There have been many accusations I’ve denied over the years, including thieving my neighbour’s cat (of which I was in fact guilty), eavesdropping on conversations that were none of my business (they were standing next to me) and plotting to make small children cry (there was no plotting – it was a snap decision). Whilst I may have been covering up certain events in a ‘the lady doth protest too much’ kind of way, there was one denial that was not only fervent, but true also.
I was accused of being a clothes racist.
I can feel the eyebrows raising from here. You see – the thing is, I’m one of life’s natural colour-wearers. Up until last November, when I bought a pair of black jeans in the sale at H&M, I’d never owned a black item of clothing. I’d worn black, sure, but only because I’d been obliged to (school and work uniforms). I’d never even considered it as something I’d wear… Socially, for lack of a better word.
I suddenly found myself having to justify my choice to only wear colourful clothes and to shun black in favour of a forest’s worth of greens; or Barbie pink. As I’ve said, I choose clothing that represents who I am or my current mood and I couldn’t understand the judgements or preconceptions behind my choice to not wear black – and, conversely, others’ choice to wear nothing but the colour.
This has left me in a slightly defensive frame of mind and I suddenly find myself losing the urge to make the following two points:
You don’t have to be a goth to wear black
Some people look amazing in black. It’s as if they were made to wear the colour. They may experiment with fabrics, cuts and textures, stay with one colour and look astonishing. However, thanks to popular culture associating dressing all in black with representations of belonging to the goth culture or being a Pagan or Wiccan (and we’re talking about the deeply-rooted stereotypical visions here, not necessarily what we find in real life), that’s what dressing in black has become associated with. Then again, you could be a massive fashion bitch like the ones patrolling the catwalks at fashion shows. You could even be a manic-depressive. All these qualities have been pushed on people who choose to wear black with no consideration for the fact that it could be a preference. Would you like someone to assume that you’re nothing more than a camper van-loving hillbilly because you love hanging out in dungarees and a straw hat?
You don’t have to be gay to wear colour
It’s the one thing that gets bandied about time and again and you’d be forgiven for thinking that people have gotten over it. People assume that if a man wears a lot of colour, then he’s gay. OK, in some cases *cough* it may be accurate, however; in an increasing number of other cases it is in fact a complete fallacy. Do me a favour, the next time you’re out in a clothes shop. Paying no attention to the clothes themselves, take a look at the men’s and women’s departments. Have a look at the colours available. I’ll bet you any money you like that the colours out there for men are duller and that there’s less of a range. Due to this, there’s an association with colourful clothing and the feminine; if a man expresses himself in colourful clothing, there’s an association between the man and the feminine – and, as we all know, a feminine man is often determined to be gay. Let men wear colour without associating it to a sexuality.