The Year I Didn’t Buy Black | Haute Macabre

The Year I Didn’t Buy Black

It started with a deep blue sweater that fit like a glove and set my eyes off perfectly, and which I could not make myself buy because it Was.Not.Black. I panicked. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t imagine pulling that sweater off, even though it was clearly made for me. And it pissed me off. So as my New Years Resolution in 2012 I decided to go a year without buying anything black. I did it, and here’s what I learned.

1. One Cannot Simply Walk Into Colors

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Colors require thought and planning. There are far too many of them, and most of them look horrible next to each other. The first few times I bought outfits, I ended up looking like a tree frog at the end of a food fight. Things I thought matched, didn’t. Things that were cute just sat in my closet because nothing went with them. If you’ve spent the last 20 years with nothing more to worry about than making sure your closet has enough light to tell the blue-base blacks from the red-base blacks, you might try starting with a basic palette in mind.

2. I Like Sweaters That Make Me Look Like  an Extra on Star Trek

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I also like horsey boots, a color called “oatmeal”, and matching my undies to my outfit. Breaking your preconceptions about yourself, about what you can and can’t pull off, about what does or doesn’t fit into the box you’ve assigned yourself, gives you a lot of new latitude for finding out what it is that you actually do like.  Sometimes the things you find out are surprising. Then again, I still hate orange. Marooned with You Sweater , currently Out of Stock.

3. You Should Take Those Colors Off when you Cook

Or Clean. Or Eat. Or Paint. Jesus, was I covered in this much crap all the time and just couldn’t see it?

4. This Dress Is Like The Little Mermaid


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The Little Mermaid was the first Disney movie that came out when I was old enough to like Disney movies again. Remember what that was like? Suddenly not needing to be too cool to go to a cartoon, not being afraid anyone was going to mistake you for a little kid, and just getting to sit back and enjoy the ride again? Yeah, this dress is like that to me. Glamour Power To You Dress in Woodland Garden, $74.99

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6 Comment

  1. I was inspired to recently go through de-blacking the wardrobe, partly because of your effort to do so and partly because I felt my style no longer matched who I was. Like you, I ended up with a collection of things that only sometimes go together, and mostly branched out into other neutrals like greys, browns, and tans. My one suggestion: If you spent a lot of time amassing petticoats and corsets, like me, your “normal” appearance will probably still tend towards the dramatic. Spend your money on quality when it comes to basics like t-shirts and turtlenecks, and buy the melodrama (like the white biker jacket I bought yesterday) when you find it cheap. When your tastes are changing and you buy as many clothes as I do, dramatic pieces lose their flair fastest because they’re the least compatible with new finds.

    I have to say, my transition period was very, very awkward.

  2. I thought I was the only one who went through a “must. not. buy. black.” phase. I relapsed to my dark ways but I did learn a few lessons too. The biggest was gold. It is probably the “happiest” color (if you consider it to be a color) and black the…..lets face it, “the saddest”. Previously, I used neon colors to make an all black outfit look slightly more cheerful (to “normal” people). Gold has the same effect but it looks classier and since I started integrating it all comments from strangers along the lines of “are you depressed?”, have stopped. This was a great post, I like opinion posts.

  3. Love this post, probably because it’s so recognizable! Not that I’d ever make it through a whole year without buying black, congrats on achieving that!

    Like many of your readers apparently I had this ‘Must. Not. Buy. Black.-phase’, which resulted in a coloured part of my closet which I hardly touch. It’s just so hard to find the right combinations! If I do pick a coloured piece I always match it up with all black, which might defeat the purpose of wearing colour in the first place 😉

  4. Congrats on your successful year! I used to only wear black and red, but I tried to not buy anything black for a while in college. It was a fun time and I discovered that I liked some clothes that I never would have looked at previously. I’ve fallen back into my black and red (or black and white) ways now, but feel better knowing that I tried out other colors for a while. Will you start buying black again now? I get the feeling that you will continue buying colors regardless. I’m glad you got to experience the larger world of not black things!

  5. I completely agree with the color palette notion. Start slow, ladies. I am also color defiant and only wear black, shades of grey, and (lately) muted colors in the taupe – deep mauve range (warm, but to the very far left of orange). Yesterday I bought a pair a dark purple leggings – a color I have not worn since I was about 13. They provide, surprisingly, the same overall ‘look’ as black leggings, but seem to make colors like taupe really POP, which black does not accomplish. I would say black compliments, but rarely makes anything pop – except white (which still remains a Cardinal sin in my wardrobe).

    Love the post!
    ; )

  6. Loved this. Sharing it on FB. This is probably the most interesting and fun HM post I’ve seen in a while. Because what’s the fun of living “outside the box” if you just close yourself up in a new one? Here’s to individuality. 🙂