Reporter’s Notebook: Color coding my wardrobe?

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Charles M. Kelly

I’ve been thinking about phasing certain colors out of my wardrobe. Shirts first. No one pays attention to my socks. And I’m keeping my Chihuahua socks. That discussion is closed.

But in an increasingly polarized political environment, it may be time for me to phase out all my blue, red and pink attire. At one time I considered pink politically neutral, but I’m told that’s no longer the case.

Trouble is—almost every color is political somewhere. Hundreds of years ago in Ireland, wearing green could get you hanged. (In some places, orange wouldn’t be a safe color either.)

When I was in journlism school, blue and red were the colors of rival gang confederations. In some neighborhoods, wearing the wrong colors could get you shot.

In Thailand, yellow is a political color.

I thought black would be a good color—it wouldn’t show leaks from my pens. (I ruined a perfectly good gray shirt with a leaky pen.) Then I remembered: Italian fascists used to wear black shirts. And the Khmer Rouge liked to wear black. (I hope no one told Johnny Cash when he was alive.)

Hundreds of years ago in Ireland, wearing green or orange could get you hang.ed

Gray? That might work. It’s such a drab color, who would embrace it as a political symbol?

White shirts? So far, apolitical. But too easily stained.

I wonder if tie-dye shirts are due for a comeback? Not really my thing, but multiple colors …

No. Rainbows are political now, too.

Maybe I stay home and avoid all human contact. No. That won’t work. I like my job. My job requires human contact.

Forget it. I’ll leave my wardrobe alone.

Reporter’s Notebook: Color coding my wardrobe?