I know you’re looking at a picture of me in a yellow coat in an antique store.
Ignore that for a moment so I can tell you where this story really starts.
You’d wonder if I’d turned into a crazed woman the day I tried on this Vince bouclé sweater, below. It was three weeks ago, the day I was getting fitted for my new bras at Nordstrom. My friend Mariam brought this yellow sweater into the dressing room and said, “Honey, this would look so good on you.” I didn’t see what she saw but I’d be polite and try it on. I put it on and lost my mind. (Is this what it’s like to do heroin?) I-had-to-have-this-color-in-my-life, yesterday.
Coming to my senses
I was obsessed with this color but a small portion of my discerning brain was still active and explained to me why I shouldn’t buy it. It said, “The top is too casual for your lifestyle. It’s too sloppy on you. It’ll be too warm to wear by May so you won’t get a lot of wear out of it. And Brenda Kinsel, did you look at the price tag? $320. You can’t do that. W-a-l-k a-way!”
I asked Mariam if there was any other item in the store that was this color. The answer was no. I was miserable.
Feeling sorry for myself
Was it my fate to enjoy this color on others but not on me? I know lovers of the color yellow. They’re in my immediate family! One of them is my daughter, Caitlin. The other one was my mom. Look at them! They look fabulous in yellow! My only experience with this color was when Mom bought me a yellow angora scarf and matching gloves to go with the Homemade Coat she made me, black and white plaid, in high school. I grew out of it.
I enjoy this color in my home, most notably in a photograph Russ took of a dahlia with curled edges. It’s blown up big and sits in a 38-inch square frame on a wall in our kitchen. Maybe my destiny is to appreciate yellow; I just don’t wear yellow. We can’t have it all, right?
What are the chances I’d find something in yellow and in my price range?
If there is a fashion goddess, she saw me in that dressing room that day at Nordstrom, took note, and made it her mission to help me find something yellow. How else can you explain what happened two weeks later?
I had errands to run in Novato after work one Thursday. I was driving down Grand Avenue and spotted an antique store, Sentimental Journey Antiques. There were the sweetest vintage aprons hanging in the window. Caitlin is my apron girl. Mother had given her aprons and so have I. There was a parking space right in front. I decided to stop and look for aprons for Caitlin.
There were so many of them. I got overwhelmed trying to choose the perfect one. I turned my head. Three feet from the apron section was a yellow coat stuffed on a corner rack with other clothes. I don’t shop for clothes in antique stores. I was way out of my comfort zone and without a posse of cheerleaders (like daughters) encouraging me to try something new.
I hoisted up my big girl panties and slipped it on. It felt so good on my body. It was a bouclé fabric like the Vince sweater I’d tried on. I went in search of a mirror. The sales associate found me in a crowded corner in front of an old armoire and raved about the color on me. I asked her to take a picture of me in it so I could text it to my daughters and get their opinions.
Erin, an old pro at shopping vintage, was most interested in the price tag which was $75. She thought I should press for a discount. I did. The shopkeeper was willing to take twenty bucks off the price.
Caitlin’s message was short and sweet, but by the time she replied I was the owner of a second hand yellow vintage bouclé coat that my mother would have been tickled pink to see me in. She’d have gotten a giggle over the fact that I was wearing a coat that she could have worn herself in the late ’50s or early ’60s. She’d have said, “Oh, Babe, it’s so pretty on you!”
I wore that yellow coat within twenty-four hours
Next, I did what I usually do when I buy something new: I wore it immediately.
In less than 24 hours I was wearing it when I arrived at a meeting at the building site of a home my clients are building. This meeting was to decide paint colors for all the rooms, grout colors for the tile work and to approve closet designs. I’ve been my client’s right hand arm during this whole project, helping her make color and design decisions all along the way. Carol is at these meetings too. She’s from the architecture firm. We’re a great team.
They LOVED the yellow coat when I walked along the planks and through the plastic sheeting where the doors will be. And the yellow coat came in handy when we were in the bedroom closet spaces fine tuning the width of the shelving that will go in there. I know how my client folds clothes that she stores on shelves, including jeans. “How about I take my jeans off, fold them, put them on the floor and measure. That way it will be easier to decide,” I said.
“Really? You want to do that?” they both said. “How else will we know? Besides, I have my yellow coat on. It’s not like I’m going to be naked or anything.” I folded my jeans, plopped them on the floor, measured, and decided. Easy peasy. (Thank you, yellow coat!)
Forty-eight hours later my yellow coat went wine tasting
On day two of owning the yellow coat, Russ and I started celebrating his birthday a day early. We went to brunch at Boonfly Café and then decided to poke around at Domaine Carneros Winery to check out the views. We ended up doing a champagne wine tasting outdoors on the wide veranda. What a great way to celebrate his birthday, celebrate almost-spring, and make one of the toasts to the miracle of finding my coat.
What is the message of yellow?
When I got home, I went to my bookshelf and pulled out my book, In the Dressing Room with Brenda. I looked up my chapter that talks about color and its inherent messages. Of course, I wanted to read about yellow.
I thought about those words and my sudden love for this color. Maybe this chapter of my life is about fully embracing ‘creative, bright, cheerful, and optimistic’. But outgoing? I’m more of an introvert but you know what? To embrace the ‘outgoing’ part, all I have to do is think about Mother. She was all of that! I’m sure she’d be willing to be my heavenly mentor.
How are you wearing your favorite colors these days? Is yellow one of them?