I wear the black for those who never read, Or listened to the words that Jesus said, About the road to happiness through love and charity, Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.
Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose, In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes, But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back, Up front there ought ‘a be a Man In Black. – The Man in Black by Johnny Cash
Like Johnny, I too choose to wear a lot of black, but my reasons for doing so are not nearly as poetic. My high school students love that I prefer this darkest shade and my grandfather likens my look to that of an Italian widow, but it always seems to get a question or comment from those around me. I don’t hate color or life or joy or fun. I’m not goth and I don’t prefer dark things. I do, however, want to clarify why I choose to dress the way I do and share my reasons.
1. It’s easy.
Imagine getting dressed and not having to think all that much about what you’re putting on. In choosing items mainly in variations of black and white, I’ve set myself up for easy morning mixing and matching. Things don’t clash, and there’s never a wrong season to this or that color. If there was An Idiot’s Guide to Fashion(which I’d buy) it would have black clothing as the main step towards mastery.
2. It’s timeless.
A black pair of jeans I bought 6 years ago is still relevant today. Ever hear of the Little Black Dress? Yeah, there’s a reason it’s not gold, blue, or pink. It’s black because it never goes out of style. The epitome of timeless elegance, Audrey Hepburn, wore mainly black and neutrals. She is still heralded as a style icon, and that’s even decades after Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
3. It’s cheaper.
Since changing the way I dressed and viewed style, I’ve created more value in the items I do buy. I get more bang for my buck so to speak, so I save money. Like a TON of money! I consider myself frugal and have always enjoyed saving money. When I was younger, I would mainly buy vintage clothing at Goodwill or quirky shops along my travels. I wanted to infuse nostalgia and history into the things I wore, and I loved the eras that my clothing represented. They were all wearable art pieces, really, with crazy patterns and insanely bright colors and embellishments. They were beautiful. But the problem was that I ended up with a closet full of brightly patterned statement pieces that couldn’t be worn more than once in a while, let alone on certain occasions. Clothing that can barely be worn is not only useless, it’s a waste! Invest only in valuable things. I might not be as bright, but it’s better, I promise you.
4. It’s safer.
I’m usually pretty graceful, but I’m also tall. I have long limbs that don’t always do as they’re told, and on occasion, I’ll spill on myself or ruin whatever I’m wearing and have to toss it. When you wear black, those spills do not show up and you can keep your shirt or pants for many years to come regardless of what life throws at them (pun intended!).
5. It’s simple.
My closet has shrunk since I took over this more minimal fashion practice. Moving is simpler. Travel is simpler. Walking around in my room is simpler, because the sheer volume of my clothing has diminished. My bag doesn’t have to be checked regardless of how long my trip is. I’m planning a trip this April and because of where I’m staying, I’ll have to take my bag to the museum I’m spending the day in. That could not happen before. Life is simpler in black.
I’m lucky that right now, this paired-down minimalist style is on trend or cool or whatever, but timeless is timeless (see #2). This isn’t to say that I don’t or won’t ever wear color, but the vast majority of my clothing is noir. If fashion is supposed to be a reflection of ourselves, then I will say that I like (and so hope to reflect) that mystery, edge, polish, and elegance of black, but best of all is I’ve found my path of least resistance to looking presentable in any circumstance and that path is black.
Plus, I won’t argue with this guy.
The Square Peg