Wearing Black

I can’t wear Black as a fashion statement any more! I have finally, reluctantly, faced this fact. For 50 years it has been my “go-to” colour – or non-colour –  for every occasion.  It was what I wore to all stylish social events – and even the more low-key ones where I wanted to blend in seamlessly.

I replaced my “little black dress” carefully every year since I was 18.  If there was nothing to please me in the shops I would get one made by the best dressmaker I could afford.

But now it is all over!

I  could still get away with it up to 5 years go, if I dressed it up with snazzy jewellery or a bright scarf or pashmina.  But since then I have been forced to face the truth…..it now looks TERRIBLE on me.  I looked in the mirror the other day and tried to be objective.  I don’t like being objective…… the object in the mirror screamed “take it off, take it off ….it does nothing for you”.  Of course my skin tone has changed and my hair colour has changed over the years.  Why could I not see that?

When I was very young black was the colour of mourning.  If a family member died female relatives dressed in sombre, unrelieved black for a year and a day. (The men wore black ties and the children black arm-bands for the same length of time….the Irish mourning period).  But that was before Coco Chanels’s Little Black Dress set the fashion world alight. It had been around for some time, but didn’t get into its stride until after the Second World War, in the mid-forties.  By the time it came to my late teens it was regarded as the perfect outfit.  It could be covered by a jacket for day wear or dressed up with jewellery for evening time.

Mourning black is now reserved for funerals – and usually only the burial day.  Otherwise black, for women, has been synonomous with style and sophistication.

My style icons – now mostly in their late 60s or early 70s – rarely, if ever, wear black.  Joanne Lumley (66), Angela Rippon(71), Sian Phillips (83) and John Thaw’s widow Sheila Hancock who startled us all with her brilliant performance on Strictly Come Dancing at the age of 80 – they all seem to play by the same set of sartorial rules….long sleeves, demure skirt lengths, high necks (mostly), sometimes set off by flowing, colourful scarves. No black.  Absolutely no black.

But then the question remains ….  what colour will suit me now?  I have ignored the beautiful rainbow of colours for so long that I don’t even know where to start. Is the Colour Me Beautiful system a solution?  Leave me fashion tips and comments below.

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