Fact: Men love the colour black. And our shopping habits say so. According to retail analyst Edited, black was the most popular colour in menswear back in 2015, accounting for 32% of total clothing sales. Since then it’s been on the rise thanks to big ticket streetwear names like Off-White and Y-3 utilising the timeless hue.
The result? We’re seeing more gents go the all-black route, forgoing any light or colour for clean, minimal monochrome. But, knowing how to wear all-black, is more than just heading to the shops and stockpiling anything dark. Do it wrong and you could be reliving your emo days of 2005.
Shedding some light on this shady situation, we’re rounding up five of the coolest ways to wear all-black for modern times.
Formal All Black Suits
The all-black triple-threat – shirt, tie and suit – is a surefire way to stand out and look chic at your next dinner party. Or merit you look of the week on the red carpet (if that’s how you roll Mr. Celeb).
Worn with patent leather Oxfords and a satiny, peak-lapel, play with contrasting textures adding matte black to the oil-slick shoes via crisp cotton shirting and a tux in a mohair wool – offering a subtle sheen. The suit fit, more than ever, needs to be impeccable; there’s no gregariously red boutonniere or pocket square to draw attention elsewhere.
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Casual All Black Suits
A black suit is a men’s style staple. But sadly, it gets underused outside office hours and party season. Tailoring, in an all-black sense (beyond the blues and whites of corporate work), should feel more European and chic off-duty. The clean lines and open space acting as blank canvas for accessories: a statement watch, signet ring or silver neck chain.
In cooler months, look to one of this season’s game-changers – the roll neck. Streamlining the neck, shoulders and chest, work in some metal (silver is always a masculine options). A cool look is a layered, short pendant over your roll neck, a or feather-metal lapel pin on your jacket. Add a silver-buckle monk shoe.
If it’s too warm for a roll neck, simply get the job done with a clean collarless black shirt.
All Black Rock Star Style
All-black outfits are going hell-for-leather come the weekend. Riding with the original – biker or perfecto, team a snug, cropped jacket over a fine-gauge that sits high on the waist over trouser-style, slim jeans. Base the look out with Chelsea boots.
For a more of-the-minute-look, go longline. Team a slim-cut, lengthy button-down shirt, with a barely-there camo print in ripply jacquard or windowpane check. The black jeans should be skinny with this East London-look, adding a wool fedora and wayfarers taking you straight back to the Sixties mod-squad. For a streamline (and comfortable step) swap the boots for creeper-sole Derby shoes.
All Black With Denim
A t-shirt and jeans is man’s answer to cool, casual wear in summer. So how’s it work, given all-black means you’re likely to overheat in the summer, rather quickly?
Keep t-shirts as light as possible – think linen and light cottons – staying away from heavy cotton blends and nothing skin-tight. Wearing jeans, avoid anything too heavy like selvedge denim and opt for slim-cut (skinny’s in summer are regrettable) in cropped ankle-style or roll the hem yourself, to let the air flow.
Style point: tuck a t-shirt loosely into trouser-shape jeans for an instant smartening of your simple outfit.
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Japanese All Black Style
Rivalling the Scandinavians, the Japanese are pioneers of this season’s neo-minimalism. The new all-black is noirish streetwear – in roomy silhouettes made from quality natural yarns. Black bermuda shorts are instantly summer-ready made from rustic linens, teamed with a box-cut tunic or granddad collar shirt (also linen). It’s about keeping cool with the effortlessness of light, lazy fabrics.
Urban and wintry, wool-cotton blend trousers are best in a wide leg shape, then tapered from the knee-down. Cuffed at the ankle, team leather high-tops and fuss-free black tee. A style mistake here would be to add a cloak or kimono. Proportions, top-to-bottom, should be in contrast, working slim cuts with billowy, so you don’t lose all sense of shape.
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Embrace The Black Out
Don’t be afraid to rock all-black. It’s chic, stylish and relatively foolproof. But for fear of looking boring or burning up in summer, the following tips will give your muted look a voice and leave you feeling comfortably cool:
- Footwear should be made a statement piece. Opt for black sneakers with mesh panels or all-black prints like camo or stripes. Dress shoes available with contrast stitch and soles for a pop of colour that won’t derail your all-black.
- Accessories are vital. Black woven belts and cuffs are ideal leather additions while brass and silver jewellery – rings, bracelets and neck chains – should be added to casual looks (pick one or two not all three, tin-man).
- Fabric applies most in summer. Opt for natural cottons and even linens when shopping for black long-sleeve shirts and blazers.