Granted, my pink polka dot sneakers were just a bit outre
but they certainly made me smile. When I'm walking these days, every little bit of levity helps.
Levity.... laughing but also a nod to levitating, which is what I'd like to do when I'm walking. Pounding on the pavement isn't as much fun as it used to be. But, I digress.
Had I realized that the sartorial differences would have been so stark, I'd have taken photographs. At the time, I didn't notice it at all. Coming from Tucson, where comfort rules and bright colors are de rigueur, I wasn't startled by the prints and stripes and bright tight jeans on the pedestrians we passed on Chicago's streets. There were large women in big bold stripes striding through the cross walks. There were hip twenty-somethings with odd socks and brilliantly shiny tops. Lunch at RL, Ralph Lauren's upscale eatery across from the original Water Tower, the demographic was older but the palette was the same.
Dressing for our flight to NYC, I chose black wrinkle-free pants and a tidy grey and white striped top. Exiting the taxi in front of our hotel, I felt as if I were wearing neon. Every person on the street was in black. White shirts merely set off the somber attire. It was 70-something-degrees outside, the sun was shining, and these people were dressed for a funeral.
It only got worse. I had packed for warm temperatures and sunny skies in a Tucson frame of mind. My multi-colored short-sleeved shirt was inappropriate in so many many ways on the streets of Manhattan..... and I just didn't care. It was amusing, watching New Yorkers deny the advent of spring. The tulips might be blooming, the park benches full of lunch time diners, the breeze a gently touch on their shoulders, but their clothes reflected none of it.
Black sweaters over black trousers. Black blazers over black blouses above black skirts. Black on black scarves and ebony leather purses and I wondered if it was all a reaction to the dust and the grime a very big city creates. There's a cavernous sense to Manhattan which is missing from Chicago; perhaps there's a connection to the darkness there. I'm just not sure.
Visiting MOMA on Saturday brought a few bursts of color, An embroidered jacket here, a Peter Max inspired scarf there, orange and turquoise sneakers on teenage art students.... but they were all attached to humans wearing black.
Ignoring Spring, denying oneself the joy of pastels, it made me sad. I'm not judging. I'm just sayin'...