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What does wearing black say about a person?

Black is a color that is often associated with power, elegance, and mystery. Some say that wearing black sends a message about the type of person you are or want to be seen as. But does the color black really reveal that much about someone’s personality and character? Let’s explore some of the meanings and associations behind wearing the color black.

Black as the Color of Power

One of the most common associations with black is that it’s the color of power and authority. Picture a judge in their black robes or a CEO wearing a black suit. The color evokes a sense of strength, capability, and command. Wearing black can send the message that you are competent, knowledgeable, self-assured, and not to be questioned. Consider the following about black and power:

  • Black clothing is often worn by authority figures like judges, police officers, security guards, and politicians.
  • Many high-status positions like lawyers, bankers, executives, and business owners regularly don black suits or ensembles.
  • The black tuxedo is considered the most formal ensemble for social occasions and conveys prestige.
  • Black limousines are associated with luxury, affluence, and important people.

Overall, wearing black can imply you are comfortable with power, authority, and communicating that you are sophisticated and successful. It sends the message that you should be taken seriously.

Black as the Color of Mystery

Black is also associated with mystery, secrecy, and the unknown. Consider these connections between black and mystery:

  • Spies and detectives wear black to blend into the shadows while covertly gathering intel.
  • In movies, the villian often wears black while lurking in the darkness.
  • Little black dresses and black ensembles convey an air of sophistication and intrigue.
  • Black masks have an aura of anonymity and concealment.

Based on these associations, wearing black clothing can indicate you are private, complex, and not easy to figure out. It hints that there may be more than meets the eye.

Black as the Color of Elegance

The color black is universally viewed as elegant and stylish. Consider the following:

  • Many high fashion designers incorporate black into their collections including Gucci, Prada, Givenchy, and more.
  • The little black dress is considered a wardrobe essential.
  • Black tie events call for the most formal attire possible.
  • A black leather jacket or handbag is viewed as chic and trendy.

When someone wears black clothing, they may be trying to communicate refinement, wealth, and exceptional taste or style. It shows you appreciate looking polished and put-together.

Black as the Color of Rebellion

Wearing black is also sometimes associated with rebelling against norms or authority figures. For example:

  • Goths wear black clothes and dark makeup to rebel against mainstream conventions.
  • Outlaw biker gangs wear black leather jackets to communicate their lawlessness.
  • Artists and musicians may gravitate towards black clothing to convey their subversiveness and nonconformity.
  • During protests and other defiance of authority, protestors often wear all black.

In this sense, wearing black clothing can indicate you wish to communicate your defiance of rules and norms or that you consider yourself an outsider or misfit.

Black as the Color of Evil and Death

There are also several dismal associations between black and concepts like death and evil. Consider the following:

  • Black is the color typically worn at funerals in many cultures.
  • The Grim Reaper is depicted in a black cloak.
  • Black cats, bats, widows, and other symbols have evil connotations.
  • Dark magic like necromancy and witchcraft may be represented using the color black.

However, outside of very specific subcultures that intentionally use black for morbid aesthetics, most people wearing black today are not trying to communicate wickedness or associations with death. Instead, black has been reclaimed to convey the more positive meanings discussed earlier like power and elegance.

Black as a Slimming Color

One practical reason people are drawn to black clothing is the slimming effect. Consider the following:

  • Black creates sharp lines and contours which can give the impression of a slimmer silhouette.
  • Black clothing tends to be more flattering for those trying to camouflage problem areas.
  • Models and celebrities often wear black outfits for a leaner and longer leg effect.

For these reasons, people may opt for more black pieces when trying to appear thinnest. The slimming effect of black is likely a