Archives for posts with tag: black and white

Shortly after I started this blog, I posted about the contents of my closet. The take-away was that its inventory was pretty ho-hum: jeans, khaki chinos, black pants, black turtlenecks and white shirts. In my defense, ¬†there were also cardigans in turquoise, chartreuse and violet blue, as well as silver ballet slippers, turquoise sandals, and fuschia wedges. (and don’t forget the leopard suede flats!) Overall though, it was a pretty plain picture, and in retrospect, very indicative of how I felt- inconsequential and invisible, uncertain of what to do next.

What a difference a year or so makes.

I’ve not added a lot to the repertoire (no need, sorry to say) but it’s easy to spot: chinos, again, but this time a pair in turquoise and one in acid yellow. Another button-down shirt, but now, deep coral. I didn’t make a conscious effort to add the bright colors; they just seemed right. I like to think that this reflects a deeper change: a willingness to take a little risk, and to be noticed, and a general lightening of attitude.

Lest you think that it’s more a sign that I have just lost my damn mind, I must mention the other few additions I made: cotton sweater sets, one black, one white, as well as a pair of low heeled perforated oxfords in ivory and a pair of saddle color flats. You can take the girl out of the basic, but only so far…

When I made the move home, I travelled light. I took the opportunity to winnow my wardrobe, tossing or donating anything that was outdated to worn out, or just didn’t suit me anymore. I wasn’t worried, since I knew I had no idea of what I’d really need until I knew what I’d be doing.

The summer wardrobe for Durham isn’t complicated when you aren’t working: a couple of pairs of lightweight cotton pants, a pair of shorts, a skirt or two and a few T-shirts and shirts and you are good to go. I knew (and hoped) that I might be talking to people about work, so I ordered a cotton blazer and pants for the interviews that never materialized. (At least they are still fresh and ready for this year.)

Winter came, and I swapped out the lightweight pants for a couple of pairs of jeans and a pair of slim black pants. (After discovering that the wool pants I’d brought with me had all shrunk (*cough*) over the summer in their garment bag, I was mildly relieved that I had nowhere to wear them.)

Now that I am working a few days a week, and aggressively resuming my hunt for a more substantial job, it is time to assess what I have and what I might need. Here’s what I found:

Black turtlenecks: 3. Cotton ribbed, cotton loose fit, and silk-merino blend. Black V neck sweaters: 2. One is slightly longer and newer than the other. Black T-shirts: 3. One long-sleeved crew neck, one long-sleeved scoop neck with detachable scarf, and one short-sleeved crew neck. Black cotton button down shirt, elbow length sleeves. (Do we see a pattern here?)

White shirts: 5. One basic ¬†cotton button down, one waffle weave cotton button down with French cuffs, one cotton tuxedo style ruffle front, one “safari” style cotton button down, and one linen button down. (I like what I like.)

But I branch out- I have the same safari shirt in natural colored linen, and a short-sleeved, cotton ribbed turtleneck in a nice tobacco color.

And I couldn’t figure out why I was bored with my clothes…

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George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (

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