On Not Owning Black Clothing

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:

photo (12)

Dress: Boden | Tights: Hue | Belt: Cole Haan [similar] | Shoes: Restricted | Earrings: Kate Spade | Watch: Michael Kors [similar]

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.

8 thoughts on “On Not Owning Black Clothing

  1. GirlFRIEND! U got yo color palette down! I find I look striking in black with my dark hair, pale skin, strong eyes, (and even stronger eyebrowns!) but I try to incorporate a lot of print into my wardrobe to make me feel unique. But I still love to wear black! I’m sure you’ve heard of Color Me Beautiful with the 4 seasons and all but I was reading the other day about how you can break the 4 seasons down into 4 more sections (cool, warm, bright…something like that) if you’re interested in color in your wardrobe. I always loved it because I am a stereotypical Winter so it made a lot of sense to me. Hope you’re well! Glad to see your blog 🙂

  2. You make a lot of valid points – and I think, done right, black can work. I’m more frustrated by the idea that black is “easy,” when in fact it’s a very stark, very powerful shade. I wish people would consider it more on par with wearing jewel tones or metallics, because black is as much a statement as those are.

    Great to hear from you! Thanks for checking out the blog 🙂

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