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Do You Wear Color or Camouflage?


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Do You Wear Color or Camouflage?

Scottie Kersta-Wilson

What is the first color that you visually recall? I asked my friend Janice (The Vivienne Files) and she answered, "Blue. I remember being in a crib near the window and seeing the blue sky."

My memory for color doesn't go back that far. I remember the first color I learned to read on my first day of 1st Grade - R E D. But the first color that made a visual impression on me was a frothy, sherberty green - you can find it somewhere in the scarf pictured below - depending on your version of frothy and sherberty.

The image was in a book about a doll hospital. I don't remember the details, but the doll doctor took a rather beat up and left-behind doll and dressed her in the most beautiful green dress ever. A green I still look for to this day.

As a wearer of predominately black clothing (the national color of Chicago clothes), maybe I look for colors in my photographs and silk scarves as that hint of not-city, of out-of-doors.

Maybe I look for color to keep my black clothes from looking like everyone else. Is black the camouflage that keeps me from being too visible? For a person who works at home and is rather introverted, it feels difficult to hide, even in a city of 4+ million people. Black lets me slip through the crowd (although I run the risk of getting hit by a car after dark). But the adornment of a scarf says, "Look at me, just a little."

Of course certain animals are masters of camouflage - insects, birds, animals. But with my military family background, you know I'm not going in that direction. Did you know that military camouflage has been used to cover the movement of ships since Philostratus wrote about the blue/gray concealment paint on naval vessels? And I feel certain that everyone my age, wore a ratty camo jacket in the late 60s/early 70s. And then somewhere along the line, fashion upsurped, or at least co-opted camouflage, as it is wont to do.

So, in this case, camouflage, which makes every military person everywhere stand out in a crowd, now becomes the thing to wear to be "the crowd." Am I the only one who is confused?