If you enjoy wearing black and like the way it works for your style, please continue wearing what makes you happy and feel fabulous. This post is for people who accumulated a lot of black in their wardrobe, but at some point went off the colour. That happened to me, and here’s the five-step plan that weaned me off black wardrobe items in a sustainable, controlled, sensible and manageable way.
1. Choose Another Dark Neutral
Most of us rely on a dark neutral to incorporate into our outfits. If it can’t be black, or you don’t want it to be exclusively black, you need to choose an alternative like dark blue, charcoal grey, chocolate brown, or very dark olive. I chose shades of dark blue. Remember that you don’t need to stop wearing black completely. You can simply make a point of minimizing it.
2. Assess How You Want to Wear Black
If you want to wear black, but in very small doses, you have to think about how you want to do that because it will impact your future shopping strategy and closet editing process. For example, I will wear black in a pattern, as dainty lace, and very occasionally as a pair of pants. I will wear it as a colour-blocked accent and pretty sheer hosiery. I will also wear a solid black short-sleeved knitted top top under a contrasting jacket with white pearls and colourful eyewear. I do not want to wear solid black jackets, coats, shoes, knitwear, blouses, skirts, opaque hosiery, accessories, leggings, or dresses. Easy! That means I don’t need to shop for these items.
3. Remix and Replace
I had a wardrobe full of fab black items I wasn’t prepared to pass on immediately, so I remixed old black pieces with new dark blue items as if they were the same neutral. It didn’t bother me that they were mismatched darks. In fact, it was fashion-forward at the time, so I milked that.
I also began replacing black wardrobe items with dark blue alternatives as I found them. I was in no rush and didn’t feel pressured. I relaxed into the switcheroo and waited for the right item to come my way. As I found them, the black versions were donated to Dress for Success Seattle, or passed on to friends.
4. No More Black Purchases
I had to make a very conscious effort to stop purchasing solid black wardrobe items. No mater how gorgeous the style, how good the price, how fab the fabric, and how well the item fit, I had to say no thank you. I had to keep remembering how much better I feel and look in dark blue. I made this a formal style goal for many years because black wardrobe items are easily available. These days there’s a better selection of non-black dark neutrals at retail, which makes this one easier.
5. Be Patient
It takes time, resources, discipline, and a bit of luck to eventually replace most of the black in your wardrobe with dark blue or another dark neutral. You can’t purchase something that isn’t there, and as far as possible, you shouldn’t settle for an okay item just for the sake of it. Be patient. In this case, slow and steady wins the race.
I couldn’t be happier with my decision to switch my dark neutral to blue. Some of my clients have also switched their dark neutral to dark blue, charcoal or brown. Of course, I have clients who are absolutely devoted to black and won’t wear anything else. The important thing is they soul searched, strategized, focussed, and planned to wear the dark neutrals that worked best for them.