The colour black

Black is strong, rich and dramatic. Black is easy to coordinate with and can sometimes give the impression that an item is better quality than it is.

So it’s easy to see why it appeals to so many women. Because of its increasing ubiquity, however, black – in Melbourne particularly – is at risk of losing its impact.

Throughout the twentieth century wearing black made a statement. But in the twentieth first century it has started to become mundane. In some quarters, it is almost like a uniform. Unfortunately, black clothes often now indicate that someone is trying to disappear or at least blend in – perhaps because they lack confidence. Black has become the ‘safe’ choice for women.

When you shop for clothes in Melbourne you are always offered a black option. It is often represented in more than half a range hanging in a store. It is difficult to find certain garments in colours other than black here in Melbourne. For example, tights and stockings are almost impossible to find in colours other than black or flesh coloured.

Having said that, I do recommend black for clients whose colouring will be complimented by black – generally they will be naturally dark haired women with clear complexions. For others, particularly of Anglo-Saxon heritage, black adds shadows and drains the life and colour from their face, making them look tired and unwell.

Many people believe black is slimming and they like that. But that’s a myth as a black clothed silhouette is more sharply contrasted against light / medium value backgrounds than other colours, drawing our attention to the shape instead of the detail.

Black can be effective for hiding detail though. Lumps and bumps beneath the garment are harder to detect when enclothed in black. But this same effect can be achieved by wearing other deep colours that serve the dual purpose of helping the complexion to appear more radiant.

Black accents in a coloured outfit can still look striking. But the people who really stand out are those who know what colours suit them and demonstrate that they know how to combine colours creatively.

I used to wear a lot of black when I was younger. It was a little less common then, so it was a little more striking. In my youth my personal style was influenced by a music sub-culture that used black a lot.

When we are young our complexion is more radiant so we can still glow in harsh colours such as black. I started wearing less black as I got older but it wasn’t until I trained in colour theory and application that I understood why I was instinctively moving away from wearing it.

Strictly, black is not a colour – it is a neutral. Colours are found on the colour wheel or in the light refracted through a prism – black is not. Black is the absence of colour or the visual impression we receive when no visible light reaches the eye.

Black is beautiful! But don’t forget to embrace the other colours as well – it may be more liberating and exciting than you suspect.

Photo by  Yuni Stahl  on  Unsplash

Photo by Yuni Stahl on Unsplash