I went into Nordstrom one day itching for a new lipstick. When you want to change things up, choosing a new lipstick color is the least expensive way to experiment with something new. I thought this would be easy.
After Elina, my favorite Beauty Stylist in Nordstrom, Corte Madera (now the manager of the whole department), peered at me for a good ten minutes (okay, it just felt like ten minutes), she uttered one word: orange.
ORANGE? She reached for Hot Orange, a Bobbi Brown color crayon, and applied it.
HOT ORANGE? Are you kidding me? I nearly lost my balance. I certainly lost my sense of self for a minute. I’d never imagined that a woman my age (or me at any age) would wear a color that strong, that bright. I protested. She said definitively, “It suits you.”
I always do what Elina tells me to do but it took me a couple of weeks to get used to it. Getting compliments helped me steady myself. It was turning into a pleasant surprise.
I think this happens to many of us: we march along doing our thing, our same old thing, and then inspiration hits, or someone else’s inspiration hits like Elina’s, and we do something different. I went from color shock to signature color. I’ve worn this shade for months and months.
I wanted more
And then orange came onto my radar. Months later I walked into Ann Taylor and saw a Hot Orange sweater. I’d already warmed up to the shade so it didn’t seem so weird to try it on. The salesperson said, “Wow, you wear that color well!” I could see it myself. This woman, me, who was comfortable in gray, black, white, and navy was looking at herself in the mirror wearing solid, bright orange and it wasn’t scary! Well, maybe a tiny bit.
A few weeks later I was back in Ann Taylor and a Hot Orange cotton trench coat was on the racks. Could I dare? My daughter Erin was with me and said, “Wait a couple of weeks. I bet it goes on sale.” I did, and it did. Sold to Brenda Kinsel.
Have you surprised yourself with something out of your comfort range?
What have you done that is so outside your comfort range? Think of that and then realize that I was feeling just like you were. A whole coat is a lot of clothing real estate. Surprise, surprise: I found myself wanting to wear it as much as I could.
What followed? Cotton Hot Orange pants by Vince Camuto for summer! They make me feel so spicy!
And not far behind came this orange BCBG dress, so ladylike. I wear it as a tunic. Suddenly orange is creeping closer to being a signature color for me. I dipped my toe in and now I’m into it up to my neck.
Granted, I’m only talking about five pieces of orange here, including the lipstick, but it has been impactful.
Will you discover something new?
There are beautiful hues coming out for fall. Will you experiment with something new? You can start small with a lipstick color, a scarf, handbag or shoe.
Then work up to bigger pieces like sweaters, dresses, coats, blazers, or pants. Just adding items one by one will help you decide if this color is bringing you joy beyond measure.
Please share what you’ve done in your wardrobe that’s surprised you and brought joy!