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Why I ~Mostly~ Stopped Wearing Black

Black is to me what it is to many people: a classy, classic and dependable friend. Black was always there when I needed her, whether it was to help me blend in, make me look my best, and keep me feel comfortable and safe.  But, honestly, I hid in black, cowering behind the safety of my old friend. And, that is why we are on a bit of a break right now.

I stopped wearing black because I used it to make me look thinner.


I dressed in all black, usually a tighter top paired with a skirt or high waisted jeans, and a black belt. This was my go-to look to make myself look and feel as thin as possible. I’m not even really sure if black is that slimming, but I read that it was on some blog somewhere when I was probably like 13 and could never let it go. I would put on something more colorful to go out, but would stand in the mirror and think that it didn’t matter if I looked cuter, expressed myself or stood out from the crowd; I looked best at my slimmest. And, that was in black. Now, I try to disregard not only the idea that black slims, but the idea that the best version of me is the thinnest version of me.


I stopped wearing black because I used it to make me invisible.


For a lot of my friends, black was fierce, strong and confident. For me it was often “please don’t look at me” and “I really hope they don’t see me.” So, I started wearing color to try to stop hiding in the shadows. Even though I know it really doesn’t make a difference in how much people notice me, wearing something cute and bold helps me to put in an effort to be present.

One of my more recent colorful purchases was a crisp red denim jacket. Red, I know. Even when slipped over one of my normal black outfits, I was still thinking “okay, I’m the girl in the red jacket. Man, it’s really red. Why did I do this?” And then I thought, well, if people are going to see me, I have to go all in. If I’m walking around campus, I have to have a little confidence, make it look like I have somewhere important to go in this red jacket, not that I’m going home to eat an entire box of Mac n Cheese by myself. If I’m slouching in section, I should sit up a little bit, maybe try to contribute a little something something.  If I’m going out with my friends to dance, I’m going to freakin’ dance.I found just a little more confidence being the girl in the red jacket, and got a couple compliments too.

I stopped wearing black because color expresses who I really am.

I have been a feminine girl all of my life– my family never lets me forget the time that I wouldn’t leave the house at age four because my outfit didn’t match. But, I felt and still often feel that it isn’t trendy to be girly and that I am constantly being judged for things like my devotion to pink, denim skirts and pretty much anything Cher from Clueless would wear. It was like the world wouldn’t take me seriously if I wasn’t dressing to be someone that they would take seriously; I even went  as far as wearing a chunky sweater and my glasses to present a project for my English class because I felt that I was assumed to be less capable due to the way I dressed. I thought that I’d finally proven them wrong when I accepted the highest midterm grade from my TA with a skirt and pink shirt when it was instantly mumbled that I got the score because I “looked like that.” But, I realized that I shouldn’t have to wear black to be someone I’m not. I’m not any less smart, motivated or capable just because I want to go to section wearing a yellow top and a white skirt, with those trendy white sneakers all the cool girls wear. No, if it is spring and I want to wear yellow like a big ole’ girly sunflower, I’m going to do that because that morning I woke up and felt like a freakin’ big ole’ girly sunflower. I wear color to express who I am, and how I feel that day.

I don’t think that I will break up with black forever, if I’m being completely honest. No one gets me like she does in my ripped, black, high waisted jeans, and they go with almost everything. I mean c’mon, how could I possibly let those babies rot in a drawer? But, I do try to always wear color near my face because it compliments my coloring, gives me the push not to hide and expresses who I am. Black will always be an old reliable friend, but color? Color is the steamy romantic lead that pushes me to be my best, happy self; she’s the love of my life.

Maddie is a recently graduated English major and is excited to enter the publishing industry.
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