But while I think editing with an objective eye is important in nurturing style, I think sometimes you have to let the visual take second place to other elements, follow an expressive idea and risk the ridicule. Looking down at these favourite red Parisian loafers, I see the counterpoint they form with the dark knee-length skirt, evoking my school uniforms of decades ago. The opaque tights similarly echo my past, having been a favourite element of my teens and perhaps every decade since. I know better now than to try wearing them with the exuberant flair of Susie Bubble, but I'm not going to give them up because of some fashion diktat about a certain number.
Once when I was out shopping with my best shopping companion, my oldest daughter, we stopped for a coffee, and I bemoaned my unfortunate style choice for a shopping day: I'd looked fine with my black tummy-covering leather jacket on, but underneath, I'd tucked a black T into my belted jeans, and was not feeling good about the resulting exposed pouch (and, to be clear, this wasn't a body issue, but a dressing-the-body issue which I think is a bit different -- I accept the tummy but would prefer not to put it on display). From this sense of gaucherie, I moved on to wish I could acquire that unerring sense of chic that meant never feeling vulnerable because mistakes got edited before they left the house rather than recognized on the street or in a shop or at a party. By this point, I'd broadened my reference to include my propensity to try out new fashions, ideas, combinations, before learning that they weren't the best look for me. And my daughter, herself very edited, with very few wardrobe errors, wisely pointed out that the risks I took were part of the fun I had with style, were part of my own personal style that both expresses who I am and in some way makes me who I am. (Let me quickly acknowledge that compared to a Susie Bubble my style experimentation and risk-taking is minor, limited, but the latitude afforded to a mid-50s woman is limited as well, believe me.)
Really, I suspect that with few exceptions (of such observers as I am), most whose vision fields I crossed yesterday will not even have noticed my red tights. The tights made me feel cheerier, though, and obviously gave me something to think about. If I ever get the nerve, I'll show you the pair Daughter #3 (otherwise known as Girlcook) brought me back from Montreal 6 or 7 years ago -- sky-blue with multi-coloured butterflies flitting all over them!
Meanwhile, consider today the first installation of my participation in Project Spectrum:
The idea of Project Spectrum is simply a celebration of the colors around us, and taking the time to notice them. Participants can dye, crochet, weave, decoupage, spin, build, stitch, knit, paint, scrapbook, construct, sew, quilt, cook, grow, collage, photograph, bake, or bead items in that color group (of course all arts and crafts that I missed are totally welcome as well!).It is really about expressing yourself creatively - making something beautiful, and creating something unique with your hands. It is also about thinking outside of the box - perhaps taking up a new hobby, or a long neglected one, or finally dabbling in design.
The 2008 theme for Project Spectrum is the elements, and in February/March, participants are invited to think about Fire, and the colours associated with it: red, orange, pink (yellow being saved for an associating with air). Perhaps the majority of participants are knitters and there's a group on Ravelry I think I'll join, but I'm going to use the category of photography (not to mention the very spirit of the enterprise) as permission to survey all the 'elements' of daily living. I'll knit the Project Spectrum too: as soon as I finish the Tulip Cardigan, I will cast on with the perfect fiery yarn, and I'm planning photos of fiery colours that warm my home. Stay tuned.