Dark days indeed for us fashionistas
It seems like everyone’s dressing in black these days. Don’t believe me? Here’s the hard empirical evidence.
Last week I went to a show. In front of me sat a man in a lime green sweater. Beside him sat his wife, dressed in a vermilion coat.
They were instantly noticeable because the colours were bright. Then it occurred to me: The real reason they stood out is because almost everyone else was wearing black.
Black rules supreme. Look on the street. Look anywhere. It’s like we’ve become Russia in the 1950s, except without the Sputniks and with better plumbing.
Two weeks ago I decided to get rid of clothes I don’t wear anymore. The discards were brightly coloured Hawaiian shirts and garish garb originally (a) selected for humour value and/or (b) purchased after enthusiastic cocktail consumption. I put this stuff into two garbage bags and drove to Value Village.
“Here’s some free clothes,” I said to the Value Village donations guy, who had a mohawk and a pierced nose. He didn’t look too excited or anything.
“There’s some really good shirts in there,” I added. “You might even want to check it out yourself. You know, snag the good ones.”
“That’s OK,” said the mohawk guy, flinging my stuff onto heap of other garbage bags.
Back home I examined my half empty closet. Then, horror of horrors, it struck me (with the force of Shelley Duvall reading Jack Nicholson’s novel in The Shining) practically all my remaining clothes were black. Or charcoal. Or a licorice hue.
It was like I’d become a goth over the last few years without realizing it.
A fashion blogger for the Huffington Post recently wrote about how wonderful dressing in black is. “Black is elegant and chic; black is slimming; black looks good with all skin tones; black looks good with all hair colours; black looks as good on men as it does women,” she enthused.
But how terrific can black really be? If everyone is dressing in black, it can’t be that cool. It’s like when hipsters started wearing Buddy Holly glasses. Before you knew it, everyone garbagemen, church ministers, people who ask “Would you like fries with that?” was wearing them, too.
I predict in the future, people will view our time as the strange period in history when everyone wore black. It will be known as The Age of Black or, in French, “L’ge du Noir.”
Historians will wonder: “Were they excessively worried about getting stains like red wine and hot sauce on their clothing? Were they depressed due to global warming and the music of Miley Cyrus? Or did they just want to be prepared in case of surprise funerals?”
I told my wife my L’ge du Noir theory. She said nothing. But on Valentine’s Day she surprised me. Her gift: a yellow pocket square and a matching bow tie.
“These will brighten up your wardrobe,” she said. “You know, because of all that stuff you were saying about black clothes.”
My gift startled me. Don’t get me wrong, the yellow pocket square looks OK. It adds zip to my black ensembles a certain je ne sais quoi, as though I’ve just de yachted after pia coladas with Kim Kardashian.
But the bow tie is something else. It has little polka dots and is extremely tiny. It’s looks like something Pee Wee Herman or Huntz Hall of the Bowery Boys might wear.