Ah, black. It is the color of elegance, to many women. And you can’t have an LBD without it. (Little brown dress does not have the same ring, I’m afraid.) Still, this perennially popular and eternally elegant color isn’t without its drawbacks and its downfalls. Especially for the Softies among us.
And I’m not talking about the soft-hearted here, but about those of you who are Soft in coloring. That means that you are medium and muted and that black often makes you look tired. It washes you out. It overwhelms your delicate coloring.
If your coloring is light, you can wear black well, if you do so strategically.
If your coloring is deep or clear, black is your BFF.
But if your coloring is in the middle, black can be a challenge.
That doesn’t keep some Soft women from trying, though. As Helena, 46, put it:
“I would love to know how to wear black as we age if it’s not our best colour. For me, I know navy is better, but I refuse to give up on black 🙂 It’s just too versatile, timeless, and easy to work with. But I do want to wear it as well as I can (for reference, I am sort of borderline “summer” and “winter” colouring).”
So here, for Helena and the many others just like her, are my best tips for wearing black when it’s not your color (and even if it is!).
Go Lighter or Darker
This may sound a little drastic, and that’s because it is, but the best way to make black a more flattering choice is to change your hair color. Women with light hair and dark hair have an easier time with black when women whose coloring is in the medium range, so if black is your favorite, this might be worth considering.
Wear It As An Accent
Black makes a striking statement when worn as an accent color with your favorite shades. It literally works with every other color and is even strikingly elegant when worn with navy. A black belt, shoes, or bag can punctuate and elevate your entire look, without the harshness of wearing the color close to your face.
Wear it On the Bottom
Have a closet full of black pants? Hold on to them! Wearing black on the bottom is one of the easiest and most flattering ways to wear this color. You’ll get the benefits of wearing black (slimming, doesn’t show marks) without the downside, and as the black pairs wear out, replace them with navy, chocolate, or charcoal.
The color closest to your face is the one that is going to contribute most to flattery Pairing black with a softer shade is one way to keep your black pieces in rotation
Top it With a Jacket
The less black touches your face, the better, so adding a coat or a jacket in a flattering shade can minimize black’s harshness and make it more wearable.
The rich warm shade of the jacket counteracts the effects of the black in this outfit
Try a Scarf
A scarf in your best colors is another way to bring more flattering shades close to your face, and to detract from the harsh effects of black. My friend Maree has created scarves specially designed to flatter your face with your best colors.
A scarf in a soft or light color can alleviate the effect of black These Color Harmony scarves were specifically designed for your Color Code
Add More Makeup
Since black can wash many women out, adding a little more color to your skin to counteract this can help, and makeup is the easiest way to do this. A little extra color on your cheeks and lips and some additional concealer under your eyes can help you maintain a fresh and vibrant look.
Beyond Basic Black Outfit Makeover
This simple before and after illustrates how adding color in a jacket and scarf, and wearing neutral shoes, can downplay the effects of black and make it more wearable and flattering.
Do you love black? Never wear it? Somewhere in between? Let me know in the comments!