Why I (Almost) Never Wear Black Clothing

I almost never wear black clothing. It’s true. That’s because black clothing bores the hell out of me, and life’s too short as it is. I have seen a lot – a lot – of clothing sold by a lot of different retailers, and 9 times out of 10 when the season’s buy is all black it’s because consumers don’t know what the hell to do with anything else. Sure, there are exceptions, and I can already hear you lot frothing at the mouth, ranting about “dandyism” and “Baudelaire” and “anonymity” and no one cares so shut up and listen.

If your goal is to spend as little time as possible thinking about your clothing, great. If you want to ignore all the world’s beautiful, vibrant color, that’s valid. That’s your business. Wear all the black you want. I won’t be joining you, and here’s why: colors are beautiful. Whether it’s the deep tones of indigo, the coarse browns and greens of homespun wool, the crimson or gold of rich velvet, there are simply too many gorgeous things in the world to limit myself to the mundanity of black.

black clothing

Me, resolutely wearing as many colors at once as possible.

I own a handful of pieces of black clothing. A jacket or two, and a couple pairs of jeans. On the rare occasions when I do wear black, I wear one piece tops. When it’s sunny outside, and things are looking up, I can never bring myself to intentionally put a damper on the day. And when it’s grey or unpleasant out, and I’m feeling down, I’m not going to go out of my way to make things worse. There are endless examples of how to win with color in both the classic menswear style thread and its streetwear counterpart, so I feel I’m justified in pointing you in that direction. Plus, Peter wrote a great tailoring-focused article on color just these week. But even if you don’t wear a suit; even if you self-identify as an intellectual, artistic type, there’s no reason you need to wear black all the time.

“Wearing black is all about texture,” you might say. “And silhouette.” I have essentially the same reaction to these declarations as I do when bloggers tell me to “Up my game,” which is to close my laptop and stare at the ceiling for a solid thirty seconds. So yes, I call shenanigans, unless texture and silhouette somehow cease to exist in the presence of color. Black doesn’t offer me anything that colorful clothing doesn’t – in fact, it’s an absence of one of the small things that reliably brings a smile to my face, and I’m loathe to give that up. I appreciate the challenge of matching colors as well as textures, of comparing shades of blue and purple, and I love the beauty of colors that reflect the seasons changing around me.

And so, when I look at my closet in the morning, overflowing with colors and fabrics and shapes of all kinds, and I get to go through all the pieces one by one I feel – I feel…I feel as though my life would be much simpler if I just wore black every day.


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Jasper Lipton

EIC at Styleforum
Jasper likes indigo, flight jackets, and boots - but he likes his dogs even more. He dreams of buried cities and the spaces between the stars.

5 thoughts on “Why I (Almost) Never Wear Black Clothing

  1. Same thing could be said about any monochrome outfit. Some people get just as stuck wearing indigo all day every day. Seems like what you are really advocating for here is to switch up styles and outfits sometimes, which is good advice, but writing off black entirely and not looking at all the fun you can have with silhouettes (say what you will, but a monochrome outfit results in more focus on the silhouette/texture than a super colorful one) is just as limiting as never wearing color.

    • I can’t argue against that, as I’m certainly guilty of indigo overkill on occasion – just as it’s true that I enjoy wearing black sometimes. The other half of my argument is that regularly wearing black, especially head-to-toe just makes me feel bad. True for everyone? Of course not. But texture is not exclusive to wearing black, which is a myth that we, as internet fashion hobbyists, have heard from any number of outlets.

  2. Awesome Jasper! Our dressing and our closets are very much alike in terms of the spectrum of colors. It’s not a choice but except black shoes, charcoal grey is the closest to black I currently own. Black is just a lifeless color to me, like the gloomy winter weather.

    I recognize individuals sensitivity and bonds to colors are like scents, shapes, sounds, and other sensory information vary in intensity. We’re those who are more affected by our environment, emotions and energy. It’s natural some people like blacks and some monochromatic fashion blogs succeed. But in terms of consumer behavior my issue is how much of the black consumption is driven by fashion retailers and fashion media, an irrational behavior. Many people’s prejudice against pleated pants has developed from past fashion media’s criticism and lack of interest from fashion retailers, while now they began to invite the style back. As the internet allows consumers and fashion brands to connect directly and social media gives individuals a platform to share personal styles freely, I hope consumers will gradually develop more confidence with their style choices and become less dependent on retailers and media.

  3. I secretly wish I could wear really colorful outfits, I wear all black because my style game is weak!

    I also wear all black because I buy clothing I can’t really afford. Not in the sense that I’m going into debt for fashion, but in the sense that I only have one pair of pants, which is just irresponsible 😐
    Black always goes with black, but one color doesn’t always go with another. An all-black closet maximizes the number of combinations possible.
    I wonder if the same principle applies to the other fundamentals of fashion. I’d tentatively say that it’s harder to make textures clash than color, and that there isn’t a “black always matches black” equivalent in the silhouette realm.

    I think I’m going to start thrifting more :/

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