Studies in Beige

Verity and I decided to search for beige or taupe clothes, that all too ubiquitous supposedly safe older women’s colour choice, ironically cited as ‘this year’s colour’ by the fashion press. I knew full well already that beige drains any colour from my face. I have the fair complexion and freckles that go with having had red hair. If my aim was to look ill or tired, a camel coat always sufficed. Trips to charity shops, hunts through our wardrobes and short-term purchases provided us both with an array of beige clothes. Having admired each other’s finds when we met for our photography session, we also took the time to connect and face our fears about making ourselves intentionally ugly and unappealing, whatever that might mean, and as a means to accept how we are. We took it in turns in front of the camera and bounced ideas from one another. Wrinkled tights, awkward stances, hiding within and behind beige, curling up on the floor and struggling to get up, or even allowing myself to look as if I was out for the day from a care home, we were playing with appearances and allowing ourselves to make the worst of it. My mother’s woollen vest, in soft beige offered us a unifying image pairing, an honesty which we both embraced for Studies in beige.