Something that always surprises people is learning that I own zero items of black clothing. Well, until August I owned zero items of black clothing; my choir membership requires that I own concert black, and it was not without complaining that I acquiesced. But I own zero items of black clothing that aren’t meant for the stage.
The absence of black in my closet wasn’t originally intentional, but it has turned into something that I’m conscious of and fine with. You see, my coloring (fair skin, dark hair, light eyes) can be a bit…intense, and if intensity were a color, it would be black. I never gravitated toward black for that reason – I felt like it was a bit too dramatic a look for me.
Once I discovered I was unintentionally avoiding black, I started thinking about the ways I was wearing neutrals instead, and realized I preferred this way. I think people use black as a crutch, and mistakenly so. They think: “I don’t want to stand out, so I’m going to wear black” or “I don’t want to have to make a decision, so I’m going to wear black.” And that’s wrong or lazy, respectively. The fact is, black is surprisingly difficult to wear. Just because it’s abundant doesn’t mean it’s simple. Black makes a statement as much as (or, given how much thought I’ve put into this subject, more than) any other color, and you have to be very careful that statement isn’t “I’ve given up.”
And ultimately, I think that’s why I don’t like black. I associate it too much with the idea that it’s an easy outfit. THERE ARE SO MANY NEUTRALS OUT THERE, FOLKS. Why limit yourself? I’m personally a fan of navy blue, cognac, and charcoal gray. Here’s an outfit I put together this morning that’s all-neutral yet anything but boring:
This outfit is navy, ivory, and cognac. Nothing else, unless you count the gold jewelry. I could just as easily have worn all black, but with the blue it’s a little softer, a little more feminine, and a little more Nora.