Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | January 7, 2010

The Color Black

As a personal stylist I understand the value and use of color.  It’s a powerful tool to highlight a person’s physical features, social status, an occasion and of course to commemorate events – imagine showing up at a funeral in the Western world in hot pink.  Big no-no.


At a SMARTY LA event this past summer, I had the funniest experience where yet again I was reminded about the importance of color in fashion. While listening to a panel of accomplished fashion entrepreneurs, one woman commented that no one wears black in L.A. – she was from the east coast. I glanced down the row at my three friends/colleagues and noticed that all four of us were wearing…black. Hmm…what is that they say about birds of the feather? It helps to point out that all of us are in the fashion, one is South American (me), one is from Northern California, one is German and the last one is from the East Coast. And indeed we were the only women in the crowd wearing all black. I got a serious giggle out of that.


Based on this experience, and what seems like a concerted effort to avoid the color black in Los Angeles, I’m dedicating this blog to the fabulous color NOIR (aka black). 

What’s not to like about black? I mean it’s a color appropriate for almost every occasion, except funerals or weddings in some cultures. To me, the color black is like coming home. It’s my faithful wardrobe color that’s always saves the day for me when I’m having a “Fashion Morning Sickness” moment (you know, that feeling of dread when you don’t know what to wear in the morning). If I need to feel “put together”, I turn to black. If I want to evoke Audrey Hepburn classic elegance, hello black. If I want Rita Hayworth sultry, black again. If I want to flaunt fashion my way a la Coco Chanel, I wear black. Describe black for fashion – say hello to sleek, svelte and chic.

The Color Black

How to wear black? Here are some tips:

1. Pants – When it comes to pants make sure you invest in high-quality fabrics.  Nothing ruins a well-thought-out outfit like a cheap pair of black pants.

2. Shoes – Ah, the basic shoe color.  Make sure you keep them in good order because remember what Daddy said about what shoes tell others about you.  Scuffed shoes make a bad impression and you can see scuff marks on black shoes from a mile away.

3. Tights – Again with the high quality fabric.  Seek only tights with the right amount of spandex and that don’t streak – that’s when you see what appear to be streaks running through the tights.  Bad tights have a way of making great legs look like sausages and great black tights have a way of transforming legs into Tina Turner-worthy gams.

4. Matchy-matchy – Meaning matching your black top with your black bottom.  Unless you are in an industry where high-end suits are du jour, I’m just not a proponent of stressing out to the nth degree about matching your blacks.  For business casual looks, it’s okay not to match your blacks perfectly.  NOW, that’s not to say that you go off the deep end and look sadly mismatched.  What I mean is that if you are going to go for the basic black column (very useful to elongate and provide a visual of seamlessness), you could follow some of these tips:
a. Go for different fabrics on top and on the bottom so that you don’t have to match your blacks.  Think wool crepe pants and a black sweater.
b. Match great black slacks with a top that has more than just black in it-Maybe work in some neutrals but keep them to a minimum and you still get a strong sense of the color black.
c. Remember that generally speaking, the less matching you are with any color the less formal the outfit.
d. Remember your body proportions – If you are petite with bigger hips, not matching your blacks may reduce the elongating effect of black.  Play with this, sometimes the use of different fabrics will negate this.

What’s your favorite way to wear black?  Share and inspire our readers!



  1. […] for color analysis – and you’re about to see why! While you all know that I will always love my black, like so many of you, we might be missing out on something here. Color analysis is a trick of the […]

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