Black, the colour of death they say. Who they are exactly I’m not entirely sure but one thing I do know is that black is the colour of style, black is the colour of elegance. It is the root from which the fashion flower can blossom into its splendour of colour.
The colour black spans both ends of the sartorial spectrum. It conveys a sense of the dapper gent, the man in his suit with those black brogues polished to a high sheen and yet flip the coin and you will see the devil on his shoulder – the rock’n’roll rebellion of the leather jacket, the ripped black jeans, the scuffed black Converse with a thousand dance floor tales to tell.
This darkest of dark colours can conjure images of hordes of city gents marching to work with black bowler hats atop their bonnet and black umbrella tucked under arms like a Sargent Majors cane but it can also bring to life Johnny Cash upon the stage, his black attire as intrinsic to his character as that absorbing southern drawl.
The beauty of black lies in its diversity, the fact it crosses sartorial boundaries with little care for the rules of style or genres. Black is not a colour of fashion, it’s a colour of style that just so happens to accompany fashion. Black goes with everything, it is the prefect wingman to the rest of your wardrobe but to really ensure it sells itself, an all black outfit really is the way forward.
People often presume black is the safe bet, that it shows a lack of imagination in your clothing choices, and yet wear it wrong and you really will be going to your own sartorial funeral.
To wear an all black outfit well is all about ensuring the cut is right (which if the truth be told is the answer to all your clothing questions) Suits have to be sharp, they shouldn’t look as though they have been borrowed from your dad; jeans should be skinny for that rock’n’roll look, t-shirts with rolled sleeves like the seminal 1980’s coming-of-age Matt Dillon anti-hero characters in Rumble Fish and The Outsiders. Brogues or boots should be polished, jumpers free from tacky slogans; let the colour – or lack of – do the talking.
Designers have also gone back to black for their Spring / Summer ’14 collections. Christophe Lemaire, Lanvin, Saint Laurent and Yohji Yamamoto, to name but a few, all sent models down the catwalks in head to toe black. From short sleeve shirts and oversize t-shirts to wide legged, tapered trousers through to the skinniest of patent leather jeans, there was no doubting black as a key colour in a season usually reserved for brighter tones.
For those of you who see black as morose or boring, here’s a few suggestions on how you can make this cooler than cool colour help you stand out from the masses.
Suited & Booted. There’s nothing quite like a sharp black suit worn with a black shirt and black brogues. Wear the shirt fastened to the top but forget about the tie for that more contemporary look while the trouser hem should be worn high showing off a little sockless ankles helping to accentuate those well polished brogues. If you’re heading to the office, top it off with a smart watch and
Rock’n’ Roll Rebel. If black is synonymous with any look, it has to be the rebel. Leather jackets, well worn t-shirts, ripped skinny jeans and hi-top leather Converse give this look a cutting edge which is anything but boring.
The Hipster. Contrast colour, chunky sole boots and bomber jackets, backpacks and tapered trousers have been all the rage for the past couple of years and are still very much part of the sartorial psyche. Pull on that mini-beanie and oversize sweater to complete the look.
Black, the colour of death they say, more like the colour of life if you ask me. Not only is it the essential ingredient to your sartorial recipe, when it comes to teaming up other colours black acts as an assemble all of its own.
Chic and stylish, suave and sophisticated, rebellious and willing to adhere to its own rules all at the same juncture all help to ensure, far from being save and tedious, black is in fact an integral part of the fashion and style adventure.