The question always comes up when I reach that moment of trying to decide what to wear. A quick peek into my closet and the lack of color is striking noticeable. Behind those doors, I have what I can only describe as a black hole with the number of black articles heavily outnumbering the shades of grays and any other color.
For decades we’ve seen fashion icons such as artists, musicians, actors and other celebrities of the like, parading around town donned in black and toting black accessories. There are even a few fashion designers who we can’t even picture wearing colors at all, like Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, Tom Ford and Vera Wang, just to name a few. And even though each season features runways splashed with the “in” color, black is always king.
The most common sentiment is that black creates the illusion of having a more slender figure. Black absorbs light which tricks the mind into seeing a flush surface. Bulges are then seemingly hidden in plain sight. It’s a very practical explanation however, when looking back in time, there must be a deeper meaning to our obsession.
We associate the color black with extremes that can be perceived as chaste or sexy, lewd or religious, and even highbrow or classless. Priests and nuns dress in black to show their submission to a higher power while at the same time black is associated with power and rebellion as the color of fascist parties and the beatniks of the 50’s. While we think of this as an exclusive color of the elite we can also counter it with the uniforms of those worn in the service industry.
Cycles of economic growth and decline in society also play a part in the ebb and flow of our craving for black. In times of economic disparity, we tend to avoid the negative and choose more uplifting colors but as soon as the economy experiences a surge in wealth, we see fashion headlines like “Black is Back.”
Truth be told, it is the most versatile color… or rather the lack of color is what makes it so adaptable to our moods, feelings and emotions. It gives us the ability to convey power and at the same time it hides the stains of life and creates shadows for us to hide in. No other color has this capability thus the reason why black is eternally chic.
Dress up by wearing a simple pair of blue jeans with a white t-shirt and make it glamorous with a huge pair of classic black sunglasses, a big leather handbag and a pair of heels - instant rockstar!