Abundant Black Disorder - how to wear black

We all have it in our wardrobes. It often forms the staple colour which everything else works around. 

Fashion Stylists and bloggers, Deborah and JoJami (Fabulous After 40), have penned a term "Abundant Black Disorder". You may instantly relate to that and be nodding your head in agreement.  

Why do we have so much black?

We believe that black is a safe colour, one that you can always rely on. 

Every girl must have a "little black dress" and every man a "black suit for weddings, funerals and job interviews". 

We are told that black recedes and therefore makes us look slimmer.

It is a versatile colour that creates many different images - classic, authority, elegance, sexy, rebellious, etc... It goes with everything.  

We can wear it to hide, fit-in or to shine.

Unfortunately, 'black is best' is not true for all of us and tends to be a marketing ploy. If black is safe, we will always buy it, the shops supply it and make a sale. Because it is always available, we believe that it must be a good colour for everyone. A young colour. A slimming colour.

But, black is such a strong colour that it can be a trap for an unaware wearer. 

If you love wearing the colour black, consider...

1. Not everyone can wear black successfully. For most people, when worn close to the face, black washes us out, emphasising every shadow and line. It can dull your eye, skin and hair colour. 

Solution:

 

Wearing Black

 

 

2. Black creates a strong outline of your body more than any other colour. When wearing shapeless garments with no layering of various lengths, your body can gain visual kilo's.

Solution: 

  • Wear styles that suit your face and body shape.
  • Ensure garments look balanced (eg shaped top with a flowing skirt).
  • Add interest or focal points with fabric textures, surfaces, design details, colour or prints.
  • Break the all black with tonal or coloured accessories


Wearing Black

 

3. Wearing black on an area we would like to dimenish, can help with illusion dressing. But, wearing black on a smaller area of your body will make that area appear even smaller. If for instance, you are an inverted triangle (broad shoulders, may have a full bust with finer hips and slender legs), wearing black leggings with a lighter/brighter/more interesting top, will cause your lovely legs to be overshadowed and your upper half emphasised.  See the outfits below.

Solution 

 

  • Understand where to wear different depths of colour on your body. 
  • General rule, wear darker or neutral colours on your larger areas and lighter/ brighter/ more interesting fabrics/ colours/ patterns on your smaller areas. This will help create balance to your overall shape. 
 
Wearing Black

 

I have dressed an Inverted Triangle in this illustration, keeping with the black theme. Where does your eye go? What area looks bigger? smaller? 

The other day, I felt like applauding the outfit choice of a lady in her late 40's, who had beautiful light colouring. Camel coloured slightly tapered jersey trousers with a sky blue t-shirt that had a medium scooped neckline. Over the top, she wore the same blue and camel colours, white background, in a floral print open shirt. Shoes were a bone colour. My eye was taken by the beautiful combinations of colours and softness of fabrics, rather than her shape - an overweight round. Had she worn the same outfit in black, her whole look would have said 'heavy'. 

I would like to put out a challenge to all of us - have a look in our wardrobes and face any "Abundant Black Disorder" lurking inside. Let's consider introducing, and wearing, other colours that work more beautifully with our current clothing. Start small... 

Navy. Charcoal. Chocolate. Pewter. Stone. Khaki. Olive. Bark. Greys. Taupe. Eggplant. Camel.