In Defense of Colour

I need to wear more colour.

This rather simple insight occurred to me a few days ago when I was strolling through town with Scoundrel and was taken by the colour combination of a couple of shawls hanging outside one of the small shops in the Upper Town.
“Oh, I love these colours together”, I cooed and went to try out different combinations, “I think I should wear more green again.”
After which Scoundrel looked at me, deadpan, and said, “You should wear more colour that’s not a shade of pastel brown, period.”

He’s right. During the last year I’ve mostly worn fifty shades of mud (and not very flattering shapes, too). There ist nothing wrong with wearing muddy colours, don’t get me wrong. It feels comfy and safe. It just doesn’t feel exactly good.

Muddy colours and grey make me invisible. Being invisible is great: Nobody will talk to you, nobody will ever want anything from you, and nobody will look at you. On the other hand it’s exactly those things that make being invisible awful. I catch myself thinking that I’d really like to be told that I look good today once in a while by someone who isn’t my significant other. I sit at the side of gatherings, not talking, feeling somewhat left out. And I don’t even see myself in the mirror because I’m blending into the background too well, at least that’s what it feels like.

Wearing non-colours has been engrained deeply into my style during the last ten, fifteen years. First I liked  outdoorsy colours, tomboyish and practical. Then I ventured into the metalhead subculture, afterwards a little bit more gothy, but still black, and now it’s Mori Kei and Strega which aren’t exactly known for colourful fitpics all over the insponet. I had a phase where I lightened my black with dark, subdued red and green, but that didn’t last so very long.
It seems the (mostly subconscious) disdain for colour in these subcultures as well als nerd culture (which intersects with the aforementioned anyway) stems from the same disdain and distance members practise for extroverts. Extroverts are generally simplified as loud, dumb and shallow while introverts are put on a pedestal als deep, intelligent, shy people.
Now, I’m not exactly outgoing myself (I’m still learning not to hide from people on walks) but I find these stereotypes grossly unjust. I know more than one outgoing person who is no less intelligent and interesting in discussions and deep in their thinking than introverts, and I know introverts whom I can only describe as not very bright and terribly dull.

Why do we have to dismiss everything that is not glum and quiet and unsaturated as unworthy of our attention (or simply put, uncool)? Why do we think it makes things better if we can’t even see ourselves anymore because we wear some sort of camouflage?

Here is my defense of colour:

Beiges don’t make me happy. Beiges are safe, but they don’t spark joy.
Goldenrod yellow sparks joy through its name alone, as do Rust and Rose Pink. Saffron is a word that evokes pictures of precious spices and explosions of colour. Seaweed, Naples Yellow, Indian Red, Rose Matter, Robin’s Egg Blue, Moss Green. Listen to that. Let them melt on your tongue and behind your eyes. They don’t want to hurt you, on the contrary, they want to give something to you, support you.
Wear regal deep purples to feel like ancient royalty, wear greyish blues with specks of white and green to be a storm, to feel like the foam on top of breaking waves. Wear mossy greens and golden yellows to feel as warm as flecks of sunlight on warm, soft woodland soil. Light up that black with the red of deep, heavy wines, and the glint of old, darkened gold, add depth to your browns and beiges with the brunished amber of fallen leaves. Don’t be afraid of colour, even though it is an extrovert.

Make it your friend.

– – – – –

All palettes made with the Colourlovers palette tool: Old-Fashioned Candy | Galatea | Dolly Kei Palette | Badass Mucha Dawn


3 thoughts on “In Defense of Colour

  1. This is beautiful. Personally I’m an introvert who loves colour. It makes me very happy, and as I like to use lots of colour in my creative work, it just makes sense to me to adorn myself with it too. I do have days where I wear all black, because I am also drawn to that, but there is always my hair to add colour-it’s currently bright red and aubergine. It can be a bit difficult if I’m out sometimes, because people like to ask questions about my hair or comment on things I’m wearing. Most of the interactions have been positive though, and I’ve learned to just wear a hat and put some headphones on if I don’t feel like discussing my appearance that day. A couple of years ago I went to a Kaffe Fassett [textile designer who uses a lot of colour] exhibition wearing different shades of blue all over, and a piece of his fabric as a headband, and all the stewards loved it. It made me happy to see how happy my outfit made them!

  2. Ich wünsche dir so viel Freude dabei, mehr Farbe in deinen Kleiderschrank zu lassen!
    Bei mir wird es ja seit ein oder zwei Jahren wieder konstant grauer und schwärzer und ja, das erfüllt nicht zuletzt die Funktionen, die du auch für Beigetöne nennst: Es gibt mir ein Gefühl von Sicherheit. Und wahrscheinlich verschwimmt man auch in schwarz recht gut mit der Umgebung.
    Zwischendurch hatte ich ja eine längere Affäre mit Herbstfarben und sah darin auch recht gut aus (fand ich), aber auf Dauer war das einfach nicht das richtige für mich.
    Ich schaue mir auch gerne Leute in bunt an – und ich bin mir sicher, dass auch du bezaubernd aussehen wirst, weil du die Farben sicherlich wundervoll aufeinander abstimmen wirst – aber ich sehe mich nicht darin. Und am Ende ist es wohl das, worauf es ankommt: Dass man sich wohlfühlt in dem, was man trägt. Also los! Finde Kleidung, in der du dich gut fühlst, in der du die Rückmeldung von Menschen – auch von dir selbst! – bekommst, die du dir wünschst. Sei bunt und großartig!

    Liebe Grüße,

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