Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Is black really the new black?

How much black do you have in your wardrobe?  When you are looking to buy, for example, a new pair of trousers for winter - what colour do you usually go for?  Come on, be honest!  So many women end up settling for black for various reasons: it never seems to go out of date; it is considered slimming (which for most of us has to be a good thing!); it rarely looks cheap even when it is a cheap buy; it goes with most other colours, it's considered chic and it's a safe option. If in doubt, we go for black.  I'm just as guilty as other women in this respect..

But - isn't it also a bit boring?  There. I've said it.  Black can be a bit too predictable and, if we are honest with ourselves, it can be harsh and unflattering once you reach a certain age. Maybe we should be looking for our new black instead of settling for the same old black.

A better choice than black?
In my recent search for my perfect black or navy jacket, I soon realised that none of the plain black jackets that I tried on suited me.  I eventually bought a grey flecked jacket from Mango that was not only a good shape for me but also it was a far more flattering colour close to my face.

In my recent wardrobe purge most of my black clothes went out, though I did keep a black pencil skirt and a pair of black trousers. My last purchases were a pair of navy trousers and a navy trench-coat, which fortunately are proving to be just as versatile as black.  In future I will be sticking to navy or possibly dark brown for my basics, as I have established that they look far better on me and make me look more youthful, which can't be a bad thing.

For me, navy is now my new black.  What about you?  Have you managed to wean yourself off black and find a new colour for your basics?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Of course, there are some lucky women who still look stunning in black even when they are over 60.  Are you one of them?  
Navy is my new black!  This jacket is now on my wish list.


  1. Very valid points. I have worn a lot of black since I first started work in 1977, in the offices of a steel company. The offices were not the cleanest and black didn't show the dirt as much. It set the pattern for my winter wardrobe for future years.

    As my weight increased I too bought into the 'black is slimming' ideal and continued to have black as the base for my wardrobe. About 15 years ago I had a colour analysis done which told me I should not wear black - too late, by then I had bought several items of expensive, good quality suits for work in black. I would not be changing to the recommended blue.

    More recently when my father was still alive, he complained that I wore too much black and needed colour. I have a long, black, leather coat with a fake fur collar which I loved and still do. As I wouldn't replace my coat my dad took to buying me brightly coloured scarves to brighten me up. I have some beautiful scarves from my dad, and now he is no longer with me, I take great comfort from the scarves he bought me.

    In my father's later years he always wore navy, and at his funeral, out of respect for him, I wore navy, not black and a brightly coloured pink,red & navy scarf.

    Now I find I am gradually changing from a staple of black to charcoal grey for trousers ( I don't do skirts) and many of my blouses and jumpers match just as well with dark grey as they did black, but the grey is less harsh, and as an added benefit doesn't show the dog hairs as much.

    As an aside I find my summer staple wardrobe is changing colour from white to beige, again beige is less harsh and more complimentary as I age than white.

    Love your blog, keep it up.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jacqui.

    I think that when we were younger we saw wearing black as being more sophisticated - I certainly did. Obviously we had lovely young complexions then so it didn't look too harsh! Also, many features in fashion magazines praise black as being slimming, classic, timeless and so on. I have a book that suggests we should all have a little black dress in our wardrobe, with no suggestion that we might not look good in it. The whole fashion industry is persuading us that black is best! Your Dad sounds like an astute man: he gave you very good advice. At my Mum's funeral I wore a brown trouser suit with a bright green top as she had decreed that we shouldn't wear black!

    I think I will have to write a post for the summer months: Is white really right for you?

  3. There is a further disadvantage to wearing white, other than the harshness against aging skin, (although living in Spain, the all year round tan helps), and that is the increasing frequency that food gets dropped on clothing as the years in proportion to age.

  4. Jacqui, though I live in Spain all year, I don't tan - I just get more freckles! Interesting comment about food getting dropped on clothing: maybe this is why our Grandmothers wore lots of flowery dresses and blouses? Hiding all the stains!