Wear the Yellow Dress
Written by Felicia Gopi
Sunday April 2, 2023
When I’m picking an outfit out (that isn’t sweats) I often go through a series of criteria before making a choice. Is it something I like? How does it suit the occasion? Is it trendy or is it classic? Is the fit flattering? And also, is the colour flattering?
That last one has been on my mind for a while now that colour theory seems to be a trending topic on social media. It’s not uncommon for folks across many skin tones to consider what colour garments compliment them best; but I do wonder if there are other POC out there that feel like they’ve limited themselves from exploring certain colours because of their skin tone.
Let me explain. Have you or anyone in your life ever said, “No, I’m too dark to wear yellow?” or “I don’t like to wear white because it emphasises how dark I am” or “I never wear black because it brings out my dark circles” etc.? These are all sentiments I have heard or even thought of myself, throughout my life. Apart from wanting to look your best, it also feels like we banish ourselves to the shadows of self-expression out of fear of being too brown.
It’s interesting because as I’ve grown, I’ve seen more and more people embrace how great bright colours look on our skin tones, I’ve heard more and more people compliment my bold colour choices and I’ve even curated a pretty great all black wardrobe (dark circles be damned).
Bright colours are incredibly flattering on people of colour, yet for me, I’ve felt like some of us have experienced a sense of being trapped by beauty ideals and colourism that ultimately limits the joy and self-expression that comes from putting together a beautifully bold outfit.
In the apparel industry, inclusivity when it comes to colours and more specifically shades has always been an issue. Think: pale shades of “nude” shoes, dresses and undergarments, chalky hosiery, and being today-years-old when I realised that band-aids are supposed to be skin colour! It’s something we’ve unfortunately grown quite used to.
When I hear people around me make self-deprecating comments in this regard, I think to myself “when are we enough?” The answer doesn't always come easy to accept but I need you all to understand: we have always been enough, and then some.
Of course, we can all try things on and wonder what shades are most flattering: things that are too similar to our undertones can wash us out, while some colours bring out our undertones, some can also highlight hyperpigmentation, etc. But it’s high time we balance our obsession with perfection with a desire to feel confident as is.
Seeking out fashionable and flattering clothes is a fine line to walk when it reaches a point of deep insecurity due to wanting to hide our god given skin colour. People adopt so many cultural aspects of ours in their quest for vanity all while Eurocentric beauty standards make us question our own. So just wear the yellow dress, you're beautiful as is.
About the Author
Felicia is the editor in chief of Story, a newsletter by the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association. She also works in digital marketing with a background in beauty and fashion. She began volunteering with the Indo-Caribbean Association to contribute directly to her community and to learn from other like-minded individuals.
For more information visit feliciagopi.ca