I have long believed that the era during which a woman first develops her sense of style will—to varying degrees, and for better or worse (usually both)—always affect how she looks at clothes and thinks about getting dressed. That period for me was the 80s, and as a result there are certain conventions of that period—shoulder pads, oversized blazers, high-waisted jeans—whose return to the retail horizon has repelled and confused me. In reality, a high-waisted jean would probably do me some favors right about now, but unfortunately, I can’t see my way to it. Oversized blazers I feel unequivocally good about having remain in my sartorial past. But there is one trend that I have not stepped away from: black is my default color. So uncool, but my reality nevertheless.
Not with everything: I adore a great print on a dress or a top—and in fact, my number one current fixation is this filmy Rag & Bone Ikat blouse (which is, no surprise, safely anchored in plenty of black). But when it comes to a coat or jacket, or any pair of pants that isn’t denim, even navy feels like a victory.
Sweaters have remained a struggle. During my morning walk today, when the dog pulled me toward the entrance of the Vince store on Washington Street (he never forgets where he got a treat) I decided to go ahead and have a look around. Nobody makes a better classic-but-with-a-little-extra-going-on cashmere sweater than Vince, and my winter uniform is largely made up of cashmere sweaters and tees. Because I do look nice in a jewel tone, I tried on this super-soft, perfectly mid-weight double V-neck in a lovely crimson. But it wasn’t right somehow. On me, this sweater wanted to be black. And, in fact, the black looked about 20 times better on me. So here is what I’ve decided: maybe we beat ourselves up over our perceived wardrobe ruts when in fact they’re not ruts at all, but comfort zones. And you never look better than when you feel comfortable and yourself. So what’s the problem?
Whether or not this is entirely true I can’t say. But it is my new story, and—because I did indeed buy that sweater in the black—I am sticking to it.