Image credit: Pexels
Well, I don’t only wear neutrals, but definitive titles are better for clicks- ha! I mostly wear neutrals (there’s an exception to every rule) – but that’s not as snappy. Regardless, it’s an overall style choice that invokes some ire around the internet about how ethical and slow fashion all looks the same, and how neutrals are simply the trend right now. And there’s certainly some truth to that – the pendulum will swing back, as it always does in fashion.
I think for me, though, neutrals are the be-all, end-all for my closet and personal style. I had a love affair with neutral clothing long before we were talking about capsule wardrobes or minimalism. I distinctly recall one conversation with my mother, when I was 14 or 15, while we were doing some back to school shopping. I was allowed to pick out a few items for the new year, and, after a couple of hours in the mall, she asked me, “Are you going to pick out anything that isn’t gray, white, navy or black?”
The answer was no.
As I got older and the J. Crew pattern-mixing trend came to be, I began wearing bolder pieces of clothing. But ultimately, that look didn’t suit how I wanted to present myself, and it didn’t work all that well for my life.
When I was 23, or maybe 24, I started to slowly rebuild my neutral wardrobe because I wanted to project a more mature, sophisticated image. While my neon pink pumps and chunky necklaces had a good run when I first started working, I realized that if I wanted to be taken more seriously, I needed to dress more seriously (this certainly doesn’t apply to every career or every person, but it did for me). Standing at 5’3″ and, up until recently, looking younger than my age, how I dressed was a simple way I could have more control over people’s perception of me.
The real turning point in my quest to build a more sophisticated wardrobe, however, was a particularly embarrassing moment when I was out with my boyfriend (now husband!). We were at a bar with some friends and the bartender asked for my ID, which I provided. But then, this bartender carried on that they could not believe I was 24 because I looked so young, and wow, I looked like I was in high school.
I can generally laugh at myself, but for some reason, this was the exchange that really got to me. Maybe it was because of the company I was with, or maybe it was because I was just so tired of people carrying on about my appearance. But in any case, I had really had it, and decided that my wardrobe needed to become much more polished.
I’ve seen a lot of benefits in having a neutral wardrobe, and wanted to share a few of them with you here. While we will, inevitably, start to see more color from our favorite brands soon, there’s something to be said for finding comfort in those taupes, oatmeals, camels, blacks, creams, and ecrus – and letting your personality be the most colorful thing about you.
It projects a polished and sophisticated image.
I think this benefit is particularly relevant to petite people. Granted, I have gotten older and certainly look older than I did in my early twenties. But I found that once I started wearing classic, neutral clothing, people seemed to inherently understand that I was a young professional and not a high school student. Breaking up with my neon shoes and polka-dot tops resulted in people taking me more seriously – they focused less on my appearance and more on my work or what I was saying. My clothing gave me control over my narrative. Additionally, wearing classic clothing gave me the confidence to carry myself in a more mature way – which is what ultimately made the difference in how people perceived me.
If you travel a lot, it makes life much easier.
I travel frequently – mostly for work, sometimes for pleasure. I go to Europe anywhere between two and five times a year for my job, at least once (either tacked on to one of those trips, or on my own) to visit friends of mine in Paris, and then there are the domestic trips I take for meetings or for vacations. That’s a lot of packing.
Before my wardrobe was comprised primarily of neutral clothing, I had to pack so many things to travel. Very few of my clothes worked together, so if I wanted to bring a particular top, I had to also bring a particular skirt. My wardrobe offered me very few opportunities to mix and match my clothing. They also made me stand out in ways that I perhaps didn’t want to stand out in, as a young woman often traveling alone. I can now pack for nearly all of my trips with just a carry-on.
Like colors are easier to maintain.
This doesn’t apply just to neutrals, but having a color scheme for your wardrobe makes maintaining your clothing much easier. It’s easy for me to wash items without worrying about colors bleeding, so I can wash many of my items in the same load of laundry, save for any overly fuzzy sweaters or delicate items. It’s a major time saver! It also feels worth it to purchase specialty detergents, because they work on so many of my clothes and I’m not buying them for use on just a few items.
Outfit details: Dress, Amour Vert.
Do you have a more neutral or colorful wardrobe? And, if you wear a lot of neutrals, have you found it has made getting dressed easier?