I don’t remember exactly where I heard it except that it was on T.V.. Two characters were shopping on whatever show I was watching and one character said to the other “get the black one, black is slimming.” I was maybe ten or twelve when I saw this and it was when I started becoming more aware of my body, of how others saw it and how I started to see it because of them. My classmates used to make fun of what I looked like running and I started to notice the rolls of flesh on my stomach, tried sucking it in to look thinner. But I remember when I heard that line on T.V. I was amazed that all I had to do was wear black clothes to at least look thinner; to at least look what I thought might be pretty.
Fast forward to a last year when I wore a pink sweater to work and a co-worker commented on how she liked the colour on me because I usually only wear black or grey. Fast forward to this past Christmas when one of my friends bought me a beautiful multicoloured green cardigan because she had also noticed how much black and grey I wore and wanted to brighten up my wardrobe.
It’s weird how one line on T.V. can affect a person so much. I wonder what else I’ve picked up from the movies and T.V. shows I’ve watched, from the books I’ve read, the music I’ve listened to. What other things have I ingrained into myself to look and act a certain way? I wonder what things I do that are normal now, what habits I have are because of something I saw on T.V., because of an article online, things I haven’t realized yet. Granted I can’t say for sure whether that slimming line is the reason I where so much black, I know that I started buying and wearing more black clothes because of it. But maybe it’s more than that, maybe I wear duller colours because they don’t stand out, and maybe that’s how I feel sometimes.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it. But maybe there’s something to it, how what we consumer can put these tiny thoughts into our head, ways to be desirable or liked by others without even realizing what we’re doing. Thoughts that inevitably backfire because even if we wear black to look thinner or buy something to look pretty we can’t replicate how the actors and models look wearing them. And then we see more flaws and consume more and try different things to try to be what companies want us to be.
This past weekend I was going through and refolding all of my clothes that I had stuffed away into various drawers. I folded my clothes by colour (I like to pretend I’m organized, it’s usually more chaotic but if I can find what I’m looking for then that’s all that matters) and was surprised to see how much black and grey I own. More than half of my t-shirts are black or grey, same with my sweaters. When I choose my outfits I find myself being drawn to the black first and I wonder if it’s all because of some passing line I heard on T.V..
But I’m trying to change that now. When I go shopping I try to force myself to look at things that are brighter, things with lots of colour. I don’t want to subconsciously be following some twisted fashion advice from an outdated T.V. show; I don’t want to be making myself invisible in the way I dress. That’s not to say I’m going to purge my wardrobe of black, only that it won’t be the only thing I wear, that I won’t hide myself away in it.
It’s time to add some colour in my life and to focus on what makes me happy, not what a corporation is telling me.
(Imaged found here.)