The Power Of Red — & An Encouraging Word

Photo: Courtesy of Emily Malan/The Not Vanilla.

By Sonia Evers

I wore this outfit two weeks ago for no reason other than that I felt like it — which, in my opinion, is the best reason to wear anything. Clearly, I was in the mood for red, opting for tomato-colored separates composed of two clashing, yet coordinating, prints.

About fifteen minutes after this outfit’s sidewalk debut, I was hollered at by an old woman seated behind her walker: “Hellooooo, Red!” A little puzzled, I halted my stride and turned toward her, where I was met with a wink. I smiled and continued on my way, only realizing about fifteen minutes later that this was a new kind of catcall.

Related: How Many Is Too Many?

Catcalls are real and I’m convinced that most of the time they have nothing to do with appearance. Take my commute to and from the gym: I never look good before, during, or after; in fact, I’ll never understand the people who do. My hair is a grease pile, my shirt stained yellow in the armpits, and I’m probably wearing leggings unearthed from the depths of my hamper. But, if I walk on a certain block en route to my gym, I have eyes following me like I’m a piece of skirt steak held before a hungry dog. I once tried picking my nose while walking down said block and still received the eyes and the barks. It’s unavoidable. It’s uncomfortable. It’s part of living in this metropolis.

Photo: Courtesy of Emily Malan/The Not Vanilla.

However, when I received my catcall from the old woman, I didn’t interpret it as salacious, but rather, a compliment to my look. Kind of like a “Shake what your mama gave ya!” chant of encouragement. It didn’t make me wish I was hidden beneath Harry Potter’s invisible cloak, but instead, boosted my confidence.

Related: Are Gladiator Sandals Worth The Hype?

I decided to pay the feeling forward a few days later while riding the L train. I spotted a girl with a cool bag — minimalistic, oxblood and navy, Céline-esque, if you will — and instead of sneaking a photo of it like I normally do, I told her how much I liked it. Not exactly a catcall per se, but a boost of encouragement nonetheless. She looked startled when I spoke to her, perhaps because I don’t think she spoke English, or maybe because I came up behind her out of nowhere, but hopefully she got over it and felt that much cooler walking around with her bag that day.

More from Fashion