After four years of Fashion School, I came out with two things: limited job prospects and a wardrobe consisting of black clothing. Depressing as it may seem on the surface, a black palate is both practical and flattering. And frankly, black goes with everything. Win-win, I always thought. Working at Novella, however, I was alarmed by my stylish colleague, Liat, whose brazen wardrobe appears effortless and playful — and terrifying when I envision it on myself.
For the past six years, my new year’s resolution was to methodically incorporate at least one item of colour into my wardrobe. I’d start off slowly by adding just a pop of colour in limited doses, so as not to overwhelm my psyche. So far I have veered into white and light grey — it has been a trying process. New year’s resolutions often become distant memories. Each morning, in a rush and with excuses, I end up wearing black and hoping texture will somehow spice things up. So obviously, the office took one look at me and decided that my funeral-like appearance required an upgrade. So for our second Trading Places article, Liat and I partnered up to revisit basics and wear outfits with colour — even yellow.
Michelle: The average person simply cannot wear yellow and not look like Big Bird. But, for Liat’s sake, I really tried to like this top. I was pleasantly surprised to see how flounce sleeves could make the yellowness seem intentional and I liked how they added some texture and a playful vibe, which, to be honest, I don’t have. Next, I tried on the gingham trousers, which at first glance reminded me of a picnic table. I have to say though, that these pants were both soft and stretchy and on-point with this season’s trends. Incorporating some black made me feel like I could actually wear them. In general, my daily uniform includes black skinny jeans, and I noticed how much more mobility I had with these pants. I was fresh, youthful and a literal beam of sunlight. Unsurprisingly, I did end up buying the pants to wear with more black. The yellow will have to wait till 2018.
Liat: As a fashion blogger, my biggest fear is looking boring. And for that reason, the oversized sweater didn’t look appealing to me. My first thought was: This is not my cup of tea. But at the same time, I was curious to see how it will make me feel when I pull it off. As for the jeans, I was satisfied with what Michelle picked for me. I adore the fringe details on the buttom because of the uniqueness they add. The boyfriend fit along with the oversized sweater made me rethink my fancy style, especially when it comes to my busy unglamorous life as a busy mom. I love colours, prints, and feminine details like ruffles and lace, but for a casual weekend look, like a day with my kids at the park, I can never go wrong with such a comfy outfit.
Michelle: I’m just going to start off by saying that I hate dresses because they require a certain femininity that I do not possess. Rompers or jumpsuits are just their awkward and unappealing half siblings because when you have to go to the bathroom, ain’t nobody got time for all that work! Needless to say, this romper was a challenge, both physically and emotionally. It was also a full-on floral print with a ribbon tie back, paired with a Supreme Deluxe pizza purse. There was a lot going on. My petite frame was fully submerged and drowning in colour, pattern, and print, and quickly moving through the five stages of grief. Initially, I was in denial thinking, “maybe this works.” I quickly moved to stage two and three, realizing that I had put both legs in one leg of the romper but bargaining with myself that no one would realize my error. I then became depressed, realizing that colour was not for me and finally accepting that only Liat would ever be able to look cool in this outfit. This outfit was way too far out of my comfort zone.
Liat: The black top featuring a built-in corset belt was extremely comfortable and it’s definitely something I see myself wearing with a colourful flowy skirt or high waisted pants. I love the idea that this corset is already attached to the shirt, which saved me the time of figuring out what to wear. Plus, it’s super trendy this season. Pairing it with black skinny jeans and oversized shirt makes it too casual for my fashionista soul, especially as an evening look, since I am the type of person who is always trying to mix things up and create an unexpected combination. Also I was afraid that that the button up shirt looked quite boyish. Even so, it’s not an outfit I’d normally pick for going out. But I must say it looks great together and I am willing to adopt it as a day look. I was really satisfied with what Michelle picked out for me and I think it’s also flattering to my body shape.
Michelle: Despite my pessimistic attitude toward all things colourful or peppy, I have to admit that I had a lot of fun with Liat and this exercise. It made me realize that society does not care what you wear as long as you own it. I learnt to be less anxious about colour and more willing to try something new, so next time I see colour on a rack, I will at least give it a shot. But, I am not sure if I’d ever wear yellow again, so don’t hold your breath.
Liat: As a fashion addict, I am always willing to go on a shopping spree. For me this experience was pure fun. I noticed how I am always looking for outfits that will let my individuality pop up, which leads to a closet that lacks basic pieces like plain t shirts or simple black jeans. I realized that I need to increase the causal department in my closet. It also made me realize that I have too many girly dresses, which I got just because I couldn’t leave them hanging in the store. At the end of the day, I bought the black corset top Michelle offered me because of it versatility.