Monday, July 23, 2012
Outfit for a Thursday: Midnight Blue... or Midnight Black?
This dilemma of mine is, indeed, a wardrobe trope: is that a very dark navy, almost midnight blue, or is it just black? With certain articles of clothing, it is nearly impossible to discern, at the store, even if surrounded by a collection of other items in the same ambiguous shade, at home under the kitchen light, in the office under an interrogating fluorescent light. When I bought this dress a few weeks ago before heading to Barcelona, for the second time in recent memory, and was certain the stripes were navy and white. Like so many other items in my closet, the dress is a versatile basic, and with the navy and white combination, a typical preppy and nautical-inspired piece, or so I thought.
The first few times I wore this dress, I was still convinced, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was navy. My styling, however, each time was such that it made no difference whether that second neutral, now in question, was a deep navy or a bluish black, like squid ink. First, attending a colleague and friend's birthday party cook-out, I cinched the waist slightly with a bright, true pink suede sash, coupled the look with copious and opulent rhinestone accessories and a pair of silver and turquoise sandals. The second, in Barcelona, I paired it with red and gold. Each time, the color combinations could have just partnered perfectly with a black stripe.
On Thursday morning, during my indulgent and long warm-cold shower, I remembered this orange and navy and gold paisley cardigan that has been sitting quietly in my closet; I decided, perfect, easy, ideal for this striped navy dress. Suddenly, to my dismay, the colors before me were becoming slippery, intangible, impossible to define: black or navy? Physical laws of light were being questioned before my eyes, as what had been navy now seemed something a bit off, darker, colder, more cruel. Pushing my histrionics aside, I decided to just push forward and ameliorate the situation with a different cardigan; the dress is black, was my verdict.
I replaced the paisley number with this black alternative; still, though, the color transience persisted, a sort of refusal to fall neatly within one category or the other. This cardigan also looked, simply, wrong. By this point, however, I was thoroughly confused and had not yet imbibed a sufficient amount of caffeine to make a quick, intelligent, and prudent judgment. Since I put this on second, it just stayed on.
Later that evening, while basking in the incriminating lights of the wardrobe room at my local TJ Maxx, I decided that my initial assessment was in fact correct. The dress is blue. Why, two outfits and a number of weeks later, I convinced myself that I had just at that moment become enlightened, I am unsure. I will plea temporary insanity, or, more aptly, oscillating insanity. It comes in waves.
Delicate crystalline patterns, merging simultaneous construction and destruction, have always fascinated me. With a blend of blues overlaid on the black, perhaps pairing this with my navy dress was not so egregious.
Unfortunately, large and loud costume jewelry often does very little to distract and detract from one's incompetencies in discerning color.