Feb 11th, 2017, 04:06 PM

Black: The Only Color Worth Wearing in Paris

By Chelsea Sanford
Image Credit: fashiongalwardrobe.com
Disclosing the religiously worn all-black Parisian outfits, from the perspective of a South African girl who's only tragedy is loving color.

There is a type of attitude that goes hand in hand with wearing black and the French seem to be the masters. A color of mystery and mortality, Anna Wintour hates it, and Abercrombie & Fitch banned employees from wearing it in their stores. For many though, black continues to be the anchor of style, an admired Gothicism and wardrobe staple.

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With reflection on my African roots, I feel Paris has become a constant funeral. Men and women are too afraid to step out of the Parisian etiquette of black, grey and navy tones. This subconscious protocol requires Parisians to stick to neutral and dark materials, especially during winter. While having this discussion with a friend over a cup of coffee in the Marais, a waitress remarked “Le noir est une couleur si gaie!” [Black is such a happy color!]

 “I love black because it affirms, designs and styles. A woman in a black dress is a pencil stroke.” -Yves Saint Laurent 

In 1861, when Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria took to wearing black as everyday dress. Her decision to sport widows weeds resonated into everyday fashion, as people reconfigured her mourning into fashion. Subsequently it became the uniform of Coco Chanel and a mainstay for many designers.

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Color plays a major role in African fashion and exemplifies the way a person is feeling. In Cape Town, South Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, men and women both indulge in the use of colors like black and navy in business and formal settings, but often accentuate an outfit with a pop of color.

Growing up in South Africa, women were and still are afraid of wearing too much black, for the fear of looking too dull. Colored scarves, sweaters and satchels are often worn to break an all black outfit. Perhaps it is a representation of the African origins, the endless sunshine and the warmth and atmosphere that is so different compared to European living.

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Japanese designer, Yohji Yamamoto said “black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all black says this: I don’t bother you – don’t bother me!” Yamamoto not only describes the vibe of a black outfit, but the Parisian way of living, that has translated to their clothes.

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Then there are people who are in the middle, the hybrids and bodies of amalgamated influences. People like me and my fellow classmates, who are stuck in the middle of the fashion scale wanting to fit in with the Parisian dress style but still stay close to our roots.

Author, Angela Wright in her book The Beginner’s Guide to Colour Psychology says black is the color of sophistication, glamor, security, emotional safety and efficiency, all elements of the Parisian lifestyle. Whereas colors such as orange and red say: physical comfort, warmth, security, sensuality, passion, abundance and fun – a more fitted model to Africans dressing in the Tropics.

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