Privilege Blog

Your Future May Be Hanging In Your Closet Right Now

Several years ago, my Artsy brother gave me this scarf, in hues of aqua, purple, mustard and olive.

Etro’s got good High WASP credentials, to be sure. My culture has long outsourced passion and color to our Mediterranean neighbors. e.g., Room With A View. But at the time of the gift I wore mostly navy blue. With white accents for drama, alternating with dramatic black and gray.

I’ll pause while you chortle.

This year my brother’s scarf has proved itself prophetic, a sign of things to come.

Let’s start with a cautious foray into J. Crew purples. Floral, then gingham. See the collar under a black sweater? That was my first day in the new job, October 2011. When I say cautious I’m not kidding.

I didn’t know I was heeding the scarf’s call when I bought an olive J. Crew Field Jacket. One never recognizes the first signs of visions realized. J. Crew was my fuffy, my adventurous friend holding my hand. Yet more purple followed, this time in cashmere. A little sky blue for good measure. Sky blue and turquoise are aqua’s cheerful friends.

If we imagine all this an actual prophesy, the Sibyl, a cave mouth, and all, the pairing of Isabel Marant’s off-purple jacket with a sky-blue striped shirt was well-nigh oracular. As was the entirely-too-much-purple pattern-mixing outfit below. Perhaps I made a quizzical face foreseeing that some day future Lisa would make me into an Internet paper doll. We do not always welcome prophesy.

This recently-acquired camel coat asserted the final color note, civilizing mustard if you will. Let us imagine turquoise earrings swinging like tiny incense holders. Or not. By the way, turns out even rational people like Dani find color guidance in their scarves.

So was this story…


Here’s the thing. I didn’t realize that I was dressing like my scarf until I was 2/3 way through. So I think of this process as predicted, rather than inspired. You may own something right now, something ready to tell a story. You may be more aware than I, and know exactly what it is.

38 Responses

  1. That is one sensational scarf! It is wonderful to be able to ‘shop’ my closet & drawers and find items I seldom wore that are perfect for today!!
    Great epiphany.

  2. Oddly enough, I love paisley prints, even if I own few of them, so I love that scarf. I also shop in the back of my closet for things I haven’t worn in a long time (simply because they didn’t fit). Today I found a lovely coral-colored knit tee with a matching blazer that I’d completely forgotten about. It looks quite nice with a pair of cream-colored slacks.

    You’ve had quite the effect on me, you know.

  3. How excellent and it was there the whole time! That’s a very nice brother you have by the way. And many thanks for the kind mention.

  4. Love this. Yes, sometimes I will buy something but discover Yikes! it goes with nothing! Even though I was sure when I purchased it that it would go with many things in my closet.
    But if I love it, it may lurk in the corners of the closet, biding its time.
    And then the season will change and a few purchases made and Voila!, all of the sudden, this one little item will be the one thing that pulls my wardrobe together.
    I think mainly it just takes a season or two for our eyes to adjust to a style/color/shape on OUR BODIES that our brains may be instantly attracted to on some exotic model.
    It’s a beautiful scarf and I just purchased a similarly colored one yesterday myself. But those are the colors in my closet already- blonde hair/blue eyed colors!!

  5. Ahhh, Etro. My mother’s father’s brother’s sister’s aunt was very fond of Etro. She once wore it to market to purchase the now infamous Etro MILK. It was a goats milk combo with over-rippened Star fruit.

    Bunny Williams

  6. Moral of the Story (for me): Never give away a scarf. They don’t take up much space, don’t usually go out of style, and come in handy down the road.

  7. I completely agree. In 2006 I bought two beautiful wool shawls in India for the price of 400 Rs ($10 each). One is mostly berry-colored with purple and blue accents; the other peach with turquoise and pink accents.

    I do an entire load of berry and peach-colored laundry now, whereas pre-2006 I did not have much of either color in my wardrobe (I was more of a black and light blue person in those days).

