Black Obsession

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Black. That’s what I predominately see when I look into my closet. I swear that I will not bring home another piece of black clothing, but somehow, like trying to give up carbs, I weaken in a skinny minute and the black hole continues to grow.

What happened to my early days of Safari and Hawaiian prints? Who cares that they made me look bigger, at least I looked happy! And by the way, I look great in those brownish colors, and even better in purple, turquoise, and red. When did my taste change from sassy to drab, and how did I get so monotone? Am I depressed and don’t know it? Maybe it’s menopause! Probably the only reason I even have any color at all amongst my wardrobe is that black tops do not always match black bottoms. There’s nothing worse!

I think it all started with Chico’s. Yes, that’s where I put the blame! Those black stretch traveler pants that never wrinkle, and always fit because they grow with me, are the ultimate. Whether I am up twenty pounds or down twenty, those pants will lie to me like an old friend, and tell me that it’s okay to eat another piece of bread pudding. Then I needed fifteen matching black jackets and vests that coordinate with colored shells for going out in style and to make the outfit “pop!” Black belts and black handbags are a must to finish off “the look.” Sophisticated and classy, yes, but just plain boooooorrrrring! But I guess the other reason I love black is that it is so forgiving. No matter how overweight anyone is, they always look more slender in black, and I am no exception.

As for white, I have never liked wearing white, unless it is a black and white combination. White tops look dreadful on me with my dark complexion. Besides, I never liked seeing the thick five-hooker bra through my blouse. I guess if I had mini boobies, I would see it differently. Heck, I did not even get married in white, but rather ivory, because I looked like death warmed over in every pure white wedding dress that I tried on. Who cares whether it represented virginity? Since I wasn’t a virgin, it did not matter. My choice was black or purple, but my mom begged me not to. As usual, she was right!

Last week, I counted the number of black jeans I have hidden in various drawers in my house, and the number shocked even me…thirteen! Some of them are twenty years old, but they never look sloppy like blue jeans do. Why do I hide them you ask? Well, I don’t want my husband to see that I have sizes 8 to size 14 that I fit into at one time or another, and refuse to part with, just in case I grow or shrink whichever the case may be. You know, Semper Parati, the old boy scout motto of always being prepared. I have considered that if I discarded the larger ones, I would not be tempted to expand my horizons (my butt and thighs) but rather eat cautiously to remain svelte and slender. Been there done that. This psychology doesn’t seem to work for me.

As for shoes, I have thirty-one pair, counting winter and summer, flats and heels, and twenty are…you guessed it…BLACK! So why is that? It’s not that my foot looks more petite wearing black. Frankly, my feet are the only part of my anatomy that never seems to grow. I’m a perfect eight and a half, and have been since high school. But I must admit that when I am wearing black pants I like the continuity that black shoes make – a more streamlined effect. If I wear a red top with black slacks, I will still wear black shoes, instead of red. Add it all up and you get an excessive amount of black shoes.

Now for all of you who are still with me and have not stopped reading because you think I am slightly disturbed, here is a little money saving hint for you. I call it “black magic,” as I keep a black magic marker in my shoe closet, so that every time I get a scuff, I can touch it up with a quick rub of the marker. Even my summer sandals from last year received a magical makeover so that they can make it through one more season of hot sand and asphalt. Top them off with a little polish to boot, if you’ll excuse the pun, and they are almost brand new.

And as you would probably imagine, my bathing suits are always black “miracle” suits. A few years ago, I did break down and bought a brown one but then it did not match all my black cover-ups and black flip- flops, so I rarely wore it. In order to enliven my beach ensemble, I have a very floral beach bag, red sunglasses and silver studded black visor.

Enough already! A fashion Goddess, I’m not, and I know it, and my obsession with black is surely out of control. But the first step to conquering any problem is to admit it before God and the rest of the world. So, if you see me out and about, and I’m wearing something other than black, pleeeease cheer me on.

I need all the encouragement I can get.

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