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Blog // Artistry
April 26, 2016

Enjoying Personal Taste

In today’s Japanese lesson I was having a conversation with my tutor about taste in fashion. Actually, it was nowhere near as impressive as all that. My impossibly patient tutor was helping me with a textbook and one of the questions asked “what colour T-Shirts do you wear?” I started to rattle off every colour […]

In today’s Japanese lesson I was having a conversation with my tutor about taste in fashion. Actually, it was nowhere near as impressive as all that. My impossibly patient tutor was helping me with a textbook and one of the questions asked “what colour T-Shirts do you wear?” I started to rattle off every colour I could remember in Japanese, くろい (black), あかい (red), あおい (blue), then I decided it might be better to ask, “how do I say every colour except みどり (green).”

My tutor was taken aback by my sartorial aversion to green so she asked about other items of clothes. I explained that I wear green jackets, green trousers, and other green items, but never green T-shirts or shirts. She then asked about other colours, like pink and I explained that there’s usually a pink shirt or two in the cupboard, just not any green ones.

Personal taste is funny that way. I have nothing against the colour green. I just don’t wear it much. My everyday day carry bag is green, or mostly green, kind of greenish brown. Actually, it’s brown, it’s made of leather, but it has green accents. In my mind it’s green.

Our lounge room sofa is green. One of my favourite bedspreads is green. The carpet in the office, the carpet right under my feet as I write this, is green.

I just don’t wear green shirts.

Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I had forgotten that three’s a green shirt in cupboard that I wear hiking, an odd, weather-proof thing I both from a sale rack in a mountain biking store in the Flinders Ranges, in rural Australia. It does the job, keeping off sun and mosquitoes, but I do wish it had found one in just about any other colour.

There’s also a shirt I bought on my last visit to Hong Kong over a year ago. I’ve worn it exactly once, the day after I bought it and all day I thought, this was probably a mistake. The thing has hung in my closet untouched since then and the conversation with my tutor was a reminder it needed to find another home.

Over the years, I’ve leaned on various excuses for not wearing green. My old school colours were a particularly drab shade of green. There’s enough green in nature already. But, the truth is I realised long ago, green didn’t seem to work for me as a shirt colour and that was that.

Personal taste evolves over time, as a series of small decisions about what we like, that over time becomes a code for who were are in the world. The mood of our age suggests we should always be questioning this process, disrupting our self-perception lest we ever come set in our ways, rigid, or worse still, riddled with prejudice.

I’m down with that. Mostly. But, there’s something comforting, actually more than comforting, something liberating about just letting our personal taste be. Maybe some of the decisions we’ve made about who are were right? Isn’t this how we acquire wisdom, the sense of what works for us?

For me, I don’t wear green shirts. It’s one less decision I have to make every day.

Green Shirt

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Responses
Marco 7 years ago

I always thought green was my favourite colour, but aside from a green-ish outdoor jacket and a backpack with the same colour (quite a universal colour though) there is no green item I own. But then again I’m not the most fashionable person and own a lot of grey t-shirts which generally mix well.
Anyway, good luck with your Japanese lessons 🙂

    fernando 7 years ago

    Marco – thanks. I have occasionally waged war with gray, but it is such a practical colour, especially for technical wear (hiking, etc).

Toni 7 years ago

Green shirts – I have a khaki Tee, but that’s it. I’m not really sure green works as a shirt colour for most people, possibly because it’s too close to the face and the colour is reflected up to the skin tones. Other colours are more sympathetic, and probably help frame or draw attention to the face in a more pleasing way.

But your overall point of wearing what works and suits from experience is good.

As I’ve got older and my hair colour has changed I’ve found I can comfortably wear different things to what I chose 30 years ago, while the pale colours that I liked then probably wouldn’t work now. Also being older seems to create a gradual shift in wardrobe, and though I’ll often wear what I always did (tee, faded jeans, baseball shoes) I wonder if I shouldnt give in a little more to the ‘old man’ and start wearing shirts and jackets casually. Guess nothing really stays the same.

    fernando 7 years ago

    Toni – here in Japan there is a magazine called “Maduro” (yes, as in mature), which is a glossy fashion magazine for men “of a certain age.” The one I bought had a feature on very well dressed northern Italian guys, mostly in their 60s, absolutely nailing the causal jacket look. I was very inspired.

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