    I am not sure why we end up dressing like our scarves, but I’m not complaining :)

  8. I do believe colours kind of seep into us unconsciously. Italian and Inndian fabrics often take more colour risks than the classic “good taste” of English or even French. Wearing even one scarf like that can adjust your eye, then your pocketbook follows!

  9. I do believe colours kind of seep into us unconsciously. Italian and Indian fabrics often take more colour risks than the classic “good taste” of English or even French. Wearing even one scarf like that can adjust your eye, then your pocketbook follows!

  10. Mine is a Versace scarf, purchased for my mother in Hong Kong about 20 years ago. My only problem is that between my very short neck and the daily need for a stethoscope (they tend live draped around the neck when not in use), I have difficulty actually wearing the scarf.

  11. I had a similar realization just last week. I was reading along in Mai Tai’s Picture Book concerning mixing scarves with printed dresses. I thought the post did not apply to me. After all, I don’t have many scarves and even fewer printed dresses. And then it happened–I had an epiphany. I flew into my closet grabbing a pink dress with a number of colors in it and a lovely scarf our son’s girlfriend gave me two Christmases ago. Yes, they are PERFECT together. In fact the scarf and dress are both more beautiful together. And yes, now I want more of these pairings.

  12. Your brother chose a wonderful palette of colours.
    My Mother had a Liberty scarf that seemed to be the base of many outfits.
    It just goes to show what great anchor pieces accessories are and how versatile they can be.

    1. I do believe it is the changing hair color that has accelerated my shift. The yellow tones used to make me all one hue.

  13. I really love how you have slowly approached colors and patterns while staying true to your self. Like I said once before here (I think) “De la moda, lo que acomoda”. And you have shown us how to go out of your style “comfort zone”, making daring choices, while staying authentic and being truly you. Thanks for this! And that is a beautiful scarf and camel coat. I specially like the liberty blouse, but then again I might be your opposite, style wise. (I tend to like patterns, colors and details that “stand out”, I feel lost when I wear navy/ black or gray (and trust me I have tried the LBD -a-la-Audrey Hepburn- without success.)

  14. This post resonated with me SO MUCH! In the early noughties I only wore black navy grey and other neutrals.

    Slowly colour crept in!

    A lot of it had to do with confidence and getting older and feeling safer about being me. Plus as I advanced at work I didn’t have to wear those fake it til you make it suits. I just did my own thing and let my budget speak for itself.

    I don’t say this often enough but I LUFF LUFF LUFF your blog x

  15. I have lived my life according to the color-bleed philosophy, which you so deftly describe here. Purchase an item you are drawn to by color/pattern/texture. Let the ideas inherent in that object hang in your head. Then pull from existing pieces or buy new pieces in concert with those ideas/colors. Or just be inspired by them. An organic way to dress and express oneself, I think. love the scarf and how it bloomed in your unconscience.

  16. I love your “entirely-too-much-purple pattern-mixing” outfit! I quail at the thought of what you might make of my own sorties into pattern-mixing splendor!

  17. I wonder if maybe your artsy brother was subconsciously seeing a possible path of expansion for you when he chose the scarf? The colours aren’t all that far off from the navy palette but the variety is lovely and the softer colours are so flattering on you.

  18. Lisa, as I´ve mentioned before – the last picture of you with the camel coat, is to my European/ Scandinavian style : )!

  19. I love everything about your scarf, the colours and the patterns. Sure enough I do have a similar story only mine is from an ancient Cacharel red paisley print silk skirt! The red is my shade and there are purple, yellow, turquoise, jade in the pattern I’ve been craving to add to my closet.

  20. Late comment, but your post is a nice reminder not to be too hasty in ‘culling ‘ or wardrobe. I’ve been given gift I thought ‘not me’ and they have ended up ‘very me’, a few years later! And yes, scarves take up little space.

Comments are closed.