I have become well known for my constant mantra "black is not your friend". Frankly, it breaks my heart ever so slightly to say this, as we’ve all grown up believing that wearing black equates to being chic and elegant. (Thanks for that, Coco!) Sadly, my friends, there is nothing chic or elegant about a white dusting of flakes visible on your shoulders and for that reason, I have to reiterate (albeit sadly) that black is not your friend.
So what do we do instead? Once you’ve packed away your LBD, your trusty black winter coat, your favourite black cashmere sweater… then what on earth is left to wear?! Well let me introduce you to the wonderful calming world of the paler palette. Prepare to embrace the realm of taupe, cream, white and pale grey.
Before you shudder in horror and rush back to your black-hued comfort zone, let me point out the reasons why a paler colour works so much better
- Flakes will be banished! Well ok, so they won’t actually be banished per se. But they will become invisible. That light dusting that shines like a beacon on a black top will no longer be seen once you wear a paler colour. Cue instant stress reduction!
- Looking for elegance? I see your black and I raise you winter whites or pale greys. Such sophisticated and chic shades to wear, you’ll wonder why you never tried them before.
- As we get older, black can be a very harsh colour to wear against our skin tones. Paler shades reflect light back onto our faces, giving us a youthful glow. There’s a win-win right there!
- Stand out! It’s a well-known fact that people with psoriasis often hide in the background, afraid to be seen or to be noticed. Our disease has made us hide away a little from the world. Well no more! In a sea of black, charcoal and navy, it’s wonderful to stand out and be noticed for all the right reasons!
Have I convinced you yet? Why don’t we take a little look at the options available to us? That beloved black cashmere sweater can easily be replaced by a similar sweater in a soft grey. Gorgeous paired with denim, black skinnies or even white jeans on those cooler summer evenings. If you are one of the few who can’t wear cashmere (sending hugs of sympathy!) then a grey marl sweatshirt will do the same job.
Try swapping your usual dark coloured winter coat for something in a camel colour. You can’t ask for a more classic shade and it looks great with everything, whether over a dress or suit for work, or jeans and shirt at the weekend. Given the time of year, it proved rather tricky to find an example on sale right now, but this canvas coat from Asos should give you an idea of what to look for.
The LBD is always hailed as a winter wardrobe staple, but again, if you suffer from psoriasis on your scalp, it’s a much better idea to stick to a paler palette. This is slightly trickier, as the colour still needs to be suitable to pair with dark opaque tights in order to conceal plaques on your legs. But fear not! There are always options. It just involves a little research online and pretty soon you’ll find there are plenty to choose from. This Y.A.S. Tide Dress Coat is a perfect example. The pattern is ideal for concealing any possible flaking; long sleeves will conceal your arms; the colour will work perfectly with opaque tights; and it’s in a very reasonable price range.
I am always conscious of the fact that telling people to restock their wardrobes with paler colours is one thing. Having the budget to do that is quite another. However, until the budget allows there is always the wonderful world of accessories. A glorious fur snood will add instant glamour to your black coat and will also prevent flakes from landing on your shoulders. Just ensure that the snood is grey, white or cream. A fabulously patterned scarf or a dramatically arranged pashmina in a contrasting paler shade will do exactly the same job but for a fraction of the price of a new coat. Similarly a leopard print scarf worn with a black sweater or a leather collar worn with an LBD can help to distract the eye and conceal flaking.
So have I convinced you? Repeat after me, ‘Black is not my friend’. Now go forth and be fabulous in your new softer hued wardrobe!
UK/IE 2013b/00057c. Date of preparation: June 2015