The Color Black: A Powerful Understatement

We have all heard the saying: “less is more”. It is especially applicable in the world of fashion, specifically with the color black. When paired correctly, it is striking, bold, yet unassumingly chic. It is a staple of wardrobes all over the world. As Karl Lagerfeld put it: “One is never over- or underdressed with a little black dress.”

black 1
via @allblackoutfits.official

To make my point about black as a powerful tool in the fashion world, let me first digress to photography. To me, black-and-white photography is incredibly fascinating. It is simple, understated, and leaves much to the imagination. With color stripped away, the viewer is forced to process and analyze the image more intensely. It is a paradox of sorts: the simplicity of it makes it all the more complex. You have the subject, but the emotional effect of the color palette disappears, forcing the viewer to analyze the photograph even more. I believe this strikes an interesting parallel to the fashion world – perhaps this is one of the reasons the color black is so popular in fashion. From the staple LBD to the black business blazer, black has proven over the years to be the go-to fashion statement. In an all-black outfit, the boldness of the color itself helps compliment the uniformity of the overall ensemble. Black can be understated, yet chic, striking and powerful. An all-black ensemble gives you more creative range for other aspects of the outfit: perhaps a daring red heel, a red lip, or a neon-colored purse. Black as an underlying base color also allows for experimentation and collaboration with other colors.

black 2
via @simple_style_street

One of the key aspects of an all-black outfit is its universality. Whether it’s a night out, a casual brunch, a job interview, or a regular workday, black is always practical and at your disposal to work with however you want. On another note, the power and influence of black is present not only in fashion, but in how people make use of the spaces they live in as well. Feng Shui is the practice of organizing space, whether it be an office, bedroom, or living room, in a way that produces a sense of harmony and cohesion. The goal is to feel at one with your surrounding environment. Within Feng Shui, different characteristics are attributed to different colors. Black, for instance, is associated with characteristics of the water element, namely: power, mystery, and serenity. Incorporating black elements into your surroundings can thus create a grounding, calming effect due to the color’s intense emotional energy. This could be a piece of black furniture, black dinner plates, or artwork centered around a black theme. However you would decide to integrate elements of black into your environment, the effect would universally be the same. Similarly, for fashion, incorporating more black staples into your wardrobe could add a sense of power, mystery, and solidity. Even a simple, oversized black winter coat could help give a little boost of confidence and pep in your step.

black 3
via @vintageefeeling

All in all, black may come across as pretty intimidating. However, when styled correctly, it proves to be a complex paradoxical fashion statement with hidden tones of harmony and confidence.


Eva Ferguson

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