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  • I Wore Colour For 30 Days & This Is What Happened

    Journalist and self-confessed colour-phobe, Anita Bhagwandas, took on the 30 day colour challenge in a bid to get out of her monochrome rut. Now she’s a colour convert…

    Colour has never been a friend of mine. I’ve abjectly avoided it and almost trained myself to dislike it, but after challenging myself to #30daysofcolour on Instagram – that’s wearing colour for 30 days in a row – the process has been a revelation beyond anything I’d initially expected.

    I consciously rejected colour in my early teens. At 13, I was trying to fit in with everyone around me in my little Welsh school; quite the feat being both Indian and plus size. I’ve always been music-obsessed – it was an outlet for my emotions and started to influence how I dressed, which was mainly in black. As I got older and left for university, that didn’t change. In fact, it became more conscious. I legitimately had a reason not to wear colour – none of us in GRIMsoc (our university goth and metal society) wore colour, except for a flash of neon for the cyber goths. 

    When I graduated and went into the working world as a journalist, my all-black clothing habits stayed with me and formed a signature style. Being dressed in colourful clothes by stylists for magazine photoshoots made me feel so uncomfortable I’d have to be told to ‘smile’, rather than the blood-curdling grimace I displayed. It just didn’t feel like me. I didn’t want to be photographed in colour at all.

    Anita wears: Cliveden Boots

    Now, after a decade of working on women’s magazines and going freelance, I’ve realised that I need to get over my colour-phobia and fear of being seen. So, I set myself the 30 day colour challenge. I started small initially; a daub of red lipstick and a bright eyeliner, which was definitely within my comfort zone as a beauty editor. Then I added bags and shoes, and realised I could easily brighten up a darker outfit with bold accessories, which gave me the confidence boost I needed to delve into more colour.

    When it came to wearing colourful clothes, truthfully, I was terrified. On my first day of wearing something super bright, I kept worrying that people were staring at me and lowered my head to avoid their gaze. Being an introvert who is used to hiding in black, the attention was overwhelming at first, and I needed to give myself a pep talk – but by the end of the first week, I was embracing being more visible and started to actually like the attention I was getting. A lady I helped onto the bus turned around and told me that ‘pink was my colour’. Who doesn’t want to be told that?

    I ended my challenge wearing a bright blue shirt dress, which made quite the statement – and I felt awesome in it. I doubt that if I’d worn this at the start of my challenge I’d have been so enraptured, but I’ve learned some invaluable lessons about wearing colour along the way. I’ve learned that I like dark bottoms, so I need to invest in brighter tops. I know that colour doesn’t always have to be visible from space – an easy transition is to wear navy, forest green or burgundy. I’ve also learned that leopard print can be a brilliant neutral when you need to punk something up a bit.

    The biggest milestone has been understanding how to wear colour and still feel like ‘me’ – my hair isn’t cobalt blue like it was in 2002, and I don’t wear band tees every day like I did 10 years ago. But neon shades feel disruptive, and styled with skull rings and stompy boots, I feel badass. I’ve learned I can take anything and make it ‘me’ with accessories; with how I do my hair and make-up and with how I style things. I can pair some goth-friendly, burgundy stiletto boots with a pretty, floral dress or I can accessorise a bright, blue shirt dress with a western neck-tie. Yes, it takes a bit more time and planning, but I love style, so I’m fine with that – it’s like an act of self care.

    So is colour here to stay? Absolutely – and after years of hiding in the shadows, I’m finally bringing the attitude to go alongside it. Wearing colour has been a real game-changer for me – it has given me so many new shopping options and feels like a whole new world (cue, Aladdin soundtrack). So, I’d heartily recommend that anyone stuck in any kind of style rut sets themselves a fashion challenge and tag me if you’re doing it @itsmeanitab – I’ll help to support you and spur you on. The results will be more than worth it, I promise.

    Anita wears: Elodie Dress and Audley Boots