Our wardrobe says a lot about us, it expresses a visual story to those around us. It is a form of communicating parts of ourselves, our beliefs, and values. Every outfit you wear is a reflection of our own relationship with fashion, even if you are not a style-conscious person and ‘chuck on anything’. The way we represent ourselves through our relationships with clothing can sometimes speak louder than words. Although we should never judge a book by its cover, the cover certainly suggests a lot about the book! Our self-perception is a huge factor when it comes to the way we dress. When we have a positive self-image our clothes can be used as a tool to reveal confidence and uniqueness. Conversely, some use various styles as a medium to conceal parts of themselves that they may not like.
With this in mind, it is important to ponder on the colours that we wear, and their significance of it when assembling an outfit for the day. Our clothes signal so much about ourselves, which we may not always be conscious of. They are an expression of who we are, and since a young age colours have been used to communicate our identity.
For example, at baby showers colours are a key element to the reveal of the sex of the baby. The colour blue is paired with masculinity and pink is perceived as feminine and we associate these colours to the sex of the baby before they are even born. This is an early construction of who we are just through the use of colour. Despite this, many brands offer gender-neutral colours and styles as the traditional gender binaries are slowly blurring. This gives the opportunity for people to break the binaries and wear whatever colour they choose! Some may wear orange because it is their favorite colour, some may wear green to be bold, and some may wear yellow because it makes them feel good, but what about the colour black?
How Does The Colour Black Make Us Feel?
The colour black carries many contrasting connotations: in colour psychology wearing black signals a desire for power. When assessing individuals who gravitate to an all-black wardrobe, you will find that psychological factors play a huge role. Research in colour psychology suggests that those who wear all black find a sense of ‘togetherness and certainty’. A survey states: ”Throughout all our survey black came first or second in most ‘good’ traits (for example – confidence, intelligence, and sexiness) and barely figured in the bad traits.”
The same survey shows that the colour black is often seen as the most attractive which is often seen as ‘reliable’ and ‘serious’ which translates to power and confidence. However, as white is symbolic of pureness, traditional high-end fashion would disregard black clothing for women as it opposes the ‘pure’ feminine expectations, causing black clothing to be perceived as dark, devious, and dangerous.
Nonetheless, there is a repetition of black clothing holding stylish value in fashion and subcultures, such as biker groups, goth, and punk. Punk, for example, was an act of rebellion from traditional norms through non conforming to ideals of dress, gender, and music. As well as this there are many depictions of black clothing in film like the powerful Catwoman in Batman, dressed in a shiny black catsuit. As well as James Bond and Men In Black with black and of course the famous Audrey Hepburn in her little black dress in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Maybe this is where the little black dress staple came from?
The colour white is known to cause an illusion of a bigger frame. However black is also known to be a very slimming colour, so many people feel confident in the slimming quality and use the colour to feel comfortable in their skin. A black piece of clothing can cause feelings of comfort, power or simply just for aesthetic reasons. Personally, the aspect I love about wearing black clothing the most is that it has no association to traditional gender stereotypes, anyone can wear black and feel comfortable (although we should be able to wear any colour freely) but for me the fact that it does not suggest ‘feminine’ nor ‘masculine’ this allows flaunting clothes and breaking down gender binaries at the same time!
Another perk of having an all-black wardrobe is that it is more acceptable to repeat outfits. It enables you to switch from a black skirt, a black top, black trousers, a black jacket. In turn, creates a lack of false needs and decreases consumption. It also makes getting ready in the morning way easier! Not only is it easier to choose your look for the day, but it is also much easier to pair with other colours. I usually love to add pops of colour to an all-black outfit, like some bright earrings, or a white bag- it brings more attention to detail. Black clothing has gone from a taboo, a rebel from norms to a symbol of power. Whatever your reason for the colour black being your favourite, it says more about you than you may think!