Thursday, November 12, 2009
Beyond the LBD
Coco Chanel can easily be named one of the most influential women among fashion. She made fashionable the menswear look for women, suntans and the ubiquitous LBD*. But I'm here to tell you, ladies, that what was popular 100 years ago does not necessarily constitute a contemporary look that suits everyone. And it looks like I'm not alone in my thinking.
I have been passionate about color since I was a child. Wearing color has always brought me such joy, except during a few brief years in college when black became my uniform. Since then I relish the opportunity to step out in a bold and exciting hue and love the way it helps me to stand out from the crowd.
If there's one battle I'm constantly fighting with my clients is to get them to ditch the black and wear the colors that bring out their true selves. See, many of us like to use black as a security blanket of sorts and don't easily let go a color that, truth be told, can bring out the worst in us. Black is the absence of color, and when worn around the face or against pale legs can cast an unflattering pallor. It enhances not our eyes, but our wrinkles; not our creamy complexion but the dark circles under our eyes. It is not our friend. Black ages us before our time. Black can suck the life out of us before we're ready. But don't get me wrong, sometimes it's ok to wear black. Sometimes. And with intention.
When is it ok to wear black? Here are a few recommended ways for keeping a few black pieces still in rotation in your closet:
If you have pale skin/hair, black is not your best color. Sorry.
If you have dark coloring (dark hair and/or dark skin) then you're going to look better in black than your pale friends. But don't gloat. They won't like that. Just smile and ask them if you can borrow their brand new black cocktail dress. Bat your lashes if you have to.
Wear your LBD with a cardigan or jacket in one of your best brights. Your eyecolor or a pretty metallic would make sophisticated statement as well.
Wear something around your face in your eyecolor - a sapphire necklace would surely pick up your sparkling blue peepers, citrine would bring out your hazel eyes or emeralds would make your green eyes really pop. A scarf can do the same trick.
Wear black on your bottom half with a bright top. It'll make you look slimmer and won't be near your face.
If you have pale legs and want to wear black shoes, use a self tanner. Otherwise, the look will be harsh.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not out to educate the world on wearing bold, bright, juicy colors in place of flat and drab black...oh, wait, yes I am! Wear color and wear it with intention. When you set out for holiday parties this season you'll be so excited to walk into a sea of little black dresses knowing that you look so individual and so fabulous in a dress of a gorgeous amethyst, blue or teal. All eyes will be on you because you look so amazing! So if you can't muster the courage to throw out all your black, at least bring a few brights to the forefront and make a promise to yourself to wear them. They'll help you bring out your very best.
*LBD = little black dress