“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as its black” Henry Ford
Ford was apparently only joking when he said this, and in fact the Model T was offered in more than one colour, however a quick glance in my wardrobe would suggest, and confirm, that with me it is not a joke. Recently , and yes I know I am a bit late to the party, I discovered the whole “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour” lovefest and immediately I thought, well there’s a party I’d like to join. In fact, it’s a party I could throw. Black is not just the base of my wardrobe, it is the base, the topcoat, the moldings, even the bloody paint brush is black. It runs along the lines of : I have a number of pairs of black jeans which I rotate daily – just to be sure I stay fresh and clean smelling- and then I have my ‘good’ pair of black jeans, the ones I wear with heels if I am going out. When I’m not in black jeans, I’m in black sweats. Top wise. Yep pretty much always black, or white. Occasionally a colour like red, purple or blue. Footwear is black converse or black sketchers or black leather boots. Heels, although too seldom worn, (sad life that I lead) are loved by me and I have a bit of a collection. Mostly black, or yeah black, although I do have the odd pair in purple or red. Coats and jackets fall into the same category – mostly black or animal print or denim, blue. Accessories are my first love so I have lots of bags and jewelry and it is usually here that I experiment with a bit of colour; that ‘pop’ much loved by fashion magazines. And I agree, all black ensemble with a vibrant, eye-catching, purple metallic clutch – hard to beat.
By those in the know it is said that the colour black is associated with power, elegance, formality and mystery. It is also associated with death, particularly as the colour of choice for mourning and funeral wear. Throughout the ages black clothing has always been popular and at various times represented everything from poverty, only the wealthy could afford dyes so colourful clothes meant wealth, to spirituality, priests and nuns and other members of religious orders always dressed in black, to the beatniks, the hipsters who “would rise and roam America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way.” Or at least that’s what Kerouac hoped. That it played out like that is debatable. (If you are unclear about the look, Hepburn does a nice little snazzy routine in a Paris nightclub in the musical Funny Face that captures the look perfectly). With as many uses for the colour as there is, there is also as many shades of it. Rembrandt was very fond of the colour himself and his paintings illustrate the incredible spectrum of shades of black – his sitters in one shade but set against the dark ,night time background in an entirely different shade.
Of course, many people wear black simply because it can make you look thinner. NO FURTHER DISCUSSION required. Granted this may seem very vain and a bit shallow, but hey, if it makes you happy, it makes you happy.
I wear black because ,well I like it. It might be because on some subconscious level it can make you feel very inconspicuous. And although I like to be noticed, I don’t like to be the center of attention. I also actually think it looks good on me, and whether that’s because it shaves off a few extra pounds, well so be it. In some circles black is said to be aging so perhaps that’s the trade off – youth for size. I think if it suits you, it isn’t aging but then I may be guilty of “the lady doth protest too much ” syndrome. In some fashion circles, black is seen as boring, and the wearer lacking in imagination. Well you can probably imagine my response to that! And many of the biggest names and the greatest creative minds in fashion only wear black – Chanel, Wang, Lagerfeld for example none of whom you would describe as boring.
But no matter. I honestly don’t mind if people want to dismiss my preferred clothing choice as boring, I like it. And that at the end of the day, is all that really matters.