October 1, 2007

When I moved from New York City to Mayberry, a friend sent me a goodbye card. It read, in part: “Repeat after me: ‘Black is good. Black is fine. Black is always appropriate. I will still wear black.’”

Three and a half years later, just guess how often I wear black.

Not quite never, but hardly ever is about right. Mostly it’s the fact that my office is my dining room table and there are plenty of days where the only adults whose paths I cross are the teachers at my kids’ child care center.

But it’s also true that it is different here and the head-to-toe black just isn’t done. I’d look like the goth-est 15-year-old around if I walked into the grocery store wearing a totally normal NYC outfit of black sweater, pants, and shoes.

And on the flip side, last week when I did go back to the city, I spent one whole day wanting to crawl into a hole because I was wearing way too much color. I felt so conspicuous and kountry all day. If any clothing stores had been open at 8:30 a.m. I absolutely would have bought myself a black t-shirt to get me through the day.

This is all making me sound like a sheep or a fashion slave and I don’t think I am. I’m all for individuality and not giving a crap what other people think. But the fact is I do care and I think most of us do. I don’t need or want to have the latest, hottest, most expensive styles. But looking good builds confidence and at least for me, looking good does require some level of conforming to the local customs. If I’m thinking more about how much I hate what I’m wearing than everything else I need to be doing, I might as well change my shirt and get on with my life.

Besides, I think I look pretty good in a nice chocolate brown merino wool.

Mayberry Mom is visiting today as part of the Blog Exchange. She swears on a stack of back issues of the New York Times that she will never, ever, ever wear a holiday-themed sweatshirt. Be sure to click over to her blog to read JJ’s take on this month’s topic!



  1. Very interesting story…and as much as I like to think I am a fashion rebel, I think ev1 feels the comfort(or lack there of) from time to time.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  2. These ‘exchanges’ always confuse the hell out of me when I start reading! HAHA.

    My wardrobe has suffered since I got pregnant almost three years ago. I wear what I have and that’s mostly been given to me by family members who have lost weight or what I’ve gotten on clearance. It makes me feel old to dress the way I do – like I’m someone else from who I used to be.

    Lately, I’ve been acquiring some cooler clothes – clothes that look more like stuff I’d pick out for myself. Over the weekend, I threw on jeans and a black t-shirt. I had to dig out my black boots because, Hmm, I guess I don’t wear any other black shoes anymore. Then, I needed a belt and all I had were brown. I complained a long time about wearing a brown belt with a black outfit before The Man said, “Boy, our lives sure are different now, aren’t they?” Funny that my belt complaints brought that to mind, but it’s true…not only did I used to dress a lot cooler, I also had everything I needed to look cool and NEVER complained about my clothes to him. He let me splurge on a clearanced black belt at Target. That made me happier. Though I still feel like I’m getting old.

  3. Nothing’s wrong with black. I would guess half of the clothes I own are black.

    But, I see your point about how it fits in with certain situations.

  4. Holiday sweater- Augh!!!

  5. True, when you look good, it definitely makes you feel better about yourself!

  6. I wear mostly black, most of the time. I hope it doesn’t make me look pretentious or like I’m trying to look goth….it’s just a slimming color and doesn’t wash me out.

    I hate feeling uncomfortable in clothing, whether that’s how it fits or how it looks.

  7. It amazes me how different areas dress differently. We were in California, risky, fun, flirty clothes were totally ok. Then we moved to New Mexico … I feel so so so like a bad bad bad girl were my lower cut T’s here! It is strange.

  8. Holiday sweaters should be outlawed. Unless you’re 80+ years old …

  9. Funny how we “need” to adapt our colors to where we live. I always get flak for my red snakeskin cowboy boots. But I love them too much to give them up.

  10. I always opt for black, but my daughter/fashion adviser always tries to steer me away. Black is safe and comfortable and always cool, but you know? Maybe color’s not so bad.

  11. ha
    i am planning my first day in nyc in about 3 years (even though i only live an hour away) but i am finally breaking free of my kids…and the tip that i should wear black is huge. i think i have a few black tops left that i still wear.

  12. Well, you know, brown is supposed to be the new black.

  13. heh – it can be all about the confidence. that and knowing that sometimes conspicuous isn’t the best thing 🙂

  14. brown merino wool.

    I guess I better go google that and start wearing less black. (I know it doesn’t make me look less fat, but I can pretend)

  15. The first & second time I went to NYC, I noticed that too—lots of black clothing up there.

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