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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Resisting Retail Gravity: the Curse of the Black Blouse

I have a problem. I am perpetually tangled up in a push-pull of my effort to add more color to my wardrobe, yet whenever I make it to a store, I inevitably end up buying the same two items: black shirts, black skirts. Seriously, I must have a hundred version of the same outfit, black shirt, gray pants/skirt, black shoes. My co-workers must think I only own three items of clothing.

There is SOME color in my closet (also known as the pile of clothing I pull out of the dryer and haphazardly make into a work-friendly outfit)--I have a purple and black dress, a teal blouse, a couple of jackets, maybe a navy shirt or two that occasionally come out to play. Let me tell you, it is an exciting day in my world when I wear more than two colors at a time. Maybe I'll mix it up, a black shirt with gray pants and a polka-dot scarf in red and gray--SWEET HEAVENS ABOVE, the avant-garde fashion explorer I used to be has long been subsumed by my corporate conformist self.

As I see it, I am trapped by the cruel pull of retail gravity to always, always end up in an anonymous fitting room with an armful of black blouses. I do try to look for alternate colors on my admittedly infrequent shopping trips. I just am not a big patterns girl, I'll go for a lovely polka dot, Swiss dot, or a stripe provided it's a color on a black field.

One very lovely blouse in my closet is probably the best possible color combination for my wardrobe, a Finley button-up blouse with pleats at the waist, doubled cuffs and collar with black and maroon jacquard lining, all in a an alternating stripe pattern of black, navy, and maroon. PERFECT, right? I can wear it with gray, black, navy, or maroon. Why don't I wear it more often? I HAVE NO IDEA. It lives on a hanger in my closet and it always seems just a smidge too short, or the sleeves are too hot for the weather. That shirt just cannot win in the fashion battle that happens five days a week, at eight o'clock every morning.

Short of gutting my fading black wardrobe of its colorlessness and ransacking every store in a fifty-mile radius for shirts in every tacky color of the rainbow to prove a point to myself, what can I do to resist the siren call of the black shirt-gray skirt pattern? Maybe I don't LIKE anything other than that outfit. I'm not afraid of color, I have a specific sort of style and quality of fashion that I try to cultivate when I do shop, it's just frustrating to go into my closet and come up with the same thing, over and over again. Perhaps I can find a solution in the form of dresses this summer.

So, mystery as yet unresolved, do you have an old stand-by fashion favorite that has taken over your life? Last year, it was all opaque tights and black A-line skirts for us--the cycle continues!!

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