Get Some Color

Winter is coming and I'm feeling compelled to dress like a bowl of Lucky Charms.

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My adopting Manhattan’s black and navy uniform was a quick and painless process. It was also considerably cheaper once I realized all I would need for the rest of my life was one great pair of black jeans, one pair of leather pants, a few tees and about five variations on the same navy crew neck sweaters.

The uniform sort of created itself from there: one pair of black boots, one pair of dark purple loafers. Black pumps, black ballet flats. A navy coat, a black scarf. The only splashes of bright came in the form of white oxford shirts and the occasional brush of lipstick — but that had to be on a really crazy day.

I remember returning home to California one December and getting continuously asked, “Where’s the funeral?” I don’t know, buttcramp, where’s your original joke?

But the thing is, I wore this midnight color scheme with pride. It set me apart when visiting other cities that didn’t venerate an inky wardrobe. “You must be from New York,” people would comment. “No other city wears that much black at once.” I had already realized this fact and loved it. I was becoming a snob about it. I’d roll my eyes at people who wore “fun colors” during the the winter: cranberry-hued jackets? Emerald corduroys? Violet knits? The concept just seemed so overtly quaint, like a holiday-themed brooch or yellow galoshes on a rainy day.

But monochrome midnight eventually lost its novelty. I felt like a cartoon character stuck in singular-outfit purgatory — should I wear the dark shirt, or the dark shirt? –and getting dressed started to become so easy that it stopped being being fun. Singing the everygirl’s tune “I have nothing to wear” before a stable of navy sweaters just didn’t have the same dramatic, hyperbolic ring that it used to when lamenting the identical sentence to a saturated wardrobe of colorful options.

At least then I was being ridiculous. Now, it was just kind of true.

But when the Fall 2013 collections happened in February it broke my colorblind spell. Color was everywhere and I drank it in. Hot pink and yellow at Dries Van Noten! I saw green at Marc Jacobs and cobalt at Reed Krakoff! Jil Sander had punchy poppies and at Narciso, amethyst. Nothing made a statement quite like the coats (cinnamon red at Dolce, dusty blue at Carven), except for, perhaps, the surprise of Pepto wools and checked tartan.

It wasn’t that I needed a slew of runway shows to tell me it was “okay” to re-introduce color. What I did need, however, was new inspiration — something to lust after and crave, even if it was just an entry-level purchase of one very loud scarf. But that scarf became a gateway to a small palette of variety; soon I owned a Bordeaux sweater and a cerulean skirt. It’s a start!

I’m no longer afraid of a pink coat, and since white’s back on the table post-August I plan on basing a whole cold-weather wardrobe around it. (Yes, I know white is “technically a lack of color” but honestly, wouldn’t that make the pants I’m wearing now “clear”? Exactly.) Maybe I’ll aim to wear one colorful thing a day…or a week…if for no other reason than to be identifiable on Google Maps as the little red dot walking around Manhattan in a wintry sea of New York City black.

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Thoughts?
  • r.r. montgomery

    ..and THAT is the beauty of black (or gray for that matter), it goes with absolutely everything.

  • Devin

    Black, black, and black. Something I learned over seas in Europe. It’s sexy, professional, and slimming. Not many girls wear this outfit combo well here at BYU Idaho in good ‘ol Rexburg, but when I see it I think, “that looks good.” Even if it’s only myself as the only one in black. Splashes of color seem to seap into my wardrobe, but at the moment I’m stuck on black. Love the post though.

  • http://www.virtualmutt.com/ Virtual Mutt

    It’s difficult to shake the beauty of all black everything. It’s simple and easy, but I think the fun is found in the layering or how to indirectly explain to people how this black shirt differs from this black shirt, even if it’s only a double top stitched seam on center front compared to a staple acne tee. I will admit though, all these fabulous colors are tempting. Anyone would be silly not to indulge, even if just a little.

  • Laura

    At the risk of being “that commenter”, if you think about how the colors we see are actually a reflection of the visible light spectrum off an object, white is ALL OF THE COLORS because something which is white reflects all wavelengths of light back at you. While black is the complete absence of color.

    • Char

      Going to one up you on being THAT nerd. :P When it comes to art colour theory (as opposed to light) black and white are both theoretics that don’t really exist in a pure form for use. The colours we call “black” and “white” are either very light or very dark tints/shades of some other colour. This is why you can have two items that are both “black” but clearly not the same colour.

      • Amelia Diamond

        You two just blew my mind. SO WHAT COLOR ARE MY PANTS?!

        • Char

          lol. I would guess a very pale blue, yellow or grey.

  • Selena Aponte

    As a New Yorker, I enjoy seeing and have even had moments of weakness with regards to obtaining some color into my wardrobe. Problem is, these pieces usually end up either in the back of the closet (for fear of getting it “dirty’ on the train, bus, etc.) or sold on eBay. I’ve surrendured to my mainly monochromatic uniform, it’s comfortable and easy. And yes, I’m a snob about it as well.

  • Char

    One of the things I’ve never really understood about the black obsession is this idea that everyone looks good in black. Not only do I NOT look good, I resemble a bloodless corpse. So I own a lot of jewel tones and probably get scoffed at. :)

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I have bought the Ganni tartan coat, which is very similar to the Stella McCartney and very colourful, and I love it!

    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    Love me some colors – especially if they are just left alone … grass green, hot pink, very red, royal blue and purple are my favorites … well, at least I hoard them a bit, just to feel better when opening the door to my wardrobe. I am also going to wear my hot pink top tonight … yeah, with grey trousers, black shoes and a black cardigan, what else :-)

  • Maral Halliyeva

    I love your writing! I’m still afraid of the pink coat, so at the moment I’m experimenting with a less frightening pink jumper. Its a start!

    http://northerlybreeze.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Amelia Diamond

      Pic please!

      • Maral Halliyeva

        There you go! I’ve been struggling to style this pastel pink jumper from Zara, and in the end decided that green and cherry are the colours to go with it.

  • Joan Born

    I feel like I will always have a solid wardrobe of blacks and grays, it makes it so much easier to toss on a pop of something colorful. All my accessories are bright and vibrant, they tend to jump out against the black canvas of my wardrobe classics and I love it!

  • http://www.lezu.com/ L’ezu

    LOVE those coats! Ana Louisa Reimann is a genius! http://www.lezu.com

  • http://www.thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com/ Tami Von Zalez

    I am in LOVE with color – maybe because my hair is so “colorless” AND I want to be noticed! Mono neutrals turn me into a wallflower …

  • marie a

    I can really appreciate colour and so end up having a lot of it in my wardrobe- but it always proves to be a huge waste of money. It turns out that no colourful item, no matter how cute, is going to beat out my black, grey, navy uniform the moment I’m standing in front of my closet choosing what to wear for the day. These new colourful pieces I buy every single year in denial end up sitting unworn until I can finally admit defeat – I was never going to wear this – and take another trip to the thrift store.

  • LexoRexo

    As someone who has the fifty shades of black thing down (people notice when I wear color but not that I am in head to toe black), I COVET all of Kerry Washington’s white wardrobe in Scandal!

    Amelia! Slideshow! :) I dont know how anyone can be expected to rock white cashmere and white wool coats when we are plebes who take the subway. She also rocks a lot of very very light grey.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Slideshow is all Charlotte she’s a photo research wizard. I wear white often (and I take the subway!!) and really it doesn’t get AS dirty as one would think. That or my threshold for that which is dirty is a lot higher than normal. Which probably isn’t a good thing.

      • LexoRexo

        Ha. Fair point! I eye mine suspiciously after a few wears and I swear they never look pristine again.

        Also, less work for everyone at MR- The girls over at GFY do this weekly so no one else has to!: http://gofugyourself.com/tag/scandal

  • http://fashmongers.wordpress.com/ fashmongers
  • Lula

    Fantastic color inspiration

  • Elisa Taviti

    Wonderful!!

    Elisa – My Fantabulous World

  • emilyannestyle

    Still LOLing at the clear pants logic. This fall/winter I embraced the rainbow by purchasing a big-bird yellow boiled wool jacket. And I love.

    xo
    Emily
    emilyannestyle.com

  • Lindsey Cook

    Personally I love wearing bright colors when its cold and dreary outside – it keeps me in a sunny disposition no matter the weather!

  • stylentonic Constantinos

    Color madness! Oh yes, I love it!

    http://www.stylentonic.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/VoiceUpSlovenia swissinslovenia

    I’m also one of those who just doesn’t look right in all black/dark- one black or grey piece per outfit is perfectly enough for me…

    I do, however, acknowledge that some people look amaaaaaazing in all black!

  • Terra Jacobson

    ok black jeans will save your life. Its all i wear now. They go with EVERYTHING. Done and done.

  • Amelie

    I LOVE colors- especially neon, unfortunately.

    The Neon Guava

    http://theneonguava.wordpress.com

  • Katie Rose Arnold

    AMELIA FREAKIN’ DIAMOND. How happy it makes my heart to see you contributing to this blog. I remember bonding with you over our California roots in days of yore (early 2011) when I interned at PR Consulting. I’m back in CA, working as a personal stylist. Keep up the good work, and keep on climing that proverbial fashion ladder, girlfriend. xoxo

  • http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com/ Newborn Fanatic

    I can’t get powder blue coats out of my head!

    http://newbornfanatic.wordpress.com

  • http://thoughtsofglam.com/ ThoughtsofGlam

    It’s so easy to get caught up in the neutral routine. I have so many bright fun pieces that are different textures, prints, materials and pair them with the neutrals when I style my outfit to keep it interesting. If all else fails and I find I’m head to toe in neutrals I grab my bright fuchsia Kate Spade bag.

    Thoughtsofglam.com