Black has always been the most iconic color in terms of classic sophistication and so it’s of little surprise that the hue of choice for brooding intellectuals is once again back in fashion. Living in New York means that at least half of my wardrobe is either black or gray. It is a given that in the case that in most cities and professional settings, the de rigueur color is black. Beyond this though, black is also the vehicle for many fashion statements as well as the patron color for creative types.
Samuel Beckett, the acclaimed expatriated writer, most exemplifies the essence of what the color black is supposed to convey. Spending his time in cafés, writing and pondering the philosophical questions of his day, he was a man of ideas and his dark clothes helped to create a tangible identity that complimented his literary persona.
The problem with black comes in its abuse, too much will have you looking like a stage-hand and inappropriate, disjointed pieces will send the message either that you are going through a period of angst or are in mourning. If neither of these describes your situation, it is always safe to add some other neutral colors to the mix, principally white or gray to avoid the probable confusion.
Wearing black pants with a black dress shirt and then a different colored sweater is a look that is basically fail-safe and easy adaptable for just about any social milieu. This solves the problem of black over-kill and can be either casual when worn without a tie or dressier with one, either being likely appropriate for the office. The other completely viable option is to wear a white dress shirt with a black sweater overtop.
Sweater and jeans from Dolce and Gabbana.
Mixing black with gray and white tailored pieces is a refined look that is appropriate in any setting. In this example, the black serves a more formal purpose rather than being a fashion statement. When wearing elements of black such as a cardigan or sweater, you will most likely also need to wear black shoes to make the outfit cohesive.
Cardigan and pants from Armani Collezioni.
A black turtleneck is a great piece that expresses sophistication and intelligence. It is easy to imagine Beckett receiving guests in the bar-lobby of a Parisian hotel after having finished an espresso and a carton of Camels. As opposed to the other outfits, which incorporate several other elements such as shirts and ties, you don’t run the risk of black overkill. Corduroy pants have an old-world feel that compliment and complete an intellectual writer look in a way that jeans absolutely could not. Pairing the sweater with gray trousers and black shoes is a possibility that will make the outfit less brooding and more trendy.
Cable Knit Sweater from Alexander McQueen.