Wearing all black

Share
||- Begin Content -||

I’ve been playing around with black so much in recent years (note, this is classic menswear - it’s years/decades, not weeks/months) that I thought I’d try out wearing nothing but black. 

This was during Pitti at Florence, on a relatively informal evening. Just dinner with friends.

That said, events like these are also a nice place to try out looks. Pretty much anything goes, and in fact if there are any expectations, they’re that friends will be wearing something interesting - worth talking about.

The outfit comprised a black Anfa polo shirt from Casatlantic, which I’ve discussed a little here already, black Irish-linen trousers from Whitcomb & Shaftesbury, and black-suede Sagans from Baudoin & Lange. 

We talked a little bit about black trousers before as well, in the article on a silk dupioni jacket.

Those were black cords, and it was raised in the comments how I felt about black-flannel trousers. Black linen, I feel, falls into a similar category as flannels. 

That category is: pieces that are not at all versatile, and therefore probably a bad choice for anyone just building up a wardrobe; but at the same time very satisfying for someone further along the journey, because they’re unusual without being loud.

Black trousers are hard to wear. They don’t go with a big range of jackets, or give you many options for shoes. But they are striking and, dare I say it, quite sexy for it.

Bringing up that contentious topic reminds me of the closing thought in André’s piece on sex appeal - which was for me the best point too: that it’s often a combination of confidence and vulnerability. 

The Casatlantic knit has a deeper opening on the chest than any other polo I own. Its depth is equivalent to undoing one more button on a shirt, on a hot day. And there’s no going back there - there are no buttons to do back up again! 

It is also short, with short arms. So even though the shape can be rather flattering - helped by a large fit in the chest - you do feel quite exposed. This is the vulnerability to it, of opening up and feeling more on display. 

There’s a lot of psychology and sociology in this area, and I feel a female writer would also be better placed to discuss it, as it’s more of an issue in womenswear. But I think it’s a dynamic worth raising in men’s minds too.

Nothing need be said about the Sagans, as we’ve talked about them consistently. 

Equally, it should seem obvious that I wore a small dress watch with a black strap, here my JLC gold Reverso.

But how about the overall combination of black on black? What did I, and do I now, think about that?

I loved it that evening, but perhaps a little like exposing more skin, it can also easily tip into looking cheap. 

The reason black suits are traditionally frowned upon in classic menswear is that black can easily look cheap. 

It quickly looks old and dusty, without the richness or lustre of a deep, dark navy. When it is made in a fine wool, it can also look too shiny, like elbows or thighs of any heavily worn suit.

These things are often exaggerated under artificial lighting, which is where the tradition of wearing midnight blue rather than black for a dinner jacket comes from - it looks blacker than black because of its depth and richness. 

However, as always it depends what you’re aiming for. Black makes for a poor business suit, because the ideal there is something that looks rich and luxurious, serious and professional. Someone who wears a black fashion suit is not interested that - they want matte and even edgy, not the manifestly successful look of the chairman of the board. 

If I had a black suit it would be in a material that was clearly also different from that corporate image, such as corduroy.

Black on black can look cheap - but there’s rather less danger in something like a polo shirt and loafers, rather than a suit.

It also helps if you play with textures - suede and leather, knitted and woven - and if elements suggest the elegant or luxurious, such as a very sharp crease in the trouser, or that texture of the suede. 

Others that do this well, such as Kenji at Bryceland’s, also seem to reference a Western tradition of cowboys wearing black. Though how much that goes beyond Hollywood villains and Hopalong Cassidy I don’t know. 

Anyway, those are my thoughts on wearing all black. Not for everyone, and not for anyone all of the time, but certainly striking when done well. 

Thanks to Jamie, as ever, for giving that impression on me. 

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

119 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike

Hi Simon

We have just returned from a week in Sweden and black linen was abundant and it looked great whether it was trousers, dresses or shorts.

We noted that it looked particularly well suited for a more urban environment, we were in Malmo and Gothenberg. A softer Northern European light seemed to help too.

Following the trip my wife is currently tracking down a floaty black linen dress and I some linen trousers. Both look to be very versatile.

Thanks as always

Alexander

I found this black linen suit from a Nordic store recently (haven’t bought it yet).

Simon, would you say this is an example of a non-business fabric and texture, that would make it more wearable compared to a black worsted wool suite?

Our would you still prefer navy blue for such an item?

Screenshot 2022-08-20 at 13.30.02.png
Alexander

Close-up photo of linen suit (see sibling comment; could only attach one photo per comment).

Screenshot 2022-08-20 at 13.30.16.png
Raphael

Very interesting Simon. I have been considering wearing black more as well recently. Would you share your thoughts on black shirts and black jeans? I find the black shirt can bring a touch of drama/elegance when going out (not as a day shirt). Regarding black jeans I am often unsure how to combine them. Many thanks

PeterHall

I was recently at a family wedding and a chap wore a black shirt under a midnight blue suit for the evening event.
He looked fantastic, smart with that edginess of easy sex appeal.

Silo

I had a black shirt in linen made last year. I find it quite versatile and is a definite favourite, particularly at the moment with the current high temperatures in the UK.

Paul

What details do you all thinks works best with a black shirt worn this way? Should the buttons be black, too, with a more modern cutaway collar? I’ve wanted a black dress shirt for this use but haven’t been able to settle on the right details, fabric, etc.

Raphael

For me, black dress shirts are impossible to wear. Strong connotations of (pick one): A waiter, pickup artist or John Wick on a mission. None of those in a good way

H

The black shirt thing. When I was at university it was literally a joke to wear a black dress shirt on an evening out given the sleazey connotations.

I’m not completely anti wearing black. It’s just a certain variety of black dress shirt that gives me the shivers (in only a bad way).

Lindsay McKee

Correct me if I’m wrong but I was always under the impression that black or dark clothing retains heat where white or light coloured clothing reflects the heat away. Others may differ on this assumption.

Lindsay McKee

Interesting indeed.
Many thanks for that info.
Lindsay

Martins

I completely agree. but it matters only in direct sunshine. try +40*, black trousers and black shirt and stay in direct sunshine for half hour!
in shadow or indoors difference doesn’t matter much.

p.s. yes, Simon, I know you disagree!

Johnny Foreigner

As the resident anorak, I should point out that black radiates better than white. Given the same amount of heat, it will absorbs more than white, but will emit more too.

Aaron L

There’s a bit of a debate on which works better. Note Some tribes (Tuareg?) wearing black robes in the Sahara. Perhaps it depends on the combination of wind, humidity, etc?

Keith Taylor

It is also short, with short arms. So even though the shape can be rather flattering – helped by a large fit in the chest – you do feel quite exposed. This is the vulnerability to it, of opening up and feeling more on display. 

Absolutely. I’ve spent the last few months building up a modest collection of short sleeved knit polos in advance of moving back to a warm country after several years stuck in Mongolia, and while I love the look – especially after working out just enough that I don’t mind having my formerly weedy arms on show – I’m not yet fully comfortable in such a revealing shirt.
My wife would, no doubt, chuckle at the idea that I feel overexposed in a shirt that shows an extra inch of chest and maybe an extra 1.5″ of arm than my usual polos. I’m sure it’ll feel natural after a brief adjustment period, but for now it’s… weird.
P.S. I should thank you, Simon. Last night I was looking for some warm weather footwear options to avoid having to walk around Bangkok in flip flops like a schlub, and I stumbled on your article about espadrilles. Fast forward a couple of hours and I have a pair of Viscata and deadstock Zabattiglis winging their way to me. I doubt espadrilles would have occurred to me if not for your article, so cheers 🙂

Stewart Bone

Best you’ve looked in ages. At last, you have found your perfect style. Marcello would be proud of you.

Veit

Great to see you wearing all black Simon!
I think it puts emphasis on the silhouette and therefore can look very elegant. It’s nice to see it coming back. Personally I avoided it for some years, but think this was a mistake since it can be very flattering after all. … as long as one doesn‘t wear it all the time …
What do you mean when you say it can look cheap? Do you mean it can look like trying too much? That’s what I feel sometimes ..

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Simon,

Another great article on colour combination for clothing! I agree with you that black has alot more limitations compared to other versatile colours such as navy/grey. However, I believe black looks great when you consider texture and linen is a great example, which you have illustrated very well. I also have the Anfa polo in black and it was the last one in small so a great investment. The black again has great texture and style is flattering on most body types.

Robert

Check out some gothic styles to see some amazing all black outfits, some for daily wear and some for going out.

Silo

I still love wearing all black, even though my goth days are far behind me. There is something that I enjoy about the limitation, fewer decisions to make when everything is one colour.

Black can look sophisticated, when done well. When I met Saman Amel he was wearing an all black outfit, and looked superb. A kind of Scandinavian sprezzatura.

Gary Mitchell

Black is tricky as you intimated yes. I have one or two black shirt (one) and a polo (one) and a sweatshirt or two but other than dinner suit I have no black tailoring. I dont think it looks cheap (on you) but it does so often look that way yes. On the movies it can look edgy and cool but I have never seen in in real life looking that good, often it looks like ‘trying too hard to be cool’ Back jeans yes but again, my black jeans are really grey and so, I’m not Johnny Cash or any other ‘man in black’ And just to complete the circle, I never thought you looked sexy either(but that’s only my humble opinion and my own life’s choices coming out :-))

Jackson

Hey Simon

Hope you’re well

Got a question for you about the anfa knit. I bought the cream and the navy a while ago expecting to wear them all the time. I’ve been surprised by quite how infrequently I’ve worn them. I think I’ve found them hard to style. Sometimes I feel as though I’m in some kind of 1960s Cannes Film Festival cosplay in them.

Do you think they are quite limited to hot days in the summer, with espadrilles and linen, or what you’re wearing above?

Could you see it being worn in any other season? Under a tweed with jeans say in autumn? Or is that too much of a contrast to your eyes?

Warmly

Jackson

Jackson

Thanks! I thought the deep opening would probably make it look odd, and likely the collar quite unruly too.

Do you think wearing a vest underneath the anfa knit might split up the depth of the opening somewhat making it look less odd and more like a layer?

Johannes

Hey Jackson!

I unfortunately missed out on the Anfa before they sold out, having been a little bit uncertain of the style before further coverage here on PS. After further consideration they seem to fit right in to my more relaxed and casual environment. For me it, unfortunately, mostly comes down to either denim and a nice shirt or smart trousers and knitwear. A tailored jacket is over the top most days (all the more happy about wearing one when opportunity comes) and I feel like it would fit right in there.

If you find you go on being unconvinced I’d gladly take them of your hands (fingers crossed you are a size M as well).

Have you heard anything about a potential restock Simon?

Best

Johannes

Rupesh Bhindi

Hi Johannes,

They are considering bringing a merino wool version for the Autumn/Winter season. So keep an eye out for their new letter.

Justin

Fascinating article, Simon. I’ve also been experimenting with more black recently (I swore it off years ago when moving from NYC to LA as the climate seemed wrong for it), so I’ve noticed black outfits or black fabrics out in the wild more often.
I recently saw Aaron Levine wearing a black knit polo with a pair of slightly dusty black (presumably vintage) jeans and thought it looked very chic. I do this combination often in LA with a navy knit polo and vintage washed out vintage Levis but the black made it a touch edgier (sexier?) and more chic. I also noticed Drakes recently put out a deep, true black linen in their suiting line. Apart from a tuxedo I’ve never owned a black suit but the texture of the Irish linen interested me. I could see the combination with an open neck white shirt and black Sagans looking very simple and cool for an evening out in warm weather.

A

Writing from New York City, yes, all-black works, nearly all the time, so long as you figure how to play with texture and weave. One option for shoes also might be slip-ons in a jewel tone of green, purple or red. Streetwear here does black tops & bottoms with bright shoes in all the colors of the rainbow.

fredrik

Wonderful reading! It looks very nice and sleek in a relaxed way, black tatoos looks also great with black! little rockn`roll on the right side of the scale.
I often wear black trousers in cordroy, flanel and linnen I find it very easy to combine it with dark and deep green blazers and knitwear, socks. I find it much harder to get it right with olive and khaki tones. I also think that black works best with suede – when a shoe is to shiny and formal like an oxford it could end up on the cheap and flashy side….
//Fredrik

John

Hi Simon,
What size did you end up taking in the anfa polo? I wear a medium in the Anthology’s knitted tee and am happy with the fit, but have also realized knits/polos like it might also fit well in the next size up, depending on the look you’re going for. The all black is a great look and I agree with some other commenters that it’s particularly suited to the city. You points on some colors being more suited the city was a real eye opener and I can’t help but view all my clothes as divided in that way! Helped my to articulate why some great outfits I’d put together still felt weird if I intended to go out into the city.

Joe O

Fair points here, even though the entire City of New York would beg differently and obviously black can be different colors of blacks even without the coming in of different materials. A vantablack, for instance, suit would be FASCINATING.

Sven

I really like this look on you. I’ve enjoyed your experimenting with black more over the years.
Question about the trousers, do you typically have your linen trousers lined or unlined?

Eric Michel

All black is a classic, and I would wear all black very often, probably more in winter and in the evening. But you cannot be wrong with sizes, the secret is in the absolute perfect fit. As in your photos. Fantastic look.

Alex

As with the Dege & Skinner jacket pictures, with the shaved head and beard you look very cool in the aviators. The sunglasses make the outfit!

Patrick Truhn

Like a lot of Berliners I wear black a great deal. It suits me now that my beard has gone completely white, and I find myself increasingly attending events to which, as recently as five years ago, I would have worn a dinner jacket, but for which that would now be overdressed, though black is still expected. In winter this often means a black velvet jacket, and in summer a black linen suit. The velvet is often paired with charcoal flannel trousers, a grey or black turtleneck, or a black silk shirt. The linen is also often paired with silk or a shirt with some motif to lighten it up (Scott Fraser’s black-and-white zigzag shirt is a favourite). I think the important thing with black is to mix textures and particularly the way light bounces off them. There are also colours that can only be accessorised with black. A decade ago I bought a gorgeous silk damask evening waistcoat in a particular shade of turquoise from a woman in Paris who makes waistcoats from vintage silks; she warned me I would be able to wear it only with black, and right she was, but my black velvet jacket has never looked better.

AA

I remember that Alan Flusser, whom I like very much, said that he had lately started to appreciate black because it is chic. Not gentlemanly, not Ivy, not sartorial or “menswear”-like, but simply chic. And this is valuable in itself. I think he is right

JY

French style icons like Betty Catroux always wear black which gives it that aura of chic.
Marcello Mastroianni also wore black dress shirts with light colored suits in several of his films.

Max

Hi Simon, I try to absorb as much as I can from your blog the last few month. However I could not find any information about your armbands/cotton bracelet/friendship band (don’t know how to call it). It is fascinating because you wearing it on most of your outfits. I really like to know more about it, which style and material and so on. I could not find a blog post, maybe you will create one, but in the meantime can you tell me which type it is from the picture 4 🙂
kind regards
Max

Michael Powell

I’ve got just one word for wearing all black YES!

Dan

Hi Simon , you look great in the black and I think it suits you . Its a colour that doesn’t look good against my skin. It makes me appear green toned and sallow. I did try it in my younger days and found that when the black faded , there was always a green under colour to the garment , I also experienced unwanted shine from a black pair of linen trousers. I was brought up believing black was for gun slingers and waiters , not just funerals . I decided it wasn’t for me , although I can appreciate it when it’s worn well.

Ant

God damn – Anfa polos still sold out!…

But, seriously – black Dartmoor? black Finest Polo? Black linen Harrington?

I’d happily pre-order to see if I could make them work 😉

This is a great outfit, btw. I think it does help that you have good proportions – I’m shorter than you but similar chest and so in all PS stuff I find I have to take medium, which isn’t perfect in other areas.

Plus, location helps – this worn in a local UK shopping centre and/or random high street and its perhaps an even bigger statement. I need a holiday.

RT

A really interesting article for me. I’ve worn black, both successfully and unsuccessfully (at least, in my estimation) for years. I had a reasonably decent quality black business suit for a while. It really wasn’t a success for all the reasons you list – it looked cheap, even though it wasn’t, it quickly became shiny in places, it definitely had that “central casting security” look. It didn’t last long before I found a home for it elsewhere. I’ve had much ore success with knitwear – a merino polo shirt was great and a current favourite is a heavier PWVC submariner-style roll neck that looks good with grey flannels or cords (and also, occasionally with a back and white, herringbone tweed trousers, though something I only wear occasionally). I also have a black peacoat I like, also from PWVC.
I’ve been thinking about black a little more again recently. I have very fond memories of a black linen suit I had years ago. It wasn’t great quality RTW, and it wasn’t exactly everyday wear, but for a smartest dinner or other Summer evening event, it was great. I’ve been wondering a little about having one made in a decent MTM or bespoke. I’m just not sure that I’d get enough wear out of it to justify it. I already have a sort of grey/black melange linen suit (MTM) that works in much the same way, but can be worn in the daytime too.
I’ve also been wondering about a black corduroy suit. For me, corduroy is the cloth that works best in black as trouser. I once had some black moleskin trousers that were ok, but I definitely prefer cords. The jury is out on black jeans for me. I think I lean in the opposite direction to you, Simon. I think I prefer them unfaded, but really I’m still undecided about them.
Anyway, it’s a thumbs up for black from me, though with definite limits.

RT

Absolutely, Simon, I completely agree. I’d probably even prioritise browns and olive greens as next most useful to navy and charcoal/grey in a core wardrobe, rather than black. However, black is an interesting, perhaps relatively niche, colour to explore and can be quite enjoyable in the right circumstances as, I think, you suggest.
Having recently speculated about having a black corduroy suit made, I’m still finding myself more drawn to other colours, particularly olive(ish) green or some for of grey, even. I’ll probably still be thinking about it this time next year!

Andrew

Hi RT, I asked a question to Simon below about his thoughts on a black linen suit. Would you mind sharing a bit more on how you wore it? When it worked and when it didn’t? I am definitely not thinking of it for use in the office.

Stephen Dolman

Hi ,
I was pleased to read that a black shirt under a dark navy suit met with approval.
I’ve tried it a couple of times and liked it, but my wife tells me it doesn’t look good
I’ve a black suit, not a business suit, but if you like a statement suit for dining perhaps, a wedding etc
What do think of a navy shirt under it
Regards
Stephen Dolman

Peter K

I remember hanging out with an art student and her friends in my undergrad days. Once at an art show I noticed everyone was wearing black. I found it amusing that so many people who considered themselves to be non-conformists all wore the same colour. This little slogan popped into my head:

“Black – the official colour of non-conformity”.

Joking aside, your look is great Simon.

Hal9k

Okay, I’m stealing this from you. Hilarious. Bonus points if you’re listening to The Smiths on vinyl.

For the (rare) folks who can actually pull off black-on-black, kudos to them. I’ve largely sworn off of it, myself. Black clothes are like black cars. They look nice all waxed and polished on the showroom floor, but it doesn’t take much to make them look quite shabby in short order. I’d never be able to wear it for a full day at work without looking like a hobo by 4pm. I reserve it for tie and pocket square accents and one ancient pair of highly polished Oxfords that are infrequently worn. And heaven forbid I wear it to a restaurant, as I’d constantly get mistaken for waitstaff.

But, sometimes, you’ve gotta push some boundaries and get out of a comfort zone, so there are always exceptions to a rule.

Markus

Thank you for this article.
I wear a lot of black and find it quite versatile and easy to combine with other colours (white, grey, many shades of blue lighter than navy but restrained and also black). The only issues are shoes as I find combining black with brown can be difficult….. but some shades of brown work.

Andrew

Hi Simon, super chic. What are your thoughts on a black linen suit? I saw a black linen jacket at Nicoletta’s that was part of one of her father’s suits, and it got me thinking about how and when to wear one. I like the idea a lot but not sure when I’d wear it. Many thanks. Andrew

Andrew

Here is Zurich it is pretty common for companies or groups (like the opera, the art museum) to have evening summer parties for their clients/members/friends in early July or late August. These usually start in the evening with a dinner and go into the night. Not black tie, but not business casual either. I was thinking a black linen suit could be fun for evening social events like this, as an alternative to the indigo blue linen suit I often wear.

Ben

Interesting that your association with showing skin is vulnerability. I suspect the more common impression is self-display: confidence certainly and pretentiousness if taken too far. I agree though that all black is evocative in a way that no other solid colored ensemble can be.

Dave

Simon, I’m sure you’ve written about this before, but I can’t find anything. Lately you’ve shown a lot of outfits with similar colors. What are your considerations when wearing nearly the same color (but not exactly the same fabric)? For instance, navy twill trousers with a navy linen overshirt. I suppose a contrast in texture is helpful, but how much contrast is enough?

Richard

Evening Simon, a great article and one that certainly got me thinking. A few years back it would be fair to say, my wardrobe was predominantly black. Less so in recent years but I thought I’d readdress this slightly and order your Friday polo, in black. Size L. Alas, others were clearly thinking along similar lines, so, when can we expect a restock? I’m genuinely gutted!!

Leo

Simon, well done to you for wearing all black. It looks great on you! There is certainly no in-between with black. It either looks fantastic, cool and avant-garde or, at the other extreme, completely cheap and tacky. I thought you did it really well. And, in wearing black so well, you highlight the range and adaptability of black done in the right way. Thanks for a very interesting article.

Pee Cee

Other than tee shirts and shoes, I’ve never owned any black clothing…and I lived in NYC most of my life. However, since turning 60 I decided to give the color a go and recently ordered a cable knit sweater from Bryceland’s. It will pair well with a white shirt and dark denim or charcoal trousers. I had thought about getting their black sawtooth shirt, but it would’ve been ‘costumey’ on me.

Peter K

I have purchased a black sweatshirt to pair with jeans and (collective gasp of horror from PS readers) joggers.

I wear joggers when I’m lounging around the house.

Alan

I really like this outfit and have enjoyed all black outfits for as long as I have been interested in nice clothes. I think the thing with black is it’s so stark a colour that it either looks very chic or tacky, unlike grey or navy which can look great but rarely look really bad.

I also think that black works best in really formal outfits (black tie, morning dress) or in casual fabrics (linen, corduroy, denim, knit etc), as you have demonstrated here. It rarely works well in anything in between like a worsted wool suiting or poplin shirting.

John

Hi Simon,
I must confess that you have succeeded in convincing me that an all black outfit could be really chic indeed. Contrary to the kind of outfits usually worn nowadays by French men, yours, displayed so far, do not look cheap at all. Still, “all black” even worn by women remains associated to funeral in my mind. So to me, there is an inescapable psychological hurdle in this case you are certainly aware of.
Perhaps you don’t mind at all if their usefulness is confined to specific events such as the one mentioned in your post. But even so, they can hardly be any event!
John

Tim

My wife wears head to toes black everywhere, all the time*. Her washing line displays all the colour of a Greek widow’s wardrobe.
*(except when near a beach – it looks completely wrong there)

Stefan

Interesting. I have recently purchased a black/grey jeans and a black knitted polo at my local tailor and will get it in a couple of weeks. 🙂

Another question. I dont wear suits and jackets that often anymore unfortunately and my suits and jackets all have heavier cloths for fall winter. I will try to invest in less but better clothes ahead. I want to have a good summer suit and a good summer blazer, but honestly I dont think its worth the price to invest in both right now. A dark navy fresco suit, will that be a descent choice to wear both as a suit and a jacket…? I suppose the fresco cloth is far better for an odd jacket than a worsted wool?

Russ

There’s a mystery here. Why are we men agonising over black, and how to wear it? We know we look good in a dinner jacket, but beyond that we are stumped. Yet give an elegant woman a well-cut (even sexily cut, if she has the figure for it) little black dress, plus one piece of striking jewellery, and she’ll look fantastic, at any time of day or night. The conundrum need solving.

Jeans Lauren

Showing forearms is a bit feminine Simon…

Jeans Lauren

Honestly not really. I find short sleeved shirts lead to different body language where I’m rubbing my arms and looking nervous in moments when I’m just slightly cold. I’d rather sweat more in warm weather for the sake of composure when the temperatures drop slightly.
I think short sleeved shirts can be strategically deployed in opportune moments, but they’re at the very least questionable. Not really something I’d consider doing in public.
Showing forearms in Western costume is borrowed from women’s fashion trends from the 6th Century AD onwards, around the time men started wearing plate mail instead of chain male armour. The feminine connotations are inescapable.
I think you’ve done well with the look however.

Jeans Lauren

No worries.
Yes I’ll concede it’s quite a stretch to go that far back.
Agreed.
I think people tacitly agree to fashions continuum whenever they partake in it consciously or subconsciously, for better or worse…

Steve B

And if you go back further to ancient Rome & Greece their armies wore short sleeves. Long sleeves & trousers are not conducive to recent temperatures & to wear them appears odd especially when not at work & ‘compelled’ to do so by cultural dictates. Whatever next…..men can’t wear kilts…..women must wear headscarves.

Hal9k

Showing forearms being a bit feminine only happens when your forearms look feminine.

Kingstonian

Black is for priests and maybe Gary Player and Johnny Cash.

SteveB

This concept of black relating to funerals & priests must surely come from association with the likes of The Godfather & other Sicilian mafia films involving funerals, maybe it’s more of a Catholic Mediterranean association or hang up. But Simon has demonstrated that it can be done well in a considered way & it is invariably carried off even better with a tan.

PeterHall

I’d always avoided black ,apart from coats and shoes, until you wore the black cardigan on the site and how useful it could be. So, I took the plunge and invested in a RL cashmere cable sweater. A bold style choice, certainly when the hot weather struck, but it is certainly elegant in the evening. As you say, it helps that I’m beyond the basic capsule now and could mix easily. Surprisingly effective, for me anyway, to wear with shorts and black loafers in the evening.

CK

Great article Simon, I always know when you write an article that has anything to do with wearing black, readers will have plenty to say.

Personally, I’m a big fan. Recently, I’ve been adding more black around the edges. Just bought a pair of black Vibergs (struck-through dyed, so they’ll stay black) and have a black leather jacket near the top of the list. Would like to add a black knit or two at some point as well.

As for all black, it can be provocative but when done with a little care and attention, let’s be honest it’s hard to beat. As demonstrated well by yourself here. Another stylish gentleman that springs to mind, who also does it well, would be Mr Zottolo. Both in smart as well as casual contexts. I still maintain it’s all in the texture where black is concerned.

As you and others have mentioned, the one area it struggles is the likes of worsted fabrics. Partly due to associations (cheap suits), but also perhaps a dark navy is always going to look better?

Alexander

I think this all-black-outfit could be seen as the summer-version of “cocktail attire”. https://www.permanentstyle.com/2021/12/cocktail-attire-an-appeal-for-a-new-type-of-evening-wear.html
Still, the jacket would be missed by most people, or indispensable for certain occasions. A different polo with a stronger collar and a DB linen jacket could be the solution.
An own article on summer cocktail attire would be great some time.

Alexander

Yes, I tried to mention most of that. Jacket and stronger collar are missing. But the idea of all black in the summer evening reminded me of the cocktail attire theme.

Ben Frankel

excellent article! However black Ts aren’t much mentioned, I’ve seen a guy in perfect black T, tucked into lean black trousers, pulled together with a black crocodile belt,the best dressed look at the party,(with black leather loafers). Of course in the Japanese way, black looks very well with dark deep navy. Black Ts a way of easy chic.

Burnham Banks

I used to wear black suits and black turtlenecks or t shirts in the late 80s to the late 90s. Mostly Gianni Versace stuff. Thought it looked sharp. Looked more like the doorman of a fashion boutique. Occasionally I will still wear all black but not so much blazers or suits anymore.

Ret

Personally I find black trousers very useful. Providing they are in heavy cloths such as moleskin or cord, they go well with most colours except Navy blue and are an easy way to smarten up an outfit.

Jan Capek

In my inconsequential view, this is the one color combination that looks sexy on women, but poor on all but non-gray/white-haired men.

Jan

So sorry, I meant “all but gray/white-haired men”.

Nico

Somewhat surprised no one mentioned the impractical factor: dust or light fabric specks, traces of dandruff… they look appalling over black clothes. It could be argued that it might be the same over other dark colours, namely navy, but to my eyes it always seemed much worse over black. And even if you obsessively brush off every time before you don the garments it will be there again before you take them off.

Shem

Hi simon when wearing a black rayon/polo shirt up top and say olive shorts below, do brown calf loafers work below?

Sankar Ramamurthy

Black attracts negative energy and should never be worn