Who’s The Boss? Who Has More Power? Ofcourse, The Woman Dressed in Black
My recent visit to a gala fashion event left me puzzled to see a sea of people dressed head to toe in black. I paused for a while and asked myself: “what is this..some social cult or something?”
During the event my thoughts raced towards fashionistas devotion to the colour black. It was almost equivalent to the sea of orange coloured robes I saw people wearing at OSHO’s International Meditation Resort in Pune or White robes adorned by the nuns of my Lucknow School. Though in the following years wardrobes of the stylits have brightened up a bit, but although trends such as colour blocking or floral prints may float by on the surface wave, underneath there is a deeper, darker tide that pulls us back towards black. Repeated try by the fashion industry on colour codes now and then may highlight that red or pink or blue is the new black, the old black is still very much with us.
Well known online fashion Stores confirm that “black” items sales are twice as many as “blue”, and five or six times as many as “brown” or “grey”. This ratio remains more or less the same in winter and summer. Any online upmarket fashion retailer will vouch that they have more blacks in their wares than any other colour at any time of the year.
I have often asked this question to myself that what is in black which has a high infatuation value than any of the more dreamy colours our world is made up of. As a black admirer myself, I wear colours sometimes, particularly in summer, but black is what I feel most comfortable in. Even while on a shopping spree I might try to lure myself in buying more colourful and floral outfits but the fact remains that black naturally attracts me like a moth to fire.
So for all those others who are asked why they wear so much black, here I am trying to answer that question.
The Psychology of Black
The colour Black sure has some history to it.
Black is a distinctive feature of religious garments (nuns, priests, Hassidic Jews). It remained a part of army uniform of many old civilizations and also various cults and societies.
In the modern day world it can be clearly seen as a part of distinguished uniform in the hotel industry, in corporate who are fietishly attracted to it and and many other business who have made black as their official colour. Black finds itself as uniquely versatile and flexible in the arena of clothing be them smart, casual, uniform, anit-uniform et el.
Black is defined as the very darkest colour. Scientifically black absorbs all the visible frequencies of light, just as white reflects them all. Adding black to a colour changes its tone, not its hue. You will not find black in a painter’s pallete , water colourists opine that black is cheating and that it gives an impressions of all colours which we want to perceive. Black is an absence, not a presence. That what I think has made black so versatile and this colour can have so many wildly different meanings projected on to it.
This absence-not-presence is surely why black is universally believed to be flattering, and why anyone who has ever fretted about their figure regards black as a true friend. Architects while defining spaces with colours say that if you paint a very small room black it can seem bigger.
In the words of late Liz Tilberis, ex-editor of British Vogue, “Black gives you an outline, a silhouette”. Colour and pattern, on the other hand, give you a surface-broken up, textured, contoured, that runs around the body and creates a visual sense of dimension. Black doesn’t actually have magical powers, though—if the outline is bulgy, in theory black will emphasise that, whereas colour and pattern detract from it. It should therefore follow that slim people look better in black than chubby ones, but that is a subjective matter.
Also there are a lot of practical reasons for choosing black. When I ask people why they prefer black over other colours, their natural first response is that “it’s easy to handle black”, which means it does not reflect the dirt (an important aspect in all uniforms), it does not date, it matches with almost all other colours, and most important it makes you stand out from the crowd. Black may look smart even if it’s cheap, and hence economically becomes a better choice, in short it’s the ruler of all other colours… Black is no doubt the king of colours.
For designers too black is an Angel. Doing colour can be time-consuming and complex—there are too many variables and it very tough to strike a right colour combination which people will like instantly. Some say black is boring and makes all wearers look alike. However, in the eyes of Marie-Christine Brunin, who brought Zara’s shops to Britain, black makes clothing recede and isolates the face, so emphasising our individuality.
Wow!! now that’s some reason to go BLACK…