WSN’s Features Desk is running a new series we’re calling “I Tried…” Each piece will feature a member of our staff who’s added something new, weird or a little crazy to their lives. In this installment, contributing writer Camille Larkins goes a week without wearing black.
Black clothing is a staple of most people’s closets, especially New Yorkers. Whether it is in the form of black jeans to class or a little black dress on the weekends, I find myself wearing a lot of it. Occasionally, when I am feeling particularly lazy or just need a dependable outfit that I know will complement my body, I wear black on black. And while this look does usually work on everyone, it’s boring. To ring in the first few days of spring, I decided to take the color black out of my daily wardrobe.
The night before I started my little challenge, I purged my closet of everything black so as to not be tempted and to take stock of what colored clothing I have. After taking 18 black shirts, 11 dresses, three coats, four bodysuits and two cardigans out of my closet, I realized that not only do I have a lot of black clothes, I have too many clothes, period. Even as I looked through the massive heap of black clothing on my bed, I couldn’t actually part with any of it.
Finding outfits to wear was actually not too hard; on the first day, I wore a dark red knit sweater, a brown jacket, blue jeans and white sneakers. The most difficult things to ditch were my black ankle boots, which are almost too easy to pair with anything. As a result, I’ll typically resort to my black booties rather than the dozens of other shoes residing in my closet. Black accessories were hard to part with: most of my scarves are black, my current handbag is black and I love wearing black stud earrings. Once I was unable to wear it, black began popping up in everything I wanted to wear. As I walked around, I scanned everyone I passed for any trace of black in their outfit. Unsurprisingly, most people had at least one black piece of clothing on at any given moment, and I couldn’t help but envy them.
The next day, I wore a light gray turtleneck, blue jeans, a pink duster coat and brown-and-white snakeskin ankle boots. I switched to a nude handbag and was proud that I pulled together a cute outfit without even wanting to add any black to it. I felt content with my outfit on the third day as well: a pink-and-navy patterned jumpsuit with a denim jacket — only after putting on a black blazer before catching myself — and white sneakers. However, not being able to put on a black blouse when I went out at night was annoying to say the least. I felt underdressed, and while the light colors worked well at class and work throughout the day, they did not seem to hold up at night.
I took black out of my wardrobe completely for a few days, but you don’t have to. Instead, try to see how much of it you’re really wearing. Is black on black really the most chic look you can come up with? (Hint: it’s not) Add variety to your color palette by swapping out a piece of black clothing that you always wear and you might be surprised. While I certainly cannot wait to wear black again, I’ve since realized that I too often use black as a crutch for getting ready in the morning when fashion is a means for self-expression every single day.
A version of this article appeared in the March 28 print edition. Email Camille Larkins at [email protected]