Life in Color
Read Rita Wilson's forward to Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo's Life in Color.
Color scares me. When Jesse asked if I would write the intro to his and Joe's new book, I replied, "What would a 'whimsical/chic/rocked out' who loves black and gray know about color?" I told him I would think about it since I was so busy sorting my black t-shirts by sleeve length, v-neck, scoop neck, Henley, crew neck, bedazzled, J.Crew, and designer. But being in the blanket of black T's got me thinking. What happened? I used to wear color. I used to love color. I was a color person.

In the 80's I wore a shocking pink taffeta Vicky Tiel gown with matching shoes and gloves to the Academy Awards. There was that acid green Yohji Yamamoto 3 piece satin suit I wore to my 10th high school reunion. Somewhat recently, there was a turquoise Juicy Couture sweat suit I wore one summer, even though I did more eating than sweating in it. All this remembrance of raiments past made me nostalgic for something. I missed color. When I think back on my favorite dresses so many of them were colorful. I loved bright floral prints more than I liked stripes or graphic prints. I liked color blocking, where one bright color was on top and another on the bottom. I used to layer 2 different colored t-shirts over a pair of jeans. A bright colored purse or scarf thrilled me. A coral necklace made me quiver.

But there was also some uncertainty about color. I knew some colors looked better on me than others, but didn't quite know why. I knew yellow looked better on my blonde girlfriends while I looked like a fire hydrant in it. Lavender, which always looked so luscious on the hanger, made me look like last year's lilacs. On me, light greens, the color of doctor's scrubs, made me look as if I should be on a stretcher being rushed to the hospital. All the uncertainty of which colors actually looked good on me made wearing color too much of a gamble. Color was hard. It was easier to just wear what was safe. That's when I started the descent into darkness.
Even though I was finding it very comfortable in my blagreigebrown world, I loved seeing everyone else in color. I admired the confidence of women who would wear a red gown. Even though I am not a green person, I was secretly envious of women who could wear it. It made me blue to see women wearing blue, which, in my closet, would only appear in the form of jeans and the occasional navy sweater. I was wearing black but I was tangled up in the blues.

Black has its virtues though. Black, as we all know, is chic. It is classic. It is safe. It is easy. It always looks clean. It is slimming. It goes with everything. It is easily identifiable. No one ever asks, "Hey, what do you call that color". There are no confusing euphemisms for it as there are for, say, maroon, as in aubergine or eggplant, or melitzana, which is Greek for aubergine. And how did aubergine get into the English lexicon anyway?

While we are on the subject of black, let me give a shout out to white. White reflects light and can be bleached. That's all I have to say about white. As far as I'm concerned, white has no virtues. It is not good. Anyone who wears white is far too confident for my tastes. That person, with their bright, bleached, toothy grin, is shouting, "Ha! I mock you and your fear of dirt. Fie on stains! I look so perfect in white that I need not eat, drink nor be merry! I will starve to achieve this look of perfection!" Yes, starve. Because there is not a woman alive who will put on a pair of white pants and think her butt looks damn good in them. There will always be the fear that when you're checking your rear end out you will see a sticker on the 3 way mirror that says, "Caution: items in this mirror are larger than they appear."

And white T shirts! I am exhausted trying to find the perfect white T shirt that doesn't cling, hits at the right length, isn't see through, is the right thickness, doesn't have to be thrown away after 3 washings and doesn't stretch out while you are wearing it. White is for doctors and brides, ok? Ok. Fine. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh on white. All right. I confess. I actually love white. I love the way it reflects light on my face. I love the way white makes me look when it's summer and I have a slight fake tan. I love a white bathrobe after a shower. I do love white. But white doesn't love me as much as black does. Black is comfy. Black is good to me. What has black ever done to harm me? Black is black. That's why I am loyal to black. I am a monochromatic monogamist. Or am I?

Reminiscing about my bygone romances with color has awakened a desire in me to revisit the temptation of tint. It has been too long since I have lived without color in my clothes. Besides, I had some really good times with color. What's so scary? There really isn't anything to lose (except for a few pounds here and there). What's the worst that can happen? Some dog might mistake me for that hydrant? I can always go back to the safety of my neutrals. If I try color no one is going to get hurt, except maybe that person who wears white and looks perfect all the time. So, I'm going to go for it. I am going fearlessly into the wild blue yonder of spectrum. I am ready to ride the rainbow of risk to find that jackpot of goldenrod. It is time to come out of the shadows and into the light of color. Out of my way, beige. Fuchsia, here I come!

Rita's rock-your-age makeovers

Jesse and Joe's guide to shopping your closet


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