Style and Styling

7 Tips to Break the Black Habit!

Happy day, dear reader!

Is it spring where you live? Or does it already feel like summer? As the weather warms, it’s a great time to take a look at our dressing habits. What’s working, what’s not, and what might need some tweaking… Style? Cut? Color? What is your favorite color? Now, what’s your favorite color to wear? I regularly hear two completely different answers to these questions. But why?

Many women I know answer that their favorite color to wear is black. I ask my clients to think about why a particular color dominates in their closet, or in their everyday wardrobe choices. It’s another piece of mindfulness. Discovering our default, and why we have it can be the key to our escape. Is it because black is chic? Easy? Practical? Is black yours? Have you been seduced by the dark side, or fallen prey to the Myths About Wearing Black?

If you’ve gotten into a black (or any dark) rut and are looking to climb out, here’s a repost of 7 tips to help you up the ladder, and back into the world of color!

Take a Selfie

One of the best ways to see what we really look like is to take a selfie. Do this every day for at least a week. If you don’t have a full length mirror at home, there is probably one in your bathroom at work. (This will require precise timing, though! You don’t want to scare anyone coming out of a stall…) Take a selfie and look at it. Really look at it. Often when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we are so busy checking that the bits we don’t like are camouflaged, that we miss the rest of our outfit. The camera gives us a more objective view. Once you have a week’s worth, compare how your face and skin look in your black clothing to how they look in other colors. In what shots do you look healthiest? Most youthful? Best rested? Now are you ready to try?

Whew, these are OLD! I may not be swaddled in black here, but I can see now how what I was wearing is too dark for me!

Pull Out Your Black

First, pull all your black clothing out of your closet and drawers. If that is just too scary, put all of it in one section of your closet to get them out of your way. Take a good look at what you have left, and how well these pieces play together. Spend 15 minutes mixing and matching to see what you can do. Often we grab what we’ve always worn because it’s easy. When you want to default to black, stop and reach for any other neutral! If you can wear a (solid) item with black, you can wear it with any other neutral. Try grey, navy, camel, ivory, taupe, or olive.  If taking the black out of the mix leaves you with no way to leave the house without arrest, try one or more of the baby steps below:

Colored Accessories

One way to escape the black rut is to add a colored accessory to your outfit. By this I do NOT mean a neutral, or metallic accessory. I mean a rainbow color, one you find on the color wheel! A scarf, a necklace, or statement earrings are a great place to start. Shoes are fabulous, too, but remember to repeat the color again somewhere near your face to keep the attention where it belongs. Don’t know what color to choose? Look closely at your eyes in a mirror. Choose a color from your eyes. That will always suit you! If your eyes are brown, try a blue! Blue and brown are complimentary colors. (Brown is a dark orange.)

If you have enough non-black clothes to prevent arrest, try some of the following:

Weekend Without Black

If you feel like wearing color will draw unwanted attention at work, then try a WWB (Weekend Without Black). Often it feels easier to choose color for “playtime.” Casual clothing frequently comes in a greater variety of colors than work wear, so the weekend can be a perfect time to step away from the dark side. Just because you are not wearing black does not mean you need to look like you crashed into a unicorn or a rainbow. Be strategic. Start by choosing one rainbow color to add to your jeans or khakis.

Travel Capsule

Weekend Getaway From Black?

Another way to finesse the work issue is to break away during a trip. Pack your bag with a non-black neutral and colors. Much like on the weekend, it can be easier to take risks away from home. (There’s a reason they say “What happens in Vegas…”) Another bonus to leaving the black out of your suitcase is that unless you go shopping, you will need to work with what you packed.


If combining colors stresses you out, try a monochromatic outfit! Monochromatic doesn’t mean black and white. Even if you often hear it used that way! Black and white are Achromatic–lacking color. Monochrome = One Color. Mix shades of whatever rainbow color you choose. Think paint chips… Try combining different shades of blue, from indigo to sky, to palest blue. Wine, raspberry and pink. Green and mint. Russet and coral. As long as they have the same undertone and clarity, it will look intentional rather than haphazard.

Mixing the colors up and down a paint swatch
(or in the same color family) creates a monochromatic look!

Capsule Week

Feeling a little braver yet? Pull together a mini-capsule of 10 pieces to wear for a week. You know what comes next… Leave the black out of your capsule. Spend some time playing with your 10 to see how many outfits you can make by mixing and matching. 4/3/2/1 is a great starting point. 4 Tops, 3 Bottoms, 2 Toppers (jacket or cardie), and 1 Dress. If there is a category here that you don’t wear, please feel free to substitute! I see 38 outfits here without even changing jewelry or shoes…

How about you? Is black your default, or a conscious decision with which you are really happy? What is your favorite color? What’s your favorite color to wear? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!

Stylishly yours,


    • closetplayadmin

      Glad to be of help, Angie! As your coloring is overall light, I think that would be a great idea! It’s hard to make the transition to seeing ourselves in lighter colors. The selfie habit can be really enlightening. Take one each day for a week or two, and then look at all of them together. In which ones is your face the focus, and in which your body? Thanks for the visit, and let me know how it goes!

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