Rules For Wearing All Black

Rules For Wearing All Black

Aside from my goth-punk phase in high school, wearing all black has never been my thing. In fact, I’ve become a bit ANTI in my personal styling career often advising my clients to bring in more color.

But recently, I’ve shifted my stance. I am no longer 100% against it. At the same time, I’m not fully endorsing it. 

There is a time and place when all black is the best option. And then there are times when it’s not. That’s what I’m going to break down in this post.

Keep reading to get the rules!

Why The Shift?

First, let me explain why I changed my stance.

My husband has been binging Top Chef so I started paying attention to the host Padma Lakshmi — she wears a lot of black, and clearly it’s working for her!

Then the Olivia Newton-John pics circulated, and I saw this one:

In all red, this look would have missed the rebellious edge that Sandy was trying to embody. This outfit HAD to be black.

But you don’t have to be Padma Lakshmi or Sandy in Grease to have the head to toe ebony look work for you.

Here are 5 Times To Wear All Black

  1. When it compliments your skin, hair and eyes
  2. When you don’t want to think about mixing and matching your clothes…it doesn’t get any easier than pairing black
  3. When you don’t want to stand out
  4. When you want to feel rebellious or edgy
  5. To a funeral

When To Avoid All Black

  1. When it drains your coloring and makes you look tired
  2. On stage, on video, or on a photoshoot
  3. When you want to be remembered and stand out
  4. When you want to feel vibrant
  5. When it feels safe or has gone on autopilot

Now I’ll share why it’s better to wear color. 

All black blends in. 

I’ll never forget the time I wore a black tux to the Grammy’s in the early 2000’s. I felt invisible. After this occasion, I vowed NEVER to make this mistake again. It’s when my anti-all black stance began. 

Color is vibrant. 

My client had an upcoming photoshoot, so on a recent call we reviewed the previous spreads done for the magazine. There were a few women wearing black, and their looks were not exciting! This gave me the opportunity to explain to my client why I thought she should NOT do the same. 

First off, it’s not one of her complimentary colors. But more importantly, it’s not her personality. I understand that black can convey authority and influence, but there are so many other VIBRANT ways to do this. Look at Anna Wintour — someone who is incredibly authoritative and influential — she is always photographed in color! 

The Only Option

The bottom line is that wearing all black works better for some people than it does for others. But what I’ve noticed with my clients is that some end up wearing it all the time, but not by choice. It becomes a habit A.K.A. a rut.

All black is easy. I do it when I can’t be bothered to do anything else. This is fine for a day or so. But I don’t want my style to be defined by my laziness. 

I also don’t want to blend in and I like the vibrancy color adds.

Should you wear all black?

If you feel inspired wearing it, and it’s your true expression…go for it!
If not, it’s better to bring in color.

Need to know your most vibrant colors?  I can help

In a Tailored to You style consultation, I will create your personal color palette based on your skin, hair and eyes. Then I’ll combine your colors with your unique body shape and personal preferences to set the foundation for your updated style. This makes shopping and getting dressed easy because you know what looks good!


Interested?

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Elysha Lenkin
Elysha Lenkin helps women express themselves through fashion so they look current, feel confident and stay true to themselves. For over 20 years, she's worked on commercial shoots styling women in all shapes, ages and sizes including Carrie Underwood, Tina Fey and Serena Williams. Now her focus is to make fashion fun and approachable for real women so they show up feeling like superstars in their lives.

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