There’s a time for vibrancy. Whether it’s the summer’s trending Hawaiian shirts or a tie that injects some much-needed life into your business-casual looks during the colder months, the colour wheel rarely stops spinning. But when you’re tired of wondering whether lemon and mauve go (they don’t, by the way) know that darker tones always have your back.
Black is always the new black. It’s never a ‘Colour of the Year’ because it’s the lack-of-colour of every year – the shade that won’t clash, won’t add pounds, and won’t tell tales when you pour a glass of Rioja down yourself. It’s as happy at work as it is in clubs, or shutting down the front row. But it’s happiest in certain wardrobe staples, the inky workhorses that every good look is built on.
Whether you prefer to dabble in darkness or go all out with the deceptively easy (but always effective) all-black outfit, these are the pieces you need and how to wear them.
HOW TO WEAR ALL-BLACK OUTFITS
Due to the very nature of the shade, black has a whiff of villainy about it. Wear an all-black look and chances are you’ll instantly feel a little cooler than you did a moment ago. All-black is Johnny Cash on stage; the Reservoir Dogs crew walking in tandem; Batman flying through Gotham, and Jon Snow saving Westeros. All-black is cool. And it’s surprisingly easy to pull off.
But how is it done in everyday wear? Unlike other colours, there’s no chance of clashing by choosing two garments that are similar in tone – there’s no such thing as different shades of black. Instead, all-black mastery comes in pairing contrasting fabrics, which subtly breaks up a look while adding a welcome dash of texture.
When it comes to trying your own all-black outfit then, be aware of fabric choice. Look to mix corduroy with wool, leather jackets with denim and cashmere with cotton – the more, the better. This will give a bit of life to what you’re wearing and will prevent things from looking too flat. For example, a black cotton shirt paired with black trousers of the same fabric will make you look like either a waiter or a bouncer, and nobody wants that.
Once you’ve got this simple rule down, wearing all-black is a walk in the park, which is part of the appeal in the first place. Not only is it easy to combine garments, investing in black clothing could actually save you money since everything goes together. And not only that, your new black bomber jacket can be worn with virtually everything else in your wardrobe – there’s not a colour that black doesn’t suit.
4 ALL-BLACK OUTFITS TO TRY
Still, struggling to find the best all-black outfits to wear? Here are some easy go-to looks that simplify the art of monochrome.
A black leather jacket is a menswear classic that, if chosen well and cared for, can last a lifetime. It’s also a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down with ease, although it arguably looks best when worn with a men’s all-black outfit such as this. Note the smart trousers and roll neck which elevates the ‘fit – simply swap them for a T-shirt and jeans for a more casual take.
Leather a little too much? Try a black denim jacket, which is just as classic but arguably easier to wear. Black denim offers plenty of texture, meaning it will contrast well against smarter fabrics such as wool and cashmere, and it’s the perfect layering piece. Try an open black shirt layered above a black knit, and combine it with black jeans and chunky-soled shoes like combat boots. For a striking contrast, consider throwing on a pair of white sneakers instead.
A black overcoat can be a risky purchase – there’s a chance you could look like a funeral attendee, but, go for the right one and few items prove more handsome. The trick is to choose something with little structure and a soft, slouchy silhouette – you want to look effortless, not uptight. Throw it on over a tucked-in T-shirt, tapered, slightly cropped trousers and black leather Derbies, and you’ll have more than a whiff of Parisian art student about you.
ALL BLACK FORMAL WEAR
For a sleek, head-turning style choice, choose all black as your next formal outfit. An all-black suit and tie has a mysterious look to it, especially when paired with a black dress shirt, shiny shoes and sleek accessories. This polished look speaks volumes at cocktail parties and beyond, setting you apart as one of the boldest men in the room.
KEY ALL BLACK OUTFIT PIECES
While you likely have some black pieces in your wardrobe already, these all-black staples are key to elevating your monochrome look and creating a well put together outfit.
Few things are likely to link bubbling-up grime MCs to creative middle managers, but black sneakers manage to do just that.
Bought right in premium, hard-wearing leather they’ll work with any suit, be it tailored or track just as their white minimalist cousins, without the same level of puddle vigilance required.
A BLACK WATCH
A ‘proper’ watch is no longer the preserve of guys in pinstripe suits. Thanks to new brands cropping up in the last half-decade, the art of Swiss watchmaking has been given a fashion-led makeover.
All-black clothing is a blank canvas that works with everything already hanging in your wardrobe, which makes adding an extra zero to your investment far easier to justify.
An all-black outfit can be considered no such thing if a mistimed laundry day leaves hot pink separating your trousers and shoes.
Having a few decent black pairs to hand (err, foot?) not only keeps that slick line from head to toe going, but they’ll far outlast any grubby white tube socks. Opt for breathable cotton for wearing with shoes and sneakers and thicker wool styles for slipping under boots.
A BLACK OVERCOAT
This winter essential leads a double life: by day, perfectly paired with a city boy suit; by night, a smartened touch to a classic white-tee-and-jeans combo.
Granted, if you’re a corporate nine-to-fiver, a rib-knit skullcap is hardly the most professional, in which case switch it out for something a little more structured, such as a fedora or baker boy.
A BLACK BACKPACK
Though a colour pop or printed version is the easiest way to add interest to an eclipsed look, when you consider a black bag can be worn daily while standing up to the wear and tear of life, it becomes an instant no-brainer.
A BOMBER JACKET
The bomber jacket isn’t a game-changer by any means, it was first seen on the US army in the 1920s. But in a world of oldies, this one is definitely a goldie.
Today the term refers to just about any short, zip or button-up jacket with a cropped hem and knitted cuffs, but the advice remains the same: pick out well-cut examples with premium details, and you’ll fly high all year round.