When I left Hawaii to return to Ohio, I was adamant that I’d wear my tropical prints and vivid colors–no matter what. I remember the plane ride, with attendants dressed in Aloha fabrics, as I pined for Paradise lost. We’d lived there 2 years but I wasn’t done with Hawaii yet–but alas, I digress…
When we landed in L. A., I was amazed that everyone seemed to be dressed in black. What? Is this not the home of the avant guard? Where’s the joie de vivre and individuality that I had imagined thrived there? My experience is that warm climates beget colorful attire–but my theory seemed out dated and didn’t bode so well for my commitment to wild abandon. Nevertheless, I determined I’d walk my own walk to whatever beat I felt.
And so–onward to Ohio with a trunk (maybe 2) full of sunshine fabrics and funky styles… It had been many years since I’d lived in the mid-west. Moving from Maine to Hawaii was a culture shock for sure but I hadn’t lived in Ohio for 16 years and somehow I thought it would have transformed as much as I had.
Architecturally, all the brick caught me off-guard–I felt smothered and claustrophobic for awhile. No swaying palms nor daily rainbows. I couldn’t even see the horizon for the tall buildings and summer smog. Where were all the international cultures, colors and foods? And what’s with that southern twang? I felt I’d back-stepped into days gone by–not that much had changed and at first look, the attitudes hadn’t either.
But I was still influenced by my other worldliness so I dragged out my favorite clothes and wore them amongst the jeans, cut-off’s and sweats that I saw everywhere. Did I stick out? You bet–like a red hot persimmon in a field of yellowed corn! But I didn’t care–for awhile.
16 years later, I look at my closet and see that I have way more gray, black, and brown than I care to admit. Oh, I have fun colors and cool textures all right but they are more for accent and effect than everyday wear, I fear.
Even my forays to the Big Apple are not as splashy as I’d dreamed. Black is seen as sophisticated and understated–I get it. But truly, I’m attracted to the bright as the proverbial moth to the light.
So this year, I’m coming out of my dark closet. I found a bright pink winter coat –my break from the winter-doldrums, like a butterfly emerging, intoxicated from sleeping too long. And what of oranges, yellows and limes? Why do we not usually associate these with year-round wear?