Do you have a dress in your wardrobe that you can count on to make you look and feel great whatever the occasion or time of the day or year? There is a fair chance that it is BLACK in color. You can stand out in black or fade away in it. It is a versatile color that obeys your command and behaves the way you want it to.
Symbolism of the color black
Black is a favorite color for a lot of us for a number of reasons.
The color black is the absence of light or the absorption of all lights in the color spectrum. When it is used in clothing this results in a slimming effect. You perceive a back garment as a longer leaner one which affects how it is viewed on the body too. It is slimming and lengthening.
All the Italian men in my romance novels wear black silk shirts – and they are considered super sexy, need I say more. Black satin lingerie is the golden standard in ‘enticing wear’.
The adjectives associated with black range from sophisticated to danger and many in between like sexy, mysterious, dignified, serious, ominous, depressing and even death
Black is associated with power and authority. We see men and women of power and position wearing black formal wear for important meetings, very formal functions and interviews to exude power and confidence. A black tuxedo embodies power.
Black suits almost all skin tones and body types. Moreover black as a color rarely goes out of style.
History of black color in fashion
If you look at history, man has always been fascinated with this color. Early usage of the color black might have been from burnt charcoal. It was one of the colors used in neolithic cave paintings. The color black has been associated with both positive and negative emotions. This also depends on the culture. It was used by priests of Christianity to show humility and rejection of worldly possessions. Black is associated with mystery as we always depict black for the clothing of black knights, witches, detectives, spies, and mystery men in all history books and fiction.
Ever since Designer Coco Chanel came up with her Little black dress, black is seen in the fashion world as a color of elegance and chic. Till then black was considered as a color for commoners and shop girls. And for mourning. But with the introduction of LBD, black rose to be a favorite of the socialites. Other designers like Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent also embraced black.
Related post : Little Black Dress.
In alternate fashion, Black represents rebellion, a protest against conformity -the black leather jackets of bikers or the black makeup of the punks or the black gowns of goths are examples.
Which black is for you?
Today, black is used extensively in fashion. Models and celebrities walk the ramp and go to glittering parties in black ensembles. But still a black suit for men is considered appropriate for attending funerals (and ironically for getting married),
Black, though appreciated, has a problem. When you dress completely in black it can have a flattening a little harsh effect.Especially when it is only black. I have read that it can accentuate wrinkles on the face- Oh, My God! The solution is to err on the side of black ie choose a less harsher black like Anthracite, Charcoal grey. Checkout the dark shades of grey color here which almost look like black.
Black falls in the purview of cool colors. So it suits a person with a cool tone complexion (with undertones of blue, pink or violet) better than a person with a warm complexion. But depending on the undertones black can have cool or warm tones. So if you have a warm complexion you can go for warm blacks like reddish black and Pitch black (a brownish black). If you have a cool complexion you can go for blacks with cool undertones like Ink black, Greyish black, Blueish black.
If you believe in Fengshui you will know that black represents the water element. As per fengshui black should be used sparingly otherwise it will become too overwhelming and even oppressive. This aspect is usually considered in home decor.
Different shades of Black
Black and variations
Pick Black has a little bit of brown cast; Ink black is a velvety black with a little bit of Indigo blue cast
Greyish black – As the name says this has a grey cast. Licorice is a light black color. Other such blacks are Greenish black, Reddish black, Bluish black. Anthracite is a dark grey color that looks black but is not. It is a favourite color for men’s clothing.
Related post : Grey color and its different shades.
Maintaining the black color in clothes
If you have a black garment that is expensive you have your work cut out to maintain it. Because black color is notorious for fading. If you treat it like other garments you will have an old faded garment before its time. Dry clean your black garments for the first few washes atleast and then hand wash in mild liquid detergent meant for colored clothes. This will prevent the fading.
A wool fabric maintains its black color more than any other black fabric. Cotton fades very fast. Whichever fabric your black clothes look horrible when it is faded. You can re-dye your black clothes to previous black glory – that is a solace.
Another thing to take care of is to avoid the lint- the white powdery residue from other clothes. This can make your black clothes look old and dirty. You can turn the garment inside out when you wash it with other clothes to prevent lint. Read more about removing lint in this post.