5 Things to Keep In Mind While Wearing Black

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine company implemented a company-wide 85 percent all-black dress code. There were two key reasons behind this decision. The first was a branding reason: some of the business units already had this policy in place, and best marketing practices suggest that coherence and consistency are essential in how a brand presents itself to the outside world. So black is now a company-wide color and the team reflects a unified look and feel to partners and vendors. The second reason is that black, really, makes everyone look amazing. Coco Chanel, one of my style icons, perhaps said it best: “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. ... [Its] beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Indeed, in the 1920s, Coco Chanel invented the staple of women’s closets, the “Little Black Dress,” and herself often wore all black with long pearls. Indeed, many New Yorkers are known to have embraced this color (or absence of color...) of their own accord, and celebrities sport this look while walking down the street and on the red carpet.

I spend enough time with my friend in their office to have myself embraced the all black look. It is not hard to... Black is elegant and chic; black is slimming; black looks good on all skin tones; black looks good with all hair colors; black looks as good on men as it does on women. The dress code makes clothes buying and getting dressed in the morning easier. Black, however, can also be one-dimensional and boring, and while it may seem easy to dress in all black, there are a few rules to keep in mind.

  1. Vary the fabrics and textures. Nothing looks dowdier than an all-black outfit that is all cotton... 
  2. On the fabric note, make sure the fabric selection is season appropriate. A black wool dress will look fabulous in the fall, but out-of-place during the summer. Silk and linen make it easier to pull off the all-black look during the warmer months. 
  3. When putting together a black-on-black, fit becomes even more important. Take advantage of the fact that black is slimming and have the clothes be more fitted and flattering, rather than shapeless and drab. 
  4. Add interest with accessories. Bold, colorful jewelry becomes the statement piece of your outfit. For me, colored stiletto heels are the go-to shoe with any black on black outfit. 
  5. Make your outfit more dressy or casual with the simple change of lipstick color. A LBD can go from day (with a light pink lip stain) to-night (with a bold, deep red lip) seamlessly.