Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Colorful times

As one whose 4th grade idea of joy was a set of 64 Crayolas to open and have all for my own this fashion moment of neon colors and color block clothing closely parallels the experience.

The paper-wrapped Crayolas, with their sharp tips for bold strokes of color, tantalized with their expanded color range.

I would take them out of the box one by one just to read off each color and absorb the mystique its name evoked. I repeated the names, so much more interesting than just red or blue or green or yellow, as I recklessly blazed trails into new color land.

The collection encouraged me artistically and indulged my sense of playfulness, which an appreciation for color can engender.

Crayola art was as unlimited as one's imagination. If instructed by the teacher to color a picture I filled the page industriously. It was deeply and richly crayoned for handing in.

My Crayola school days are long in the past but the vivid wardrobe they seem to have portended has been growing and evolving through the years.

We who are color hounds instinctively reach for a punch of color to warm us up. For us color is the wow factor. It's what we gravitate toward to make us look and feel good.

As classic as muted and natural tones are (think camel and winter white), and as quintessential as black is, and also helpful to the clothing budget by being suitable for almost every situation, some of us prefer to opt for color whatever the occasion.

While clothing designers, stylists and fashion bloggers dictate, direct or sum up the fashion looks through the seasons (a/w and s/s/ in fashion parlance and don't forget cruise) my radar stays pretty consistently on the pieces I know for sure will make me happy.

Some of these items, truth be told, are bright enough they can be found in my closet without the light turned on.

I look at it like this. Each of us responds to color according to our own perspective. House exteriors, interior wall colors or home accessories are all ways we take a stand on color. Some of us like to be surrounded and drenched in vivid hues. Others find comfort in the quiet, more earth-based and natural colors.

What we choose to put around us is who we are. We can tell this by how we respond to a given room or certain well appointed furnishings. For color-sensitive types this holds true especially in what we like to wear.

Let me tell you about a friend. She'll remain forever anonymous because vivid colors, the shades I turn to as an oasis in a desert, are anathema to her.

She favors mossy greens and woodsy browns for her outfits. When I suggest an injection of - let's say - red she smiles politely. A gift of a spring green wool scarf actually caught her with her guard down. She took to its perkier shade of green.

Spring green scarf aside, she makes me (beside her as we walk along) look like one dressed for a circus in my exuberant pieces.Then she gets into her loud-colored car and makes a blindingly bright exit.

"Go figure" I say as I slide behind the wheel of our ho-hum gray car. We have a tendency to go gray when we buy cars. Gray is a neutral color which wears well on the road.

Gray colors don't look very interesting at the speed traps we've learned. We're yawned over as we sedately go by. And I would say that's a good thing.

As I swing into the traffic, turn lights blinking as I merge with the medley of vehicular colors, my black car coat gives me away as a suburban sort of gal intent on errands.

Underneath, however, sends a different message. An outfit of purple t-shirt, flame-colored pullover and dark blue denims says here's one who mixes purpose with poetry.

Color will always have a place for one whose fashion education is gained through Crayolas.

Ro Giencke - December 21. 2011

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