Ways to Break the Black Habit
Happy day, dear reader!
What’s your favorite color? Now, what’s your favorite color to wear? Frequently, these are two completely different answers. But why?
So many women I know answer that their favorite color to wear is black. Maybe they’ve been seduced by the dark side, or maybe they’ve just fallen prey to the Myths About Wearing Black. I ask my clients to think about why a particular color dominates in their closet, or in their everyday wardrobe choices.
It’s important to figure out why we’ve fallen into a rut. Knowing why can be the key to escape. Is it because black is chic? Easy? Practical? If you’ve gotten into a black rut and are looking to climb out, here are a few strategies to help you up the ladder!
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? Youngest? Best rested? Now are you ready to try?
Pull Out Your Black
First, pull all the black clothing you wear out of your closet and drawers. If that is just too scary, put all of them 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. Taking the black out of the mix gives you a chance to find new inspiration! If the thought causes you to panic, try one or more of the baby steps below:
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 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.
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.
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…
If combining colors stresses you out, try a monochromatic outfit! Mix shades of whatever rainbow color you choose? 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.
How about you? Is black your default, or a conscious decision? What is your favorite color? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below!
Many thanks to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for the Link-Up!
Black is my favourite colour for clothes. I’m quite short so I really don’t like anything that breaks up my silhouette too much. What I have been doing, is adding a touch of something bright, like a turquoise or red bag. Or a fabulous shawl-type cover. But I do love all of your suggestions, too.
Thank you! I used to wear black all the time! It was my signature color, but as I have gotten older, it is no longer flattering, and to be blunt, really quite harsh! I, too, am altitudinally challenged, and like to wear a column of color to create length, but any color works, it doesn’t have to be black. Hope to hear from you, again!