I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
but is there because he’s a victim of the times.
– Johnny Cash
Historically there have been several meanings related to the color black. During the reign of Phillip II in Spain, it implied luxury because it was a hue that was hard to keep on fabrics of the time. After the conquest of the American continent, the subject brought their king the bloodwood tree, from which an intense black can be sourced from. His Majesty knew that if the darkest color in nature became fashionable, people would have to buy the dye from him, leading to more income for the crown.
When asking around France for the origins of the color black in fashion, one will inevitably hear of Coco Chanel and her spectacular little black dress. The LBD continues to be a symbol of subtle sensuality and seduction, as well as female strength and elegance.
If we go to the countercultural movements of the twentieth century, we are sure to find plenty of other meanings for this hue. Musicians and writers wore it as a form of rebellion, protest, and mourning towards a world that was falling apart.
But what’s the current significance of wearing all black today? A few years ago, when the All In Black look was introduced, items in this color went from being a necessary element in our closet to being the main event in our outfit. Its excessive use is justified both in terms of personality and style.
According to psychology, black represents a barrier protecting the wearer’s feelings hidden from the rest of the world. This provides a sense of security and comfort. It also implies power. Just by wearing it, people can give off a strong intimidating persona.
By combining both of these meanings, we’ll realize that constantly wearing all black outfits is a way of hiding from others; it’s a way of remaining separate from others. So, our wardrobe serves as a repellant that keeps people at bay.
From a fashion standpoint, black is the perfect slimming hue. But if we limit ourselves to one color palette, we could also block our creativity. This gives off the impression of being afraid of trying new things, as well as experimenting with different styles and trends. While the all black look is a fast and easy choice, it’s also a comfort zone we need to push.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t wear this color. After all, its versatility makes any outfit stand out. But we shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things instead of sticking to the same style.
Translated by María Suárez