Black

Black

In one of those weird moments, I went to a work thing not long ago and noticed I was the only person wearing something bright in a sea of grey, black, khaki and - someone pushed the boat out - pale purple.  Fast forward a week or two, and a friend asks me: what do you think of Wellingtonians' obsession with black?  

It's true that when I gaze out my window, willing the sun to come out from behind the grey clouds, I do see a lot of people wearing black (or some variant of dark grey).  But why?  And do we need more colour?  

I've heard the argument made that in the corporate world, dressing in a uniform helps you to fit in and to succeed.  For women, it's argued, gender recedes into the background a little more, making it "easier" to work in a man's world.  That argument lives in the same world as advice to young women to not be overtly feminine at work, and with corporate employers who run sessions for the women they employ on how to dress.

I think, though, that it's more complicated than that.  Colours send a message, and black is a shield - it can radiate authority or create mystery - either way, it's a way to be impenetrable.  Black is perceived as easy to wear, to coordinate.  It's slimming*, it's chic. Research indicates that people will perceive you as more reliable and serious, and more attractive. It's fair enough that people everywhere wear black. 

*(not always true)

As the About page says - what you want from fashion is what matters.  If you want to wear black, go ahead.  If you feel great, if you put on that black dress or that black suit or that black tshirt or whatever it is and you feel superb, do it.  I don't mind if every person in the city wears top to toe black every day, if what I can see from my window is a town full of people who are consciously choosing to wear something that gives them what they want.

But I strongly suspect that's not the case.  I suspect, in fact, that we live in a city full of people who want to spin around in a red dress on a grey day, wearing a silly jaunty scarf and some shiny shoes, but for some reason think they shouldn't, or can't.  And maybe it's not the way you dress yourself - maybe you do other things that don't serve you - but I'd love to know...if you could wear anything, what would you wear?