Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Rainbow Connection

Regardless of how wrong Kermit the Frog is about songs about rainbows (there aren't all that many, really), I can use him as a very convenient segway to this week's topic: Why aren't women dressing in colours at the moment? I understand how practical blacks, greys and whites are, and how they suit 'any occasion and any budget' but I don't understand the conformity.

I was walking down Rundle Mall in Adelaide the other day and noticed a shopping strip nearly devoid of colour. Everyone was wearing black, grey or white. From a guy's perspective, black and dark colours are pretty much what we wear - we look good in them and, really, it's sort of been the shades guys have dressed in for centuries. Women on the other hand are usually more colourful and striking and like to turn heads when they go out. I like having my head turned when I'm walking around; it's like a bolt of joy out of the blue. It's usually something different about the head-turner that grabs my attention - it might be that they are staggeringly beautiful and shine in a sea of normalcy or, usually, they are dressed in a colourful and attention-grabbing way. I like these moments. The colours make the person look happy, confident and interesting, and they stand out from the background. There was nothing like that on Friday.

Everywhere I looked I saw the same drab clothing; it almost made me feel like I was in that Apple commercial from the mid-eighties. On reflection it makes sense because the world is going through a very similar phase right now. People are losing their jobs, stock prices are diving, and people are saving their pennies and restraining any disposable spending they might otherwise be doing. The world, in the eyes of many, is a depressing place at the moment, so why are people dressing accordingly? Wouldn't it be better if there was a splash of colour to brighten our days? Some bright colours would lift the spirits of workers and shoppers alike and exude a general feeling of happiness and well-being. Some call it 'faking it till you're making it', but a genuine mindset change has to start somewhere.

In Egypt there was colour everywhere on the street and most of it came from the headscarves that many girls and young Muslim women wore. It brightened the street and put a smile on my face by distracting me from the asphalt, noise, concrete and cars. Perhaps Aussie women should take a very small leaf out of the Cairo book and whack a bit of colour on to brighten their day. They'll look happier, feel happier, and make everyone who looks upon them a bit happier too. Try a bright scarf maybe, or an iridescent hat, or a jacket which screams 'I'm very bright and very happy, perhaps you'd like to turn your head as I walk past?'
I'll be turning my head for sure... if it's bright enough.