Neutral Territory

Time to Lighten Up for Summer 

Photography by Michael Dumler 

Photography by Michael Dumler 

Don’t get me wrong. I love to wear black. In fact, if you were to open my closet door you would be smacked in the face by the sheer volume of this hue versus the rest of my wardrobe. I grew up not wearing any black anything.  Outside of my high school uniform, my weekends were spent in jeans and preppy coordinates from J Crew. I started embracing the color black as a theater person in college. When I wasn’t on stage, I was behind it doing everything from lights to costumes. During my stint as a theater “techie” I donned the prescribed uniform- -head to toe black (you earned bonus points for wearing black Doc Martens). My older sorority sisters also taught me the power of a black ensemble and we were easily spotted on campus in our signature black baseball caps.  When I moved to New York, I quickly adopted the unspoken yet understood uniform of the streets--black everything. And, in an ironic twist, I spent nine out of my ten years at Bloomingdales adhering to a company dress code of...wait for it….black! The color black has had a starring role in my adult life. Yet, I find myself looking to lighten things up both literally and figuratively too, if you’re wondering. Baby steps--I’m still severely vitamin D deficient from this past winter.

I like to shop with a purpose-- a clear reason or idea of what I’m looking for. This saves time. My recent spring mission was to hunt for a neutral spring/ summer dress, not in black, that I could wear weekly day into night and not grow tired of. I have several requirements when I’m mission shopping: 1) future purchase needs to flatter my skin tone for the intended time of wear, (*note* that when I wear grey people ask if i’m ill or if something is the matter, not kidding);  2) needs to fit impeccably or have potential to be tailored to perfection; 3) needs to pass the “sit test” if buying a dress (no thank you to “side thigh” in a meeting, #awkward; 4) needs to be comfortable; and 5) I must feel like the best version of myself. I know it’s a lot to ask of a garment but it is possible.

I like to gradually ease into spring in warm neutrals like khaki’s and honey tones, and yes, I like to match my outfit back to my medium brown hair and eye color when possible.  I have found that knowing the colors that flatter your skin tone, hair and eye color can simplify the shopping process by creating focus. I always imagined that if I had blue eyes (which I don’t),  I would live in a beautiful blue world! Play up your assets I say. I have a test called the “light up” effect. When I go into a fitting room I ask myself “does this color light me up?” Or do I look sad, tired or simply dull? For me, khaki’s and browns are my thing and a great way for me to transition into true color come summer time.

When I saw this khaki style fit and flare dress from Derek Lam 10 Crosby’s new spring summer collection online I knew I had to have it #swoon. I raced down to the Soho boutique and tried this on along with the entire spring summer 2018 delivery (Derek just gets me). This dress is now part of my wardrobe rotation--one of my spring uniforms. It’s my gateway dress as I take baby steps towards an expanded palette of spring color.  Next stop is the Clarins counter for some self tanner.