Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wear Colour!

If you visit my blog you won't find one self-portrait. I've grown fond of my Elusive Laurie persona. In fact, the one time I was recognized as Elusive Onions' author I was completely unnerved. There is safety in being an enigma. As much as I find comfort in my anonymity, Meghan's engagement announcement has inspired me to share a picture of myself on my wedding day ten years ago.

Aren't I a lovely bride in my flowing white gown?


Right from the start I knew I wanted to be married in a red dress. This proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated. There isn't a local bridal shop, and I didn't know a good seamstress at the time. Ready-made red dresses were in short supply that spring. 

In a panic I tried on a couple of traditional-ish, whitish dresses. They only strengthened my resolve to find my red dress. No one wants to see (or be!) a puffy, pasty bride. That's how I felt in each conventional bride's dress I tried.

I'd heard other brides talk about the moment when they found "the dress". They made it sound as though they had discovered the Holy Grail. I thought they were nuts. That was before I found my dress. From the moment it was fastened I knew it was "the one". I had joined the ranks of nutty brides-to-be, but I didn't care. 

Hubby and I traveled back to Ontario to celebrate our marriage with family and friends. The ceremony took place on the campus where we met. (An added bonus of choosing this dress: I found it in a shop that specializes in travel/cruise wear. I was able to toss the dress into my backpack for the trip. It didn't leave my sight for the entire flight, and on arrival all I had to do was shake it out, hang it up, and I was ready to go.)

On our return to Vancouver Island I landed my first job in my new, post-teaching career. It may be a coincidence, but from that point on my wardrobe became duller and duller. I gradually went from the bride in the flame-red dress to a woman whose work wardrobe consisted of black, navy and grey. I didn't even realize that there had been a change until I saw Meghan's post and the accompanying video about wearing colour.  I admit I got a bit weepy. Meghan and Jessi touched on an ache I didn't even know I had. 

I was determined to take action. A few days later I hit the Value Village for the first time and came home with a bag full of COLOUR

Four pieces for less than $30! Woo hoo!

My new acquisitions prompted some serious wardrobe experimentation. While experimenting I discovered:
  • I had much more colour in my wardrobe than I realized. I had just stopped wearing it. 
  • My curves can still rock a bright sweater, given the right bra, of course.
  • Already-owned pieces could be combined to create new, colourful outfits. 
  • It's fun to have a fashion show for yourself.
  • I was excited to be adding colour back into my outfits!
Eventually the excitement led to nervousness. A private fashion show for myself was one thing. Taking the show on the road was more nerve-wracking than I had expected. What if I looked silly?  I wasn't sure I had the self-confidence to wear my new togs out of the house. 

In an attempt to overcome my self-conscious reluctance, I started my adventure into the world of colour with pieces I already owned but had never worn together.  They were pieces I liked and was comfortable in, yet I was still nervous. I also chose to start on a short work day. If things went horribly wrong I only had a few hours to struggle through. 

That day, I left dressing to the last minute. It was a good thing I did. If I had had more time I would have changed my mind and changed my clothes! I spent a few seconds examining myself in the mirror and gnawing on my thumbnail. I'm not usually a nail biter. That should give you an idea how nervous I was, but as time was limited I had to head out the door. 

This is the outfit that caused such nail-biting nervousness.

I'd like to say that day changed my life forever. Life doesn't work that way though. I did get good responses from my co-workers. It was hard for them not to notice I wasn't cloaked in my usual funereal garb. When I explained the change, one woman was inspired enough to ask for Meghan's website. You know I'll be watching her for changes!

There have been a few challenging moments. One old fart of a customer felt the need to appreciate the colour of my new shirt with his fingertips. I did NOT slap him, though I was tempted. Another regular customer jokingly told me I looked like a slut. That one shook me. She also told my co-worker she looked like a farmer, so it wasn't just my outfit she was critiquing. 

Overall the experience of adding colour has been positive. Most days I'm in a better mood. (Not always a good mood, just better.) It's even getting easier to get out of bed in the morning. (Easier, not easy.) When a friend invited me to paint with her at her studio, I accepted. As I'm not particularly talented art-wise, there was a part of me that was tempted to decline. Somehow the craving for colour prompted me to go for it. I had so much fun I went the next time she asked too, and I displayed my primitive (but colourful) works in my home on book club night. 

This photo was taken at the studio while the paint was drying. My home isn't papered with newsprint. Honest. 

I still get nervous when I wear a new outfit in public, but that unease is usually mixed with excitement. Now on the days when the laundry is undone, I'm falling back on the dark clothes in my closet to see me through. It used to be the other way around. I'm surprised at how quickly I've become adverse to those dull outfits. On the days when they are necessary I try to add colour, even if it's with something as subtle as bright socks. 

Six socks for $60! Woo hoo?

My adventure into the world of colour is leading me to some fun, new places. I may even rediscover myself on the journey, provided I knew who I was before.  I'm excited to see what's ahead. Elusive Laurie might finally be coming out of her shell. I'm beginning to feel like that's a good thing.

1 comment:

  1. woot woot! go Laurie! i was sitting on the edge of my seat reading this. i was relating to it. and look, you posted photos or your self and your colourful painting. wow. there is no stopping you now!!!! my new mantra fits this very well "fu$k the fu$k 'em 50's, i'm starting now!"


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