Rainbow Redux

In fashion, color has always been a matter of regional preference, based on climate and lifestyle. As New Yorkers warily consider a bright accessory to wear with their traditional black, women in Dallas, Atlanta, and Santa Fe are saying, “Color is back? When did it go away?” Sociologists have observed that clothes become darker and more subdued as one heads north and brighter and sexier as one progresses south. The stereotype of New York as a city clad in black has become almost humorous in fashion circles, but there's a practical reason for it: Most New Yorkers don't own cars—they walk or rely on not-so-clean buses and subways. Light colors don't cut it, especially in sloppy weather. Bostonians don't wear quite as much black as New Yorkers, but their clothes still tend toward muted, weather-resistant hues. In a warmer climate, one instinctively reaches for light colors that re
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