It’s no secret: wearing an all black outfit has an undeniable amount of power. It goes beyond the ease of wear across skin tones and body types; it’s a foundation for strong messages we want to convey. While the all black outfit dates back to ancient Greece and the message of mourning, it’s evolved since. It’s turning point occurred in the 1920s with Chanel’s original collection of little black dresses. Women wanted to feel young, stylish, and edgy with less restrictive gowns. In today’s modern society, it’s become a statement of many kinds in fashion and music. It’s a style anyone can master, all you need is the right mindset and roadmap.
The All Black Outfit: Where It Began
There was no official start date of this style of dressing, rather a connotation. Often associated with mourning or gothic subculture, all black outfits held a certain ominous tone. The fashion industry brought it into a new light through luxury fashion, coining little black dresses and suits as a classic staple in men and women’s fashion. As a result, it began to spread laterally into entertainment and film during the black and white era. What once started as a way to appear more polished and refined, snowballed into a full trend shortly thereafter. High fashion led the way: Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent used the color for suiting and more architectural designs over the years. As the 20th century moved into full swing, it became synonymous with rebellion and fringe groups. This is where musicians adopted it.
The All Black Outfit: Music’s Take
Johnny Cash is one of the most notable figures that adopted this trend as a lifestyle. So much so, he even wrote a song about it. The abridged message: he wore black in solidarity for those in the world that struggle, and to not be a false positive in a world that needed understanding more. This began a movement as music genres evolved, making all black the magnolia of roll & roll and metal. So much so, that all white became a symbol of delusion and smugness in the industry. Others that adopted the all black mindset include artists like Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, Velvet Underground, and Ritchie Blackmore. This blossomed into movements that have affected the industry today: “Me Too” is a prime example. The all black outfit has become less of an intimidating style and now turned into a call to action to band together as humans. I love where it’s going.
The All Black Outfit: How You Can Master It
The most common objection I get about all black outfits is the negative connotation of it being boring or too intense. While that is certainly one point of view, it’s important to make it your own. To avoid the abyss of darkness feeling, I like to incorporate different textures and designs that have dimension. Take this top and skirt as an example. The white stripes and statement buttons allow for a more playful and stylish feel, and it fits my personality with sporty notes. Additionally, incorporating statement bags or jewelry give the outfit a fun and approachable feel. Bookmark this post to follow these simple guidelines when you’re putting together your first look:
- Mix textures. Try pairing a softer top with a more structured bottom (ex: organza and wool)
- Find a design that suits you. Love V necks or button-down tops? Find a solid black piece in something you’re already comfortable wearing.
- Look for a statement black shoe, or a classic one if the clothing is more of a statement.
- Pair it with a statement handbag of a different color, or unusual shape.
- Opt for a statement piece with volume or movement to catch the eye.
- Add in classic styles for a more elevated feel. I love adding in a long classic peacoat during the fall/winter, or classic cut top or skirt year-round.
Hologram Thank You Bodega Bag (on sale!)