I have a tendency to wear mostly black clothing, it’s true.
And I think wearing dark neutrals gets a bad rap. And as the above examples show, some pretty awesome types of people wear mostly black colored clothing.
According to a totally scientific study, the stereotypes for black-clad individuals are pretty stark. Here are several impressions that I think are insanely unfair.
(Take that, Google-Search Results and your stereotyping ways.)
I am NOT: Emo, Goth, An Anarchist, Depressed, Scary, Angry, Un-creative, Boring (well, at least I don’t think so) or Uber-Concerned-About-Looking-Super-Skinny.
This dark-neutral-clothing habit snuck up on me over the last several years. However, when I reflect on the three following truisms about my life, my transformation to a monochromatic wardrobe may have been inevitable.
FACTOR #1: Work as Designer / In Creative Field
As mentioned above, everyone from artists to fashion designers are stereotyped as wearing all black. Beyond the moody alt-art student stereotype, if you look at famous artists from Raphael to Andy Warhol, many have chosen to portray themselves in dark, neutral clothing for their self portraits:
And lets not forget fashion. Fashion hearts the color black, you guys. For example, Karl Lagerfeld said “One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress.” Also let’s just take a quick look at how Marc Jacobs (on the rare occasions that he isn’t half naked) and the amazing Vera Wang adorn themselves:
Plus, duh, Coco Channel. You can’t argue with Coco. Especially once Amelie played her in a movie. (Audrey Tautao is pretty much my favorite.)
Conclusion? The artistically minded/creative types often wear all black.
FACTOR #2: Architect-Trained Designer
Sometimes, even more so than your moody art student, there comes along a professional field so notorious for wearing black that it becomes a bit of an inside joke in the industry. Such is the case for architects. Let me bestow some comedic examples upon you:
Also, there is an ENTIRE BOOK simply called “Why Do Architects Wear Black?”. You can check it out here. I can’t make this stuff up.
Here is an entire (and hilarious) post about why architects wear dark clothing from one of my favorite nerdy blogs; “Coffee With an Architect”. Please read if you need further convincing, or read it anyways because laughter is the best drug.
Conclusion? Black clothing is stylish AND impressive.
FACTOR #3: Lived in New York City
New Yorkers all wear all black, all the time. You know who taught me that? These promo pics from Sex and the City:
But seriously, whether it’s due to heightened formality, dirty subways or serious natures, New Yorkers LIKE to wear dark colors. This article goes into anthropological reasons why. (I would summarize but I would never do it justice. Just read it. You will be smarter for it.)
Living there pretty much cemented dark-clothing wearing tendencies into my soul.
Conclusion? Wearing black is crisp and sophisticated, aloof and mysterious.
So why do I love wearing mostly dark colors?
Honestly, it’s a perfect classic neutral. When you wear lots of black, it’s like putting a base coat of paint in your room… the environment is now primed to let the details stand out.
Architect Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the Details.”
This is as true for fashion as it is in architecture.
The styles that always draw my eye, like great architectural design, are ones that appear simple, but have a complex underlying story. Lasting beauty is found within craft and structure and attention to materials. Beauty is found in the little unexpected moments.
Wearing black lets the focus be on the textures and the accessories. Wearing black allows you to show creativity and personality subtly within accents and pops. And let’s be honest, wearing black can create a frame to highlight your features, with you serving as the exception to the monotone rule.
Isn’t that kinda exactly what clothing and fashion are supposed to do?
Dark colors are neutral, not depressing. Dark attire isn’t about looking skinny or a lack of creativity. Black clothing is classic. Black clothing is sharp. Black clothing allows me to be creative and intriguing in my own way.
Wearing all black also puts me in the same category as a ninja.
That’s a pretty good place to be, in my mind.
Oh and here’s a bonus Coco Chanel quote on neutral clothing.