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Several years ago I worked in retail. I was a trainer, I traveled teaching staff about the proper way to fold a pair of jeans, the correct way to dress a window, the company’s standard on accessorizing, and later in my retail career I preached about proper bronzer application and where to spritz perfume and how to layer scents for fragrance longevity.
I wore a lot of black during this time. When I worked for the beauty care company, it was required. Notice the people at the makeup counter, Sephora or even your local salon on day spa. Usually they are wearing at least 90% black. The reason is not to make the employees look slim or sophisticated; in fact black shows the least stains and it also disappears. If you are selling great hair or makeup you want to have that be the eye-catcher, not your outfit. I wore black when I sold fashion – it accentuated my accessories and made me look older and more of an authority figure.
When I left retail, my husband and I had a bonfire in our back yard chimenea – seven pairs of black pants, stained with oily foundations, liquid liners and moisturizers up in smoke. It felt so good, so liberating. I promised myself that I would only buy one pair of black pants a season and bring more color into my life, and not just on my eyelids.
Something came with the color switch – a personality switch. No longer was I a tough professional, suddenly I had personality. I laughed more, and I was complimented more. I seemed to gain a warm heart along with warm colored clothing. It is as though people saw me in my black merino v-neck and black trousers and black boots and saw me as tough/mean/unapproachable. Switch to same sweater in blue and pants in tan and I was a nice/warm/open person.
It isn’t that black makes one look slim, it’s that black disappears. You still have those thighs, you still have that chin, you still have that tummy. It’s just that you aren’t memorable. From the back your ass will look the same, be the pants black or brown or gray. So why not make it fun? If you are willing to paint your walls, your toenails and even your lips with cheery colors, why not your body? Doesn’t your body deserve a little color and fun?
The next time you consider picking up yet another black sweater, try it in a different color. Start of slow with a plum or maroon. Maybe try a pair of charcoal trousers in place of a 50th pair of black. You’ll see the difference in how you are perceived. Suddenly you look prettier, slimmer, happier. People will compliment your hair even if you haven’t had a cut in months. You will be asked if you have lost weight, even if you are bloated and PMSing.
The best thing about color is that it reflects your personality or mood. A simple top in a favorite color is far more telling of your spirit than a creatively designed black one. Consider this when you meet his parents for the first time, when you have that interview or when you’re presenting in front of 300 people the proper way to fold jeans. Now that I have conducted presentations, interviews and training outside of a wardrobe of black, I realize that I can command just as much respect in color and look just as sophisticated, stylish and powerful. Now I am powerful, but personable.