We all do something to feel powerful. I dress in black. It’s one of the most distinctive characteristics of my personal style, aside from wearing a leather jacket (black, of course) and red lipstick. Although it wasn’t always the case, my mornings have become prettier, easier and more inspiring since I started wearing black as armor.
This phenomenon started in January 2015 when I moved to Madrid, Spain to study at the Complutense University. Because of the low temperatures, no one cared about trends and it no longer mattered if my coat and boots didn’t go together. So, during my first month in Madrid, I substituted my red trench coat for a navy and black one I got at the Zara sale in hopes to simplify my mornings.
The constant travel also contributed to this change. You can enjoy the not-so-routinely routine of planes, buses and trains crossing all over Europe way better when you don’t think about what you are wearing. But, my mother taught me to never let style go, so I instilled a packing system that included pieces of only three colors: black, navy and gray.
Once I was back in Puerto Rico, it was difficult to let go of the leather jacket and boots that accompanied me for six months. I started my first job in the corporate world and refused to adopt the pantsuit as a lifestyle. On the other hand, I was still a college student, so my wardrobe needed to be as versatile as the activities I exercise each day.
The formula is now simple: I wear different iterations of the same thing every day. I might wake up wanting to wear a black A-line dress, black leather jacket and black boots or black jeans, a black shirt and black pumps.
Yes, my mother now thinks that I am part of a gothic clan. Going on dates have become an endless supply of jokes (eg. ‘Black is the new black’ or ‘Are you going to a funeral?’). I’ve had to invest in underwear, shoes, accessories and pajamas to maintain the aesthetic in all aspects of my life. But still, the statement is clear: wearing black makes me happy.
I’ve been able to corroborate how fashion influences in the construction of our identities. It is a way of creating characters daily, an opportunity to reinvent oneself each day. But, what happens when a style becomes who you are?
According to an article on Man Repeller, this is called ‘Style Nirvana’ and has been adopted by personalities like Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and Karl Lagerfeld. Also, a recent study revealed that people feel more confident when they wear black. At 21, I guess I am in good company.
Despite the critiques, countless memes my friends leave on my Facebook wall or the fact that my co-workers compare me to a beauty salon employee, I remain firm on my relationship with black. Maybe it’s predictable and doesn’t look like much fun, yet the key to personal style is not finding someone else when you look in the mirror. It’s about walking past crystal windows on the street and not see the reflection of what others want you to be. Instead, you see what you have chosen to be.
There is no greater feeling than looking in the mirror before going to work, dressed in black wearing badass boots and red lipstick knowing that Russell Crow’s armor in Gladiator will never compare to my black midi skirt.
This article was originally published in Bodega Blush.