Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Since we have settled into real winter this month, I noticed I've been wearing a lot of black clothing to work.  Winter is notoriously "Black" season - the streets are a sea of women wearing black leggings and black down-filled coats - and while I abhor this cult of sameness, I must also acknowledge that I really do enjoy wearing the colour black.  I'm naturally very pale, and like the contrast of black against my skin, and wearing black makes me feel stronger, and more in control (we can discuss my control issues another time).  After spending my 20's and most of my 30's wearing primarily black clothing,  I did make a concerted effort to include more colour in my wardrobe after my mother asked me during a visit, "Don't you have anything to wear that isn't black??" 

I've accumulated a lot of black items of clothing over the years and a lot of them are made of warm, heavy fabrics suited to winter.  Black is also a great camouflage when one is feeling kind of chunky after the chocolate binge-fest that was December.  However, to avoid being mistaken for an Italian Widow, I have made a point of pairing it with at least one other strong colour.

Black and White 
Wearing my favourite faux fur vest (The Sentimentalist), fleece skirt (From Mars), and Hello Kitty leggings (Forever 21).  I'm also wearing my computer glasses with my 1950's frames, and a strangely smug expression.

Black and Red
I really need to take a posing class, or a facial expression class, or something.   I'm not sure what I'm doing here, but this was the best photo out of the bunch, which doesn't say much.  It's been really cold in our office lately, so an increasing number of layers have been necessary.  It made for an excellent excuse to wear my thrifted knit rabbit fur poncho (Value Village), which I love, even if I don't wear it often.  The skirt (Anthropologie) is one of those items that year after year I plan to get rid of, but then I wear it once, and its woolly warmth, and pink and red ruffle trim wins me over.  The red fleece-lined leggings (From Mars) are sooooo cozy!

Black and Copper
I wore this outfit to greet our incoming students at the beginning of the term, and was trying to go for a "funky, but professional" look.  The jacket (Le Chateau) has a flattering shape, giving me the illusion of a waist, and it's got a bit of stretch to it.  I found the painted suede skirt and the copper vintage Florsheim Italian leather ankle boots at Talize, for $12 each.
Over the last couple of weeks I've also worn black and grey, black and blue, and black and green.  The thrifted Marks and Spencers jacket in the photo above is a bit big on me, but I was drawn to the colour and the gigantic buttons (but was very disappointed to see the Made in China label).

I see that many of my blogger friends (Vix, Melanie, Ariane, Curtis and Judith) are wearing head-to-toe bold colours and prints despite the cold temperatures, so I will be content with being the "Black Sheep" for the rest of the winter!


  1. I think your bold hair looks great with the mostly black ensembles.

    Great scores at Talize! I love that place. It has become my favourite thrifting spot.

    Of course I also adore that Anthro skirt. I do think my favourite is the same as yours though, the faux fur vest.


  2. Great ensembles and pairings with black. Black will always be a huge part of my closet and it makes the perfect background for accessories, etc.

    I can see why you brought the green jacket with large buttons home with you! And thanks for the mention.

  3. Spooky, that last outfit photo of you, the painting behind you, it looks like a mysterious standoff. I really love that! Who is in that painting? No one could call you boring in black, Shelley, the cuts and designs are too visually interesting. The big buttons would attract me in an instant. The poncho and fleece leggings, so cozy. And Talize boots - I really must get myself there one of these days!

  4. I used to feel odd if I wasn't wearing at least one black item. I'm over it, but I'm leaning back towards black again. I like the idea of going beatnik, so that would be all black, pretty much.

    Your outfits are tres cool - the black and white patterns are snazzy, but I really love the black and copper outfit. Painted suede!?! I want to get out my paints and deface some suede now.

  5. All fabulous outfits, Shelley! I love that painted suede skirt. I've been wearing quite a bit of black lately - I have a lot of black items for popping off all the colour in my wardrobe. I keep hearing about Talize - I must find one!

  6. I own that same black with red and pink ruffles skirt. I haven't worn it in a while. Maybe I should.

    I also have had an on/off again relationship with black--used to wear it a lot, then hardly did for a long while, and lately have been drawn back to it. Part of me wants to ditch all the bright colored and patterned things I own and only wear black, white, gray and indigo--but I am not ready to make that leap yet. I probably never will.

  7. Love the giant buttons on that coat. Actually, that coat looks a lot like one I inherited from my grandma but don't wear much because it has those 50s bracelet sleeves.

  8. I can appreciate the drama of black, especially against your hair colour (red heads wear it well, I think!) and I find I like it now and again, I just don't want it to be my uniform. It seems to be that for a lot of women, and that's a shame. But mixed with some print and some colour, and your trademark strong silhouette, Shelley, you've created some wonderful black looks! As much as I am usually drawn to black and red together, I'm loving the coppery suede skirt and funky jacket ensemble. Hmm, think I might be on the look out for some tan ankle boots now...
    M&S have the majority of their clothing made in Turkey, China, and India/Sri Lanka/Bangladesh. I'm not sure if that is inherently a bad thing; their clothing would of course be far more expensive if they didn't. The issue is how well they monitor the factories, working conditions, workers' rights, etc, and I'm not sure how well M&S do at that. But your lovely green jacket was secondhand, so you're at one remove from that old ethical minefield!
    Ha, thanks for the name check, love! xxxx

  9. I used to always wear black plus a bright colour but recently I'm shifting to gray and brown and greens instead. It seems the only bright colours I wear anymore are red and orange. Don't know what that means really but I thought I'd put it out there. You'll know I've totally gone round the bend if I start wearing beige, camel or white though!

    Wear what you like and like what you wear. My two bits.

  10. I will always love black. I like the ruffled skirt! So cute! And your poses are great!!!!

  11. I agree - black is great with a tweak of another color to set it off. I had Hello Kitty rammed down my eyeballs for many years, and recoil from it in horror, but those stockings look like amoeba forms, so they're fabulous! LOVE the vintage flavored green jacket with huge buttons, but my fave is the side zippered jacked with the painted suede skirt and way cool boots.

  12. I like it when you show your beautiful self! You are lovely in black - I don't have a lot of black, i'm not too keen on wearing black I'm so light skinned and worst in the winter.
    How have been doing? I'm getting use to my new job and i can now comment blogs on lunch time