Hepburn wore it. So did Cash. AC/DC sang about it. And every girl knows she can always rely on her LBD to save the day. You find it on the backs of rebels with and without causes, classy ladies, and rockstars. And me.
My closet used to be filled with colour. At first, when I started making my own outfits, I went nuts. Admittedly I had a lot of hand-me-downs to work with so my palate was limited, but still. Green ski-bib overalls with a black midriff tee that had a rainbow heart smack on the centre? JNCO’s? That was also the year I cut my hair short and put it into tiny twists. Looked like the lost member of Kriss Kross. I blame the 90’s.
Then, college. I shaped up a bit, found a sense of style and stocked my closet with colour. Patterns and prints floated out on textured wings; tropical birds on bright coral backgrounds, stripes and solids intermingled with confidence and finesse. Then, somewhere along the way, came the black. I began to feel vulnerable in colour. Exposed. So black became my battle armour. My wardrobe began to fill with sleek ebony and cool charcoals. Cosy, comfortable knits. Sexy sequins and powerful all-black prints. Swathed in layers of textured black I am safe. Black keeps me shielded, protected from the world.
Black makes me happy and supports me in a way that colour does not. In black I don’t have to expose myself to the world’s censure and judgement. I don’t have to risk vulnerability. Black allows me to choose when I go unnoticed and when I want to be seen. But being safe for so long has meant that I’ve stopped taking risks – fashion or otherwise. I eschew change. The fashion-challenged 90’s girl became a woman, though she is still inside her dark cocoon.
But change does come. And the cocoon won’t hold me forever. Black has served its purpose. And so, I’ve slowly embraced new additions to my wardrobe. Additions that reflect new attitudes and changes. One tiny fashion risk. Just for me. I feel a bit braver. Bolder.
And all it took was a Little White Tee.