16 January 2007

Black: not as safe as you think.

On my way back from lunch this afternoon, I got stuck walking behind two taking-their-sweet-time chatty Cathys for the better part of a full block. I tried moving to the right, but the shorter of the two had a slight right-veer and cut me off every time. I tried moving to the left but quickly gave up after coming thisclose to being close-lined by what looked like a linebacker in a New Jersey-housewife embellished track suit. Annoyed as I was to have two relatively thin women take up the entire width of a sidewalk, the leisurely pace gave me a chance to enjoy my two new obsessions: Feist ("Secret Heart," specifically) and scouring ConnAve for blog fodder.

As I neared the end of the block (and the end of my song), I frustratingly - and unusually - hadn't witnessed a single blog-worthy style offense. In the bit of silence between the end of "Secret Heart" and the beginning of Boz Scaggs' "Lost it," however, I finally spotted her -- my muse. Muses, to be specific. In a messy mix of too-tight, too-baggy, faded, non-faded, textured and non-textured components, the two women right in front of me, the ones responsible for my tepid shiitake bisque, were living and breathing proof that an all-black outfit is not always a woman's best friend.

All-black seems simple and safe enough. It seems like anyone at any size at any age could pull it off without having to invest much effort or shoulder much risk.

Not true.

Achieving Angelina caliber success when it comes to the monochromatic black look (which, I'm assuming, is every woman's goal) whether it be casual, professional, or evening, requires much more nuance than one might think.

When executed well, the all-black ensemble can make a woman look slimmer, seem sexier, not to mention give her the power to remind every man with whom she comes into contact of that hot ex-girlfriend he still Googles every once in a while at work.

When executed poorly, however, the sophistication falls flatter than a clumsy, unfunny Warren Beatty acceptance speech.

A head-to-toe critique of the women I saw today plus tips on how to do black correctly, day and night, will be posted later on tonight.

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