Here is a peek into my Spanish holiday wardrobe. Emerging proof that if carefully edited there is now quite a lot of colour to be found in my predominantly all-black wardrobe. I challenged myself to avoid taking black to Spain. Result? Not bad going - only one black sundress was the glaring exception amongst silky floral prints, non-black tees, vests and beachwear. I also managed to pack light for once and my very light and roomy suitcase allowed the acquisition of a few more colourful pieces whilst on holiday.
This season I actually made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to buy anything in black. Long time followers of this blog will know I've got a serious addiction to black. Years of working in offices with strict and sombre dress codes has also contributed to a closet full of mostly grey, navy and black. Photographing outfits for this blog since its inception has been quite telling and in particular seeing everything hanging up in the wardrobe. Post a wardrobe re-order by colour Mr V. has since frequently commented on the wall of black that confronts us in the bedroom - it's pretty dark in there! I do love black and I will always love wearing it but I am also actually someone who loves colour. It just so happens that I have developed a bad habit of reverting to black in cold weather (of which there has been plenty in the UK).
There were also other things that gave me cause to step back and reflect on my increasing dependence on an almost all-black style, a senior colleague at work making negative comments about people who always wear black, turning forty and feeling that there are now times when you've been burning the midnight oil and and black can be more draining than flattering on a tired face. Maybe it's also something to do with this eternal recession and economic gloom that wearing a bit of colour is a last act of defiance of the oppressive mood hanging over us. Plus some of my most colourful summer dresses and tops that fitted me beautifully in my twenties and thirties have become too tight for me and have had to be given away.
I'd also say that following many wonderful bloggers of all ages who are not afraid to experiment with colour has rubbed off and I felt a need for a change, at least over this Spring and Summer. The ban on black has been part of a shift in my approach to dress off late. This past couple of seasons there has been so much colour available in really bright, positive hues and gorgeous prints that I decided I'd better branch out and get some colour in there now while there is still clothing on the rails I like.
My favourite looks have been the floral prints that have been all the rage. As you can pretty much bank on floral prints coming around every Summer, I expect I will get wear out of well chosen pieces for several summers to come. There have been so many great ones to choose from at all price points this season and they have been the main way I have chosen to indulge in colour while off duty.
So how has my challenge gone? Apart from one spectacular failure (well - I wasn't going to let a black leather biker with spiky gold studs at Zara prices be the one that got away), I've done extremely well on sticking to my shopping promise. In terms of dressing, I'm still wearing black but far less so. At work I've been choosing colour over monochrome whenever possible but there have been some pretty terrible cloudy and rainy days when I've caved in. Amongst my colourful work staples this season there has been a pale pink shift dress from Zara in the shade of a strawberry sundae, my bright blue suede shoes, and a very smart shift dress in electric purple with a printed bodice by Preen that never fails to get a compliment when I wear it.
I've also pulled out the white floral print blazer seen hanging on the far left for work, a real gem from Zara's younger Trafaluc range. Yeah, sorry youngsters but why should you have all the fun? Apart from having one of the most gorgeous chintzy prints I'd seen worked into a high street blazer the cotton jersey was so fine and soft it actually converted me over from someone who thought jersey blazers had no place in the office.
Of course this has been one of the worst summers ever in terms of the weather for getting dressed. However come Autumn Winter, if you've been keeping up with the shows at Fashion Week, you'll be aware that pretty soon we'll all be swathed in layers and layers of black, so there will be plenty of opportunity to pull out the black again before too long. Until then I might as well pull out all the stops to work some colour!