It feels bizarre to walk around New York City dressed head-to-toe in one color with matching makeup. It is not my normal style. Walking around, as loud and colorful as I have been, I have started to take notice of two things: how people react and what they are wearing when they do.
It is so easy to judge something that is out of the norm. It is much harder to appreciate it, especially when you are in a social setting where you do not know how your peers will react. I have always heard the fashion stereotype of New Yorkers wearing mostly neutrals, but it wasn’t until I was walking around as a vision of color that I noticed. They do tend to wear more neutrals.
Neutrals are easy. You have to think less when you wear them because adding color complicates an outfit. There is the color philosophy to think about. How will wearing this color make the people around me feel? Does it reflect how I am feeling? Also, there is a complexity in understanding which colors and which shades of those colors look good on you. To avoid wearing a “bad” color for you, people stick to neutrals. It is very hard to mess up a neutral. Although I have seen that, too.
I want to make it clear, easy isn’t bad. I love fashion. I love styling outfits and creating looks and different vibes. I understand that is not everyone’s cup of tea. I am impressed when people try new colors or silhouettes in their outfits. I am impressed when people take the time to layer. It may seem like the opposite of my positive reaction could be a negative one, but honestly, it is indifference. I do not care what you wear, but I do care what you wear when you are judging what I wear.
Wearing red is empowering. If you see someone strutting the streets in red, they have confidence. Instantly all eyes were drawn to me. I felt slightly like a celebrity. I can only imagine how much more intense it would have been if I wasn’t wearing a mask and people could see my matching red lips.
For the most part, wearing red produced a reaction of shock. You could see them thinking “Who is that girl? The audacity”. I can also see why red is seen as a sexy color. It draws attention. In my case, it was unintentional.
This skirt that I was rocking was my great Aunt’s and I wanted to make her proud. I searched the stores to find a red top that went with this bright red with a tint of orange skirt. Finally, at Zara, I found the perfect shirt. Since we are still in a pandemic, you cannot try on the clothes in the store. I prayed that the colors would match and this style would fit me. I have never won the lottery, but I think the feeling I had when the top matched AND fit was about the same.
Speaking of feeling lucky while shopping, I struggled with orange. For those of you who follow my Instagram, you might have seen the video I posted asking for help. I bought an orange t-shirt, which was lame on its own, and wanted to find some cool printed pants to go with it. Apparently, those were all sold out or nonexistent.
I decided to try goodwill and I was so happy I did. This entire outfit was at one location! I love that they separate their clothing by color, especially for this challenge. I would never have bought this look without my NYC color challenge. I felt so lucky to find a cute orange outfit, in my size, inexpensively, right as I was giving up on finding an orange outfit.
For this picture, I had my eyes set on the inside of the Christopher Street subway station. The tiles are orange, so I thought it was the best that I could do. As we were walking to the station, we stumbled upon an orange wall. I feel like this is not a story you can make up. Apparently, I do not absorb locations of colored walls into my memory. We never made it to the subway station, but I am glad because that image would have read white and this one definitely reads orange.
While luck seemed to be on my side, orange is still not for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love orange. It is a beautiful color but combined with my skin tone, it works against me. Yes, there are some shades that look better than others, but overall, I can do better. I have been noticing a lot more people wearing orange since I started this challenge. I think I will wear these pieces again, maybe not together, but definitely not with orange makeup to match.
This color challenge has made me take notice of the colors that people feel comfortable wearing. Also, it has me noticing which retailers carry an array of colors and which only stand for one at a time. Be sure to come back to read parts two and three! The NYC color challenge continues…
Challenge: Take time to plan something out. While this color challenge has been difficult, it is also really rewarding to see my hard work come to life.