Sunday, April 22, 2012

Simple Clothes - Colors

"Do you have anything black?"

Silly question. Of course I have things in black. I have a whole wardrobe in black. Black is my main color. My other colors are white, gray, red (and variations including burgundy & pink), and turquoise / aqua.

This makes getting dressed really easy. Everything goes with everything. There is very little pattern to worry about. I just have to figure out what the weather is and what my activities will be for the day. I pick out the black trousers (or possibly a skirt) for the day depending on the conditions. Then I add the primary shirt and finally the over shirt. Done.

In the cold weather my primary shirt is often a cotton turtleneck, and my secondary shirt is a vest of some kind, often fleece. In the warm weather my primary shirt is a short sleeve or sleeveless knit shirt, and the secondary shirt is a long sleeved lightweight shirt or maybe a little shrug or bolero. As long as my clothes are appropriate for the daily occasions and weather, I can select just about anything in the closet in any combination. Packing for travel is equally simple.

I wasn't always a black-clothed person. This only happened a few years ago, way into my 50's. Before that I actively resisted having any black clothes at all. I would wear anything BUT black.

I have two shirts I care about that are the results of this folly. In both cases I had the choice of the black version and the other color. In each case I picked the other color even though I knew darn well that the black one was clearly the best one. This happened when I bought a souvenir tee shirt on a trip to Calgary, and most importantly when I bought a sweat shirt at Sears a couple of days after my dad died when Mom and I went shopping just to comfort ourselves, to do something normal that we always enjoyed together. I found this adorable design that said "Home is where the cat is." I wanted the black one. I bought the blue one. I still have the shirt and won't get rid of it anytime soon. But I wish it were black.

I changed over to the dark side after I started going to the zen center. At first I had to wear dark colored things - navy blue, brown, burgundy, dark purple. That was ok. Nobody said anything.

But as I got more serious about practice, I gave in to black. Black trousers go with everything, right? How practical. How about a tee shirt? Good idea. That little black dress that everyone needs, of course.

And that was that. As I sorted through the clothes every season's end, the brown's and navy's and purples gradually went to the Goodwill. I hadn't worn those colors all season. Instead I was always wearing my new black clothes. I'm still wearing my black clothes all the time with a few other colors for the tops, to mix it up a bit. (Even Zen monks wear an under kimono of a different color.) Black, white, gray, red and turquoise - my simple colors.

Now I dress like I had always lived in New York City. Black is my main color, probably for a long, long time. It's so darn simple.

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