There's something about wearing the color black that makes me extremely happy and confident inside. It's probably an ironic thing to say, but there's just something about the dark neutral shade that just feels empowering to me. But I thought, new year, new you, and decided to challenge myself with a little bit of color. Here's what happened when I didn't wear black all week and how it affected my mood.
Wearing all black wasn't something that I've done all my life. I actually only recently started wearing the basic color in the last year or two because I like how minimal it looks and how commanding I feel. I didn't even realize I was doing it until my old college roommate and I met up when she asked, "Are you OK? You've been wearing all black lately —are you sad?" I guess she hadn't heard the news that wearing black is perceived more positively.
According to Vogue, wearing colors can affect your mood — they even spoke with a color therapy expert, Constance Hart, who told them that "black can feel like a security blanket," and that she tries to encourage people to incorporate more color into their lives because black can have a "depressive quality." The Daily Mail UK agrees with Vogue's findings. They spoke with Jules Standish, a style and color consultant, who said, "Looking at warm, bright colours, such as red or pink, releases dopamine — known as the “feel-good hormone” — which can improve our mood, heighten the attention span and even boost our sex drive."
Still, it made me wonder what I would feel like if I didn't wear all black every single day? Would I feel better? Would I feel worse? Would I be able to talk and interact with people in the same way? Did cutting out the color really matter at all? I was determined to find out.
You should know that this was a huge challenge for me. Nearly everything that is currently in my closet is the color black. Dresses, tops, jeans, coats — they're all black. (I've even convinced my own boyfriend to incorporate more black into his closet.) In order to create outfits to wear for the week, I legitimately had to pull pieces from 2012 — aka things I haven't worn in years.
Here's how it all played out:
I decided to go for a more neutral look instead of jumping straight into color. I didn't want to feel totally uncomfortable in something pink or bright yellow, so I chose to wear a gray sweatshirt and jeans. It felt nice, actually! While I really wanted to grab my black jeans and dark combat boots, I resisted and felt OK about it in this outfit.
For the second day, I wore a light denim acid wash jacket and maroon pants. Yes, I can't believe I found maroon pants in the bottom of my closet drawers. This was a pretty simple look too, but I really, really wished that I had a black top or scarf to add. I felt pretty comfortable since the color wasn't too loud, but still missed having that dark look to the outfit.
Gradually, I moved to wearing a beige, sandy color. This was also a nice subtle change like my denim jacket, but again, I wish I had paired it with my leather booties or my black leather jacket. All in all, I felt kind of bland and didn't feel like I was uniquely expressing myself. Beige isn't the most exciting color, I suppose.
This is where things got pretty bad. I actually didn't have any other colored items left in my closet, so I had to borrow some of my boyfriend's clothes, because yes, his side of the closet is more colorful than mine. I decide to wear a striped red and white sweater and see if I felt super self-conscious when going out. The anser? Yes, I felt extremely awkward and wanted to pass out. Not because the sweater was too colorful, but because it wasn't my style. And it just wasn't me. I didn't know who I was that day.
On Friday, I had to borrow another sweater from my boyfriend's closet. Although this time the color change was more subtle than the red and white, I still missed wearing black. The sweater was a nice change though and I'll have to admit that if I ever did decide to wear color again, it would probably be a dark blue like this one.
Yes, you guessed it — this open cardigan is also from my boyfriend's closet. The red top is mine, but pairing it with the yellowish, striped cardigan was probably the most color I've worn in the past year. When going out, I actually didn't feel happier or brighter like I thought I would. I just felt like this outfit was not me at all, and that I was pretending to dress like someone that I'm not. It definitely affected the way I talked to and interacted with people, too. I pretty much looked at every single mirror I passed — I couldn't help but hate what I was wearing.
Instead of borrowing from my boyfriend's closet, I decided to ask my 14-year old sister to help me out. She gave me a light pink crop top to wear and I tried to hold back my emotions. I don't wear pink, guys, and if I do, it's for a really good reason, like this one. I can say that wearing pink made me feel younger, as in like young-spirited, but it didn't necessarily make me feel happier. Let's just say I won't be wearing pink for a long time.
I guess you can say that wearing colors really did change my mood, but it definitely did not make me happier. Wearing color was actually extremely uncomfortable, and I never thought I would have that much anxiety because of what I was wearing. Although people have reported that wearing color can brighten your mood, get you a raise, or increase your happiness, I definitely did not find that to be true for me. It was nice to change up my style for a bit, but I'm more satisfied when I can wear my leather jacket and black high-waisted jeans, thank you very much.
In the end, the way you dress is your own personal expression and you should be free to wear whatever you want. When it comes down to it, your overall mood can be affected by the way you dress, and if wearing black makes you happy, then you do you, boo. I know I will!
Images: Danelle Sandoval