When I wear the colors that flatter I feel magical, transported out of the gray rainy northwest and into a land of unexpected delights and surprises. Because I feel magical and happier, there is a smile on my face and a bounce in my step and people notice. They ask if I’ve lost weight or tell me I look fabulous. I get smiles from others (sometimes I wonder if maybe I have accidentally been dragging toilet paper around on my foot or if I look silly but I don’t think that is the case – I think that is just self doubt rearing it’s ugly head). There were many years of my life when I wore black or simply picked colors because I thought I liked them. Then when I got them home they never matched anything else in my closet (except the black) and I never had any accessories to wear with them. These were the desperate years when I barely had time – or didn’t know how to make the time for myself. Every article I read said black was a great neutral. They failed to mention that black is not a color for everyone. I guess they just assumed every reader knew as much as they did. I didn’t know that black is harsh on some people. I was trying to streamline my life and have clothes that would mix and match so I took the advice that we should all have a base color and add accents to it. I assumed that black was the best base color because everyone is supposed to have a little black dress. As I think back I never got a compliment that I looked great. I think some wear black so they disappear. It is our invisible cloak and armor against the world. We hear black is slimming. The easy answer we are all looking for. As I look back on my black years I know that dressing in black and not taking time to care for my appearance because I thought it didn’t matter were my way of avoiding the pleasant and unpleasant parts of life. If I wore black and didn’t try to look like I cared, I could slip under the radar. I wouldn’t have to worry about how to talk to people. I would have an excuse for failure in whatever venture I tried be it making friends or sales. It allowed me to be invisible. Invisible means no one is going to ask you to do anything. It meant I wouldn’t have to worry about adding anything else to my busy (but repetitive and unnecessary) schedule. Wearing black and not taking risks in my wardrobe was the equivalent of not taking risks in my life. Now I joyfully put on my yellow raincoat and blue scarf and head out the door hoping to greet the world with a smile and get a great big smile back. (now if I can only avoid looking like a drunken sailor)