It’s a dull, grey, rainy day, but as I open my wardrobe I’m met by a rainbow. Red and yellow, pink and green, teal and cobalt. Instantly I feel a little brighter. When I’m feeling low, unconfident, or just a bit ‘meh’, putting on something colourful always makes me feel jollier.
If asked to describe my personal style I’d probably go for ‘children’s TV presenter’. It might not be to everyone’s taste and sometimes I’m met by raised-eyebrows and strange looks when I step out of the house in a particularly vibrant outfit. But I dress the way I do because it gives me energy, it makes me smile and because I’ve come to think of it as part of who I am. When I wear all the colours I feel like the ‘me-ist’ version of me.
I’ve always loved colour but I’ve not always embraced that love through what I wear. In the past I’ve felt the need to ‘tone it down’. I remember there were certain outfits that I loved when I was younger but would never wear in front of ex-boyfriends because I thought they were too much. That I was too much. Now, I wish I’d been truer to myself. Clothes can be a statement but they can also be things to hide behind. I suppose as I’ve got older I’ve just decided that I don’t want to hide anymore – I want to shine.
Particularly as a woman, I often feel encouraged to shrink myself to fit the ‘ideal’ image of how a woman should be, or to simply take up less space in the world. For me, wearing bright colours is a way of living my life in the boldest, bravest, most joyful way. When I put on a bright dress or a flash of red lipstick I feel as though I am stretching, expanding, saying ‘I am here’ to the world.
‘You certainly can’t get lost in a crowd,’ a friend said recently as we met at a crowded station. She spotted me and my bright yellow coat immediately. That’s an advantage of dressing in colours but it can also feel intimidating at times. When I’m self-conscious or anxious it can feel tempting to hide in something grey. But on those days, I force myself to pull on something bright instead. Because it’s on those days that I need colour the most. I don’t always feel like a rainbow kind of person (in fact, very often I don’t at all) but over time I’ve found it’s hard to frown when you’re wearing bright pink, or yellow, or red. The clothes I choose to wear are for the person I want to be, not always the person I feel I am. But I think that putting on the uniform can be a big part of becoming the person who does that job.
I sometimes get overwhelmed about how much darkness there is in the world – when I spend too long reading the news or see people being unkind to one another around me. Dressing like a sunbeam is one of the ways I try to bring a bit more light, even if only in a small way. If someone catches a glimpse of my green coat or yellow beret and the colours make them smile, it’s just a small thing but it’s still something.
Every day when I stand in front of my wardrobe I feel as though I have a choice. What kind of person do I want to be today? How do I want to walk through life? And I choose sunshine.
My favourite colour combos:
Mustard yellow + teal green
Fuchsia pink + mint green
Sunshine yellow + tomato red
Apple green + autumn orange
Rainbow (as many colours as possible)
How to add more colour to your wardrobe:
I often hear people say that they’d like to wear more colour but don’t know where to start, or that wearing black and grey is something of a comfort blanket. Maybe you don’t fancy a head-to-toe rainbow look, but there are plenty of ways to bring small flashes of colour into your wardrobe.
- Start with accessories. I own about 10 coloured berets and they are such an easy way to add a pop of colour to an outfit. Gloves, bags and scarves can also inject more colour without feeling ‘too much’ (although personally I don’t believe in ‘too much’.)
- Invest in a brightly coloured coat. Winter is when I most need the dose of energy and positivity that I get from wearing colour. I also like the thought of my colourful outfit brightening other people’s days too – I often get cheerful comments when I wear my bright coats out and about.
- I used to always reach for black tights on default, but now I try to swap them for white, cream or a contrasting colour. It makes me so happy to look down and see that my legs are a bright, happy colour!
- If I’m feeling low, a flash of bright red, coral or pink lipstick is guaranteed to cheer me up and make me feel more confident. Often, I don’t bother with any other make up, but if I’m wearing lipstick I feel like I’ve made more of an effort and feel instantly sunnier.
My favourite colourful brands:
- Lucy and Yak: I own four pairs of Lucy and Yak dungarees. They are so comfy, so colourful and I love that they are an ethical and sustainable brand.
- Mabel Sheppard: These fab colourful gloves are just so beautiful and happy!
- Miss Pom Pom: I’d been lusting after a Miss Pom Pom colourful scarf for ages and recently bought one – I love its geometric design and how bright and warm it is.
- Sugarhill Brighton: A great shop for bright colours and fun prints.
- Joanie clothing: I love their vintage-inspired dresses.
- Thunder Egg: Great for dungarees and prints.
- Vintage and charity shops: I have a favourite local vintage shop where I buy a lot of things. And my favourite green coat was a charity shop find!