Monday, December 28, 2009
Somber Seattle Style
Seattle has a stereotyped style often defined as grungy, dark, and comfort-driven. I decided to confront this image. Pen, paper, and camera in hand, I made a trip to the heart of the city to fashion my own definition of Seattle’s style.
I stepped off the bus on Pike and Third Street to the beat of opening umbrellas. It was cold. The sky was raining and the wind was blowing. Looking around I saw somber faces hidden underneath hoods and scarves. I noticed something else.
Between the gray, dripping skies and dark cement sidewalks, stood a familiar Seattleite wearing a black trench coat, black boots, black gloves, and a black hat. She was not the only one.
I walked up Pine Street only to find a uniform style of dark color. Rain jackets, Northface fleeces, and Ugg boots roamed the streets. Many question Seattle’s fashion sense. Does this city, home of Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, REI, & Cutter and Buck, engage a fashionable existence?
“There is a more casual style to Seattle compared to the style of the East Coast,” comments Dr. Jaeil Lee, Seattle Pacific University director of the Clothing and Textiles department. Lee determines that the “lifestyle differences cause [the dichotomy]. Seattle is definitely relaxed—laid back; and the weather for sure” influences the city’s style.
Oh, Seattle rain.
Senior Editor at Conde Nast Travel also finds Seattle’s style to be “based on the weather.” While one would “never see someone walk into Conde Nast dressed in a Patagonia jacket,” she defines the city’s fashions as “practical outerwear—rain proof and water proof gear.”
It is no surprise that many Seattleites are affected by the “winter blues”—a seasonal depression sparked by dark, dreary weather. Though the disorder is affected by lack of light, it could do Seattle good to infuse brighter hues into their day.
“Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colors,” says Pantone, Inc—leading authority on the selection and accurate communication of color.
Color allows the opportunity to shine light in your life as the clouds cry into your days. Just as the sun beams a rainbow through the rain, so too should Seattleites use the gray, soggy weather as an opportunity to add a little color to their wardrobe.
A color can spark a memory of a clear sunny day or the brilliant hue of a flower. Color tells a story. It has the ability to capture attention. According to Pantone, Inc., “colors act upon the body as well as the mind.”
Red is a color of arousal—a stimulating hue associated with vitality and ambition. Orange and yellow are also colors of excitement—both very uplifting. Blue is a color tied to tranquility, while green is soothing and calm. Studies find that violet hues prove balancing and peaceful.
Style.com suggests, “The extras make the outfit.” Freshen your black Northface rain jacket and arouse your senses with a bright red bag. Balance your ensemble with a purple scarf. “Add a colorful finishing touch” with a bright necklace Style.com also notes.
The colors of a rainbow truly do paint a colorful picture on a gray canvas of cloud and rain. While the picture of dark and casual fashions has been drawn to define Seattle’s style, it is never too late for a little splash of color. Why should a Seattleite succumb to the gloom when a fresh color is ready to be worn?
by Carly Holtzinger