Over and Under

Here is something I’ve noticed lately:

When my confidence is up, my clothes change.

Not the basic fundamentals – I am still a jeans-and-baggy-jumper girl whatever the weather – but the colours shift alarmingly. The black, navy and grey that dominate my wardrobe in the winter months give way to appallingly eyecatching colours. Suddenly I find baby blue garments nestling conspicuously next to the navy, or a vibrant pink sweater appears, garishly singular amongst all the black.

Even though I’m the one who bought them, they still catch me off guard. Most days I see them and quickly slide the hangers over to hide the cocky colours from view. I reach for the baggy navy jumper and the jeans.

Some days, though… Some days I reach for the pink. I pull it over my head and I feel like a softer version of myself. The colour smooths out my rougher edges and tones down the harshness in my head.

It’s hard to be a prickly badass in baby pink.

In my mind, the different hues have attitudes, and the attitudes permeate the wearer. Baby pink, for example, is non-confrontational and gentle and feminine. Yellow is a particularly arrogant colour. Orange is exhibitionist. Red is confidence and sex, kneaded together, squeezed, and distilled into a colour. Lilac is unthreatening. White is eye-poppingly self-assured. Deep purple is heavy-lidded desire, thick and syrupy. I tend towards the cooler end of the spectrum; the blues and greens that make me feel like a human waiting room. ‘Be calm,’ they say. ‘Be cool.’ The clothes are simple. No weird straps here. No highlighter hues or trendy cut outs. No ribbons, no ruffles, no prints.

My underwear drawer, on the other hand, is like a pride parade.

There are yellow lingerie sets, there are sets with cut-outs, there are purple, red, blue sets. There are sets that take fifteen minutes to get into, because it takes me that long to figure out which straps go where. There are sets that are definitely less rather than more, and others that require a full battalion of accessories. There are even sets with (whisper it) ruffles. I don’t care. I love them all. My underwear drawer is a safe place. These are the hidden things, the secret moods, the shimmering, playful undercurrents that lie beneath the black.

I’m sure that a psychologist would have a field day with this sartorial metaphor, or the way I reach for things without thinking, my mind a blissful blank, only to later realise my mood exactly matched what I wore that day, over and under.

For now, I’ll keep an eye on my wardrobe. The occasional pink jumper is okay, but if I start wearing vibrant prints….

Call for help.

**DISCLAIMER: These are just the ways colours make me feel; I’ve never looked at other people and felt any way at all about the colours they’re wearing except to think they look pretty!


  • bexoxo

    As I’m reading through, I’m thinking to myself, “Yes. Yes. Yes. Me too. Uh-huh. Yup,” all the way to the end. Then I look down and I’m dressed in a zebra stripped tank with the biggest ruffles I own flowing down the front with a blush pink cardigan over top… I guess I’m in one of those moods today. 😀

  • westcorkfit

    I think you are my soul sister. I once wore a below the knee, pencil skirt suit (dark grey) to an interview. Underneath, I wore thigh Hugh stockings, a plum coloured garter and a plum and pink bra that just about cupped my nipples. I came 1st on the panel!

  • curioussteph

    interesting how and to whom we express ourselves. I have a lot more interesting shirts than underwear. A mildly sad reflection on where I am in my life.

  • Anthony

    Whenever I think of pink, I think of the song and movie Pretty in Pink. I don’t quite think the song and the movie go together…but I kind of like the clash. Maybe it is because I think the song is sexier than the movie (except the Annie Potts scenes)
    Red is the colour of sex…..I think it can be, but I am not always sure. Thinking back, I remember Holly. The last photo I took of her was in a red sweater and she remains sexy in that image. Another friend had a red….we called it the garment because I have never seen any like it since and I definitely had never seen anything like it before…it was red, but it didn’t exude sexiness–though perhaps it should have.
    Once again your posts evoke a random response from my memory and soul. Sorry. I could delete it, but once it is on the screen I just have to set it free.

    • Quinn

      I love seeing how words can trigger feelings or memories in other people, so thank you for sharing this!

  • Amy

    Girl, me too. I wear black almost exclusively (though I have to admit, lately I seem to be breaching out into dark greens and the occasional blue) but my underwear drawer is all colours of the rainbow!

  • Emelie Samuelson

    For the first time, we are polar opposites! I dress like a cartoon character, and my underwear drawer is full of such innocent and boring stuff! Teach me your ruffly ways!!

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