They say: fashion is about desire as much as clothes and I admit, over the years, with changing intensities, I have been interested in clothing. I find it amazing how attire can change our identity, can playfully allow us to be a different and I like the way impressions can be managed through appearance, though I make not much use of that myself. Being into trends, colours and textures for years, I recognize quality and connect with desirable items. This game is played in accordance with the way I think about myself, which until yesterday I though to be in tune with the real me. However, yesterday I went to an upcycle event and got free colour advice from a professional. You know, a true person-tailored consultation, when a lot of coloured pieces of cloth are interchangeably placed below your face and you can see in a bright big mirror what flatters and what doesn’t. A great experience, you would think! And it was, although it made me think. And it shed light on the relationship I have with myself.
(source: unknown, have had this picture on my computer forever, would love to give credit but no idea to whom)
First of all let me tell you about my experience. Sitting in a comfortable chair my experience begun with watching carefully many coloured fabrics, piled nicely in four different bundles and trying to phantom what I like, what is that I prefer. I chose in my mind the vibrant tint filled magentas, blues, blacks, all the dramatic colours pilled up nicely, shouting for attention. That is what I thought was me, that was what I hoped would fit me like gloves.
As I was staring at the colours the professional asked me a question: do I prefer to wear silver of gold? A no-brainer almost, right? But the answer proved to be both difficult and tricky for me, you see. I never ever liked gold, I felt it too pretentious, too mainstream as from where I come from you would receive gold necklaces for each major birthday, would be passed gold on from your family, maybe you’d get small little earring for something well-deserved, you get the picture, gold was not truly meant to make you feel good or pretty but was made to make you feel and be ‘worth’ more. Gold meant positive evaluations, which for me translated as being likeable. I could, would not choose gold! Silver on the other side was the colour of rebellion, something that you could choose! It was something to be pretty in, with less value and thus involving less stress fro others as silver would be something that you could buy for yourself. I loved it for the way it would get dark from sweat and shiny from soap – it made me feel rebellious and somehow much more me. So naturally, to this question, I also chose: silver, the stuff of dreams, the colour of the moon, the cold hue of metal. That was something that I mostly wore. Turns out, after a carefully repeated test, that silver kills my natural glow, my colours. I am a gold person. And gold suiting me came through as a surprise.
And an even greater surprise was to follow. As we went through the colours one by one I had to realise that neither the delicate spring pastels, nor the strident flower tones did match me, and neither did the cool, wonderful water-like flows of summer. My favourite colours, the vibrants of winter, did not match either! All those pigment rich colours did not suit my complexion, although they seemed to suit my preference and mood. Filled with confusion I had to admit that each one of the toned down, earthy, quiet autumn hues were instead doing wonders, indeed, the warm colours worked for me in unimaginable ways. The browns, subdued green, plum purples, comfortable reds with bits of warm blue made me look present, gave me attention, allowed me to unfold. These were all colours I would easily dismiss! Looking at the earth tones made me feel calm and peaceful, and yet I did not allow myself to like them, to choose them for myself. So why was I so in love with the drama hues, the hard colours, the fighters, the need-to-stand-out-so-hards?
And then I realised: I think of myself as a fighter and mostly am in survival mode. I feel the need to prove it, to make it. Mostly to and for myself, of course, a lonely endeavour of fighting for things, pushing through, trying and failing, standing up and continuing. This is what I do. But this is not who I am, who I truly am. And this is not what I want to do. I actually truly like to blend in, become invisible in my beloved nature, being one with it instead of in the centre of attention. I am a wild, I love the smell of campfires smoke in my hair and long to sleep and wake along the rays of the sun. I can do computers and meetings, but they deplete me, my true refuge is the great outdoors. How could then my true colours be others than the deepest of the moss, the fragrant colours reminding me of the rustle of fallen leaves and the subdued rainbow of the harvest – the abundance and continuous change of nature, the warmth of the sun loosing its fierceness to a sweet embrace? And yet, I needed this session to bring me back to myself, to surrender my fight, to stop and contemplate, to look for once in the mirror and truly see my own self looking back.
They say: fashion is about desire as much as clothes. And I think, this might be true. Yesterday I’ve learned to watch out for the gap between who I think I am and my true, deeper nature and I am truly grateful for the lesson. I know myself now better. And I can wear my colours in pride. Which does not mean that I have to always show, make visible my true nature. I can give in to moods and play, be out of role a bit – however, I fooling myself is now dismissed as an option. Once more, today in a slightly different way I promise to stay true to my deep, true self.
Written by Caro.