I’ve never been one to wear a lot of colour. Most of my wardrobe is black; it’s my comfort colour and the colour I feel most confident in, and I think the same goes for a lot of people. Recently, I’ve been trying to wear things that aren’t monochrome, which is quite a step out my comfort zone given that I consider white as colourful.
I devoted myself to wearing black in high school because I used to sweat quite a lot (hyperhydrosis), which is an embarrassing problem to have and yet here I am putting it out in the internet. Keepin’ it real.
I swore off grey and pretty much every other colour because sweat patches are sure to ruin any and every outfit, and being 14 meant that I was way too embarrassed to go to the doctor for help and guidance. Sigh. I was like that a lot when I was younger, reluctant to ask for help. I didn’t speak to anyone about it and was probably 16 or 17 before I got it all sorted. That’s way too long to live like that!
Years of wearing black gave me an, almost, aversion to colourful clothing and I would gravitate towards black when out clothes shopping – filters set to ‘Black’ on every online shopping website. I wanted to wear colour. I just couldn’t do it.
Although I’m all good now and have one of those deodorants that helps me to perspire like a normal human, I’ve conditioned myself to always go for black first. It takes me a few minutes to realise I don’t have to exclusively buy black clothes and even then, I still get a little twinge of panic when I put on something colourful and do the sweat-patch check every few minutes just in case. It’s a really hard thing to get over and something I felt ashamed of for the longest time.
Being able to have more freedom with the colour of my clothes has given me so much more confidence. Although I don’t see black as an un-confident colour (which I’ll go into later), it does tend to blend into the background and you’re more likely to notice people in a bright yellow dress than an all-black ensemble. I was happy to blend into the background when I was younger and had issues with my confidence and my appearance, and it’s actually been really lovely to let my style grow in confidence with me. I’ve noticed I enjoy wearing tighter clothing now that I’m comfortable with my body, and I have no issue wearing bright colours such as yellow or red – I feel like a completely different person.
If I had seen this dress a few years ago, I would’ve gotten quite upset that I couldn’t have worn it. Although the hyperhydrosis wouldn’t have really affected it, sweat-patch wise, if my armpits weren’t covered I’d just be so uncomfortable and therefore didn’t want people to look at me struggling to hide it, or have to cover it up with a jacket. Now, I snapped that dress up as soon as I saw it and I felt incredible in it, saving it for the perfect summery day. I had a vision for this dress as soon as I saw it on the Nasty Gal website, and it played off exactly how I wanted it to, and that’s just the best feeling ever.
That said, I still feel super confident when I wear all black. I’ll go a few days wearing relatively colourful pieces, then see someone rocking an all black ensemble and think yup, that’s what I’m gonna do next.
Confidence relative to clothing is a funny thing. I used to think that colourful clothing automatically meant confidence, but now that I actually have confidence I can see that it isn’t that at all. I feel just as confident, probably more, in black clothes as I do in clothes that have a pop of colour. It took me a while to warm up to the hat with this outfit because it was a tad out my comfort zone, but once I got used to it I was strutting around as if I was on a Victoria’s Secret runway and now I want to wear it with every outfit.
I think it’s important to go outwith your comfort zone with fashion sometimes, but not to the extent that you feel uncomfortable. I was so gradual with introducing colour, starting with grey, because I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable and unconfident. Even now, I’m still pushing myself and trying to buy things I previously wouldn’t have looked twice at – most recently, a leopard print midi dress.
The first time I wore my big winter leopard print coat (which I’m so excited to dig back out), I felt incredibly out of my comfort zone for the first hour. Max kept telling me how good I looked, but the girl at the train station who kept staring at me made me feel really uncomfortable. I eventually got over it, but things like that mean I probably won’t wear the leopard dress at home. It’ll exclusively be a holiday item, unless I feel particularly brave.
It feels strange to me now that there was a time when all I could wear was black clothes with sleeves. I can’t imagine that now – so many of my favourite pieces are colourful, and I’m extremely thankful that my past self eventually did go and seek help for that somewhat embarrassing sweat problem, because now I am a fashionista.