Spot the New Yorker

We’re on a weekend getaway with friends in Pucon, it’s raining cats and dogs, and I finally have time to do some mindless web surfing. While reading the NY Times online, I came across a statement written by Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine that hit close to home. In her expose on what she wore for one week, including a family trip to Santa Barbara, she wrote, “All black, head to toe, just to make it easier for everyone to spot the New Yorker.

When we first moved to Chile, virtually all of my clothes were in black. In my former busy schedule, black was a mindless choice. It worked with everything, always looked chic, and made colors pop when combined. However, it made me stand out as a gringa, which was the last thing that I wanted. It was enough that my different facial features and hair drew constant stares. Our private joke is that I’m just a “weird pet.”

The wearing of black is such a New York thing. When I lived in the western part of the U.S., my clothes had taken on a greater, and more colorful, vibrancy. However, upon moving back to New York, black regained its reign in my wardrobe. It must be the New York frame of mind.

In Chile, women are not afraid of color, or indeed, of being feminine. After three years, I am finally growing accustomed to seeing women news commentators and politicians wearing frilly, girly clothes. The conditioning to wear clothes that shout, “take me seriously,” just isn’t a necessity here.

Putting aside the fact that my two virtually albino puppies make wearing black an impossibility, that is, unless I’m willing to devote countless time to meticulously extracting white hair with packing tape, my husband is just plain tired of seeing me in plain black. During a recent outing to the mall, my color-deprived mate has admonished that I should buy anything but black, or more specifically, “you’re not ‘allowed’ to buy any black anymore.”

So, as I sit and type, wearing black silk turtleneck top, Columbia black vest, dark jeans and black socks, I agree that perhaps it’s time to give the rest of the color spectrum a chance. It’s time to adopt a Chilean frame of mind.

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