thereby a little extra exercise as I trudge up and down the stairs to retrieve whatever it was I forgot to bring up or down last time.
But it screws with your self-esteem. And middle age also brings with it another dilemma – the old chestnut of what the heck should I wear? The easy answer is whatever I damn well please. And I’d subscribe to that, if I thought I could get away with it. Popping to the shop in PJs, however, is all very well when you’re twenty, but… nope. I shall leave all that to my teenage daughters. Let’s try again.
What I want to wear, what I really, really want to wear, are clothes that are soft, flattering and comfortable. I’m done with tottering along on heals that pinch my toes, jeans that demand lying down to zip up, and freezing in fabrics too cold for the season. But in addition to all this, I’m done with constantly and almost exclusively wearing black.
Now I love black. All shades of black. From underwear to outerwear. I feel comfortable in black. It’s classic and classy (and yes, in my book there is a difference) and can be worn to pretty much any occasion bar weddings. It’s practical and forgiving in terms of fashion trends. It’s smart and safe.
So what changed? I did, when I slipped on a navy sweater I couldn’t find in black to check the size before I asked the store to localise a black one. It looked ok. No, it looked more than ok, it looked better. It gave my now older, darker skin a different glow, made my hands look younger at the wrist and generally did me more favours than black has done for a long time. Only I was blind and shopping by rote. I bought the sweater.
And then started to experiment with different blue hues. Lavender and midnight blue. The former flattered my tan. The latter picked up my eye colour and detracted from the laughter lines. I invested in a blue watch and dug out my sapphire earrings. Turned the stores upside down until I found blue booties to team with my new blue jeans. Next up, a raspberry-coloured t-shirt and leopard pants (don’t judge!). It’s all very new and great fun. I still do wear black, obviously. Just not exclusively, and I’m having a revamped ball.
So if you are like I was, a committed black junkie and playing it unwittingly safe, give blue a go. And then if you like it, go out and paint the town red.
Or lavender. Or purple.
You may be as surprised as I was.