I’m sorry for the swear in the title, but not that sorry because you can blame the creator of the look at my fucking red trousers blog, which I always found to be tremendously amusing browsing material and couldn’t help but reference. These aren’t red trousers, obviously, but they are very yellow. Fucking yellow, you might say – undeniably and offensively and brilliantly yellow. They say ‘look at me’ and attract stares and ‘your trousers are very…bright’ and maybe, if I’m *really* lucky, the odd comment from a passing creep.
I love them.
Not because of the potential for attracting unwanted attention from unsavoury individuals, obviously, but for a whole host of other reasons. And it’s been these trousers that have reminded me, recently, of why I love wearing brights; how they make me feel like I’m interacting with my own mind and other people. Sounds a bit deep, I know, but humour me. It’s both a bit of fun and completely serious (in a way that isn’t serious, you know?).
Let’s start with the cliché that’s almost boring but shouldn’t be underestimated; they make you happy. They make me happy, anyway. There’s something very joyful and ‘I can do anything’ (as I once read in a Vogue article, like a person who is good at following fashion) about yellow in particular, hence my love of these particular trousers.
Bright colours are unashamedly attention grabbing; wear something that looks like you might need sunglasses to look straight at it and you will get looks thrown your way, in my experience. For that reason, I think lots of people think you need confidence to wear them, and to a degree there’s something in that; it’s certainly easier to don a bright jumpsuit or highlighter-esque trousers if you feel confident in yourself, and any resulting attention isn’t going to make you want to hide away.
Because instead of using your clothes as a way to minimise any attention the world might throw at you while you’re just trying to go and pick up a loaf of bread, brights very definitely say ‘LOOK AT ME, I AM HERE’. It’s something I’ve come to love about them, and when I’m in a particularly disgruntled mood, I like to think of this as a nice little fuck you to anyone who expects you to blend seamlessly into the background, only seen when someone else wants to see you. That might be taking it too far, but I’m going to persist that there’s something in it.
If you don’t feel confident enough to wear something so bright it borders on offensive, though? Let the clothes give you confidence. When you’re attracting attention anyway, you sort of have to say fuck it, and just embrace yourself. I’m not an overly confident person, and am hugely prone to self-doubt and appearance related wobbles, but putting on something that stands out means you have to become suddenly really sure about yourself, even when you might not be feeling that way in general. Oh, the transformative power of dressing!
They attract comments – and compliments. As a general rule, people seem not to feel neutral about bright coloured clothing; many of them think it’s either hideous or glorious. Most people who think they’re hideous wont bother to tell you that (although its great when they do), and the people who think it’s glorious cant wait to tell you. I’ve rarely had such an outpour of outfit-related praise as I did on the first day I wore these, and hey, it’s nice to hear nice things about your outfit, so I’m game.
If they do think it’s hideous – and some people certainly do think these are the effing ugliest trousers they’ve ever seen – well, I’m only semi-embarrassed to admit that there’s something about wearing an outfit or an item of clothing that some people might find quite disgusting that sort of thrills me. It’s probably not a good quality in myself, but that sense that I’ve chosen something that someone doesn’t ‘get’ is one I’ve come to find rather satisfying. Taking offence is no fun, so instead I guess I’ve just chosen to take delight in the assurance that I’m being totally contrary (while also enjoying the comments of people who think I’m wearing something hugely agreeable, of course – kind of greedy, but if it works…).
And that’s why wearing brights can be more than randomly selecting an outfit but can also be randomly selecting an outfit at the same time, as demonstrated by the brightest trousers I own. Plus, they stand in quite well for the sun when it’s being less than forthcoming. Don’t say I don’t treat you, people of Norwich.
What I’m wearing
Trousers – Zara| Top – Primark| Blazer – New Look| Bag – Topshop | Shoes – Zara | Sunglasses – Primark
Photography: Robert Poor