This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post in August 2012.
Few people are happier than I am that neon hues have made their way back onto our runways and store shelves. Wearing and shopping for vibrantly colored items is an automatic mood booster for me; getting dressed in beautiful yellows and purples brings me back to my childhood in the ’90s. It was a simpler time, however questionable the fashion.
I’m drawn to neon orange shoes and mint green pants and yellow dresses. Given the choice between a pair of simple dark denim jeans and a pair in poppy red, I will always choose the red. The Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Q Hillier hobo is currently available in, among other colors, basic black and a beautiful bubblegum pink. I want the pink. I need the black. I’ve always been like this. I can’t get excited about purchasing basic wear-with-everything items.
This leaves me with a perpetual problem: a closet of clothes and nothing to wear. The issue, it seems, with making purchases according to one’s color-happy instinct, is the challenge of putting together an outfit each morning that doesn’t clash.
As much as I would like to achieve the monochromatic, unfussy downtown look, I can’t get excited over a shopping trip in pursuit of the perfect white top, black pants or a neutral bag.
Perhaps it is also that I know neutral wardrobe items require the biggest investment if they are to last. They often become the items I reach for again and again to anchor colorful pieces. I got so much use out of my black Lacoste polo dress so much that I wore holes in the elbows. My black Boutique 9 flats have needed replacing several times over while their neon sisters, which make decidedly fewer trips out of the closet, remain intact. My white t-shirts and tanks must be retired after a few months, but my drawer of American Eagle boyfriend tanks in every color of the rainbow lives on.
On rainy days, I pull out my bright pink Banana Republic trench to banish weather-induced blues. My coworkers smile.
New York, it seems, will survive with one less woman dressed in head-to-toe black.