Wearing Black when it is not your best colour can be tricky. You have three choices – (1) stop wearing black (2) ignore it and wear black anywhere or (3) learn how to break the rules and wear black with style.
The illustrations in the graphics are my choices for each Tip.
Below is an article on this subject from ‘Style Wise and Shop Wise’ eBook by Ann Reinten. I have reproduced it for you. My additional comments for stylish baby boomers are in brackets.
‘No colour has as much said about its merits and faults as ‘black’. It’s said to be sophisticated, chic and trendy and yet it also can be boring. Look around many capital cities and often all you can see is a sea of black. When someone wearing colour walks past, they are an absolute delight to behold. Everyone notices them. And they often get compliments on how good they look.
So why are so many women afraid or unwilling to wear colour? Sure black is a great basic colour that women use all the time for skirts, pants and even dresses. Up near your face it can be harsh and aging, especially if it is not one of your best colours.
Here are a few failsafe ways to wear black. But please, wear colour as well.
Wearing Black Away from Your Face
The further away from your face, the easier black is to wear. Black pants and skirts [and black indigo jeans] have no effect on your face as in the black pants from TS 14+ on the top left. Lower cut, scooped necklines also are far enough from your face to cause no real harm to your complexion. Most little black dresses have a low scooped neckline. [But not always. Wear these if black suits your skin colour or your hair colour.]
Show Skin from the Bustline Up
If you wish to wear black above your waist, look for a dress or top that has a medium low cut neckline, medium to thin straps, is sleeveless or is strapless. This will lighten up your whole look and works well for many women as long as your upper arms are okay. On the top right is an old style from Chicos. If your upper arms are on the flaccid side, place a coloured shawl or black lightweight chiffon shawl over your upper arms. [I am telling you that it is okay for you to show your upper arms if they are wrinkled or flaccid. Do not be intimidated by the views of other women.]
Wearing Black with a Buffer Colour
If you are not a clear direction (Spring and Winter) or you have a lined face, add a buffer colour between your black sweater, jacket or high neck black garment and your face. Wear a shirt or blouse with a collar or wear a scarf. This will reduce the harsh effects of black on your face. [The best buffer colour is a skin tone colour like the Ann Taylor Scattered Pineapple Scarf in Morning Star ie pink.] Women who are of a muted colour direction (Summers and Autumns) look best when you select a soft to medium buffer shade [of your best eye colour].
Those who are a warm and clear colour direction (Springs) look best in a medium to bright buffer colour [of your best eye or hair colour].
Choose the Right Fabric Surface
Fabrics have three surfaces – matt, sheen or shine. For many women, the knowledge of how these relate to your skin tone will make an enormous difference to your success or failure when wearing black.
When it comes to colour direction, types that are muted in intensity (Summers and Autumns) look best in black when the fabric’s surface is either matt or has a slight sheen eg silk. Most sparkly/shiny fabrics will be over-whelming on you.
Colour directions that are clear (Spring and Winter) can wear all surfaces but you look especially good in sheen and shine. [Today there is a lot of lace and sheer materials in clothing design such as this beautiful Living Silk Black Lace Cape above. These allow your skin to show through and soften black if it is not your best colour.]
Wearing Black with Lipstick
Bolder or brighter lipstick will take the attention away from your black garment if you have a clear colouring.
[For everyone else, wear a soft to medium colour that gives your lips some colour. Reapply regularly. You can look washed out and sickly in black without some colour on your lips.]
My Last Words
Black and white patterns can also look harsh on you if black is not your best colour. Look instead for black and beige patterns. This combination will soften the effect of black.
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