Saturday 27 June 2015

Back to black... Clothes, that is!

I lasted more than a month!

In my last blog ( I talked about the challenge I'd set myself to #wearnoblack. And I did it. Even at a professionals 'black tie' event. For over a month. Both at play and (often more of a challenges) at work.

This week, I went back to wearing black - deliberately and consciously. And it had to be, because I realised that I'd created a new habit*. The habit of NOT wearing back.

It felt odd. I wore black trousers, a white top, royal blue shoes and a black, white, blue patterned jacket. An outfit that I'd often worn on auto-pilot before. It fit the workwear formula: wear a black dress, skirt or trousers and work around that.

Denise Sanderson-Estcourt, FCIPD
The jacket - worn with a white top and black trews!

So I went to work and for the first time in a month not one person mentioned my outfit. Not one! I didn't miss the comments through vanity but honestly... Work genuinely seemed quieter, and the weather was a bit miserable! I'd spent the whole month wearing colour, enjoyed the challenge, and felt bright. The bonus was that it triggered so many conversations starting with comments like:
  • You really know how to put colours together
  • You always look (insert something flattering!) in colour
  • Your colour combinations always cheer me up
  • What colours should I wear to make me look so vibrant?

All the comments/questions reinforced that colour can really create a positive mood, and done in an appropriate way (eg for your personal colouring and environment), colour can be the starter of a great conversation - because we don't always see too much colour in corporate environments.

The following day to complete the experiment, I wore two bright but complimentary colours and no black again. My boss queried what was up that I'd worn black the day before, a colleague said she'd didn't think I'd smiled as much as 'normal' and our College librarian said - you looked like a CEO-in-waiting yesterday (and whilst diplomatic she didn't seem to mean it in a good way, no offence to CEO's!)

Now, I get that for some people that's what they're going for. The blend-in look or the I'm corporate look. And that's fine. But, consider this...

In colour I still looked professional. (There was still a formula eg jacket, heels, appropriate length attire). And, here's the real thing - I also brought a little life to my look and managed to cheer people up at a time when happiness/wellbeing at work is high on the agenda.

Madeleine Albright rose in colour!

Going forward, I will wear black. And colour. But I will be really conscious of when. And mindful of why.

So, I ask you again - how long could you go without wearing black?
And I challenge you - If black is an auto-pilot staple for you, try going without wearing it for a while and let me know how you get on!

Have a bright weekend!
Denise x

PS - *They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

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Wednesday 3 June 2015

A ban on black! Clothes, that is...

How many of you could wear NO black for a week?

The lovely Angie Greaves is on a mission with her #wearlessblack hashtag, but I've managed to inadvertently set myself the challenge of wearing no black to set a colourful example at work. I'm not sure that I'll keep going much longer but it's been a while since I last wore any black at all. For some people I know that'd be near on impossible as they revolve their whole wardrobe around black trousers! On the other hand, I recently met a lady who said she felt 'liberated' the day an image consultant 'suggested' that it didn't flatter her.

My colour combinations are all based on my colour palette and importantly, an understanding of how to combine them to suit my colouring, personality and lifestyle & work.

Here are some of the combinations I've gone for (so far)...









Do you have a fave colour combo from my selection of outfits, and what colour combinations could you go for from your existing wardrobe that doesn't include any black?

Hope you're enjoying the sunshine!
Denise x

PS - I've also had a navy & white PJ day, and my bag is taupe!

  • Call on: 07887 643807 for a body confidence coaching session or image services
  • Look at:
  • Follow at: @DenDamBelle
  • Check out my Pintrest: Denise Sanderson-Estcourt
  • Like me at: Damson Belle on Facebook
  • Join: This blog!