Ah, black. The universally perfect shade. To flatter your form, to pair with anything, even to simply convey a ‘do not talk to me today’ vibe to the rest of the world, black has always been a firm friend of any fashionista.
There was a time, years ago, when my wardrobe was almost exclusively black (the odd shade of grey entered the mix very occasionally), and I thought that this guaranteed me a high ranking in the sixth-form fashion stakes – I was automatically cool, right?
Not necessarily. I have gradually come to realise that there is far more to a comprehensive wardrobe and looking cool than cladding myself in pure darkness all day, every day. Of course, there are still those days when head-to-toe black is the only way forward; it’s always going to be the epitome of chic – simple and classic – but let’s explore some other looks too. There are plenty out there, but I’ve come up with a few ideas of my own. If I can get you die-hard monochrome fans to come round to any of these ideas just a tiny bit, I’ll be happy!
Colours and Layers
Block colours and layering can definitely take you away from the dark side for a day. There is a whole spectrum of colour that can keep your outfit nice and mellow, just like plain black would, but with a little bit more brightness. Think earthy neutrals: beige, khaki, light grey, that kind of thing. Thanks to the influence of Kanye West’s ‘Yeezy’ line, these subtle colours are everywhere at the moment, they’re scattered all over the high street. Layer up a simple, plain hoodie with a long-line coat (or a fluffy pink gilet for extra cosiness, obvs) and you’re good to go.
Is Denim Your New BFF?
Let’s talk about double denim because, let’s be real, it is potentially problematic and not everybody’s cup of tea. You don’t want to end up being more cringe than quirky, so the most important thing is that you feel confident in wearing it. At the same time, don’t be afraid to go all out. I’ve read plenty of times that you should never wear denim of the same wash or weight, but actually I disagree. I think that matching denim can look cool and coordinated, just as a matching tracksuit or, ironically, an all-black outfit can, and that is what I’ve tried to show in my pictures. Similar denims can balance out thanks to features such as distressing and customization, and keeping the other elements of the outfit plain, i.e. shoes and tops, helps too. It may not be as easy to create a double denim look as it is to throw your black clothes on, but those blues can certainly make for an individual, no-frills look in my opinion.
Pops and Patterns
Finally, we come to colour pops and patterns, and this is for those of you out there who can’t get away from the all black vibes (it is a struggle, I will admit!). Colour pops will instantly brighten up and personalise even the darkest of outfits. They’re a lot of fun too because there are so many different ways to get that ‘pop’: a simple bag, pair of shoes, or even a hat can inject just enough colour. Patterns are a similar story – they can be even more exciting to experiment with. Depending on what they are, you can clash them or match them whilst being able to easily stick to whites, greys and blacks if you so desire. No matter where you go with the colours, patterns are a surefire way to shake up an all black wardrobe.
So… Back to Black?
The fact of the matter is that all-black is easy – it’s a quick fix. We’ve all been there: you wake up in the morning, you’re late, but the darkness in your wardrobe steps up to help you out, and you look effortlessly moody-chic in two seconds flat. Job done.
However, there are plenty of quick and easy ways to lose the black but keep your cool, so why not try them out? Experiment, go shopping and, most importantly, love what you wear!
Edited by Olivia Thurlow