Recently I stumbled across this blog by Portland based designer Gretchen Jones, in which she explores her relationship with colour by trying to dress within the restrictions of a neutral palette for a whole year. The Neutral Territory tracks her progress (and excellent sartorial style), as she eliminates a different colour from her wardrobe every month, as well as exploring the very definition of the term 'neutral'. Her blog made me peruse my own wardrobe and ponder if I could ever do such a thing myself. I know the restriction of colour and the deprivation that entails is the whole point of the project, but I was still shocked at how little I would be left with from my rather large wardrobe. It made me think about my relationship with colour, and how important it is to me and my idea of style. I decided to make a note of my use of colour and print during a normal week, and the results were impossible to deny - I wear a lot of colour, and I have a print addiction.
I don't know what is at the root of my relationship with colour. Obviously I use clothes, and thus colour and print, as a way of expressing myself. Bold colours, or an overly thought out outfit can be both a sign that I'm in a great mood, or the opposite, and I'm trying to give myself a boost to lift my spirits. I wasn't always this way. As an angst-ridden teen I would hide behind my hair and kohl eyeliner and well, let's just say I wore a lot of corduroy flares. But then I discovered 1960's vintage, and the bold Pucci prints and psychedelia reeled me in and I never looked back. And now I'm a homeowner, my love of colour isn't just limited to my wardrobe, it's all over my house. While my walls are awash with colour, I love using a bold print for curtains or a throw to tie a room together.
So while I'm enjoying Gretchen Jones' experiment, and I totally admire her commitment to experimentation when it comes to fashion (and her designs), I just don't think I could do it. Self-expression through colour is just too entwined with my perception of myself. It'd be like cutting off my left leg. And when something brings you pleasure, but not pressure, I say go with it, and enjoy it.