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How to Get Dressed If You’re in a Rut

“All I want to wear these days is pink pants and a red shirt,” is something I said this summer, unprompted, to several uninterested ears. I wasn’t wearing anything resembling that combo — it just sort of came to me, like a latent, unmarked desire from some forgotten pocket of my brain. I wasn’t even sure if I’d seen anyone wearing it before, at least not consciously.

The problem with proclaiming your love of a particular color pairing in a way that suggests you discovered it yourself is how quickly the internet will humble you. That very same day and for several weeks following, I was bombarded by pink-and-red color-blocked outfits that whispered: You are the least special. The inaugural poke was actually the shadiest, because it came in the form a photo taken 22 entire years ago:

If I had time to feel personally attacked, I would have, but I was too busy pinning that photo to my personal mood board. Soon after came this treat and then this dream of an outfit and then this look styled by Harling, who claimed the combination had somehow infiltrated her brain, too. I also spotted a lot of pink and red in our fashion month street style coverage, which I couldn’t bear to be mad at because look how good:

Apiece Apart pants, Zara sweater, vintage blazer -- other here, H&M shoes

This is something I’ve been relying on a lot lately: novelty. It’s a solid fallback when the creativity isn’t flowing. I’ll have on a pair of pants and think, What’s the last thing I would pair these with? Usually, the answer is the solution. This is Jenna Lyons 101, I know, but I don’t even mean denim and sequins or sneakers and a dress; I mean a black-striped shirt with a navy-striped shirt tied across it, or a pair of wide-legged pants with a hooded sweatshirt, you know? Imagine white socks with white loafers and white pants. It’s good because it’s too much. Breaking those subconscious little rules can make your closet feel new. At least it has for me.

So after weeks of feeling like the fashion world swooped me on my own idea, I chalked it up to the frequency illusion and got in on the V-day parade. Where’s the fun in pairing pink pants with a white T-shirt, or a red sweater with black pants? Nowhere, is the answer, because the limit does not exist.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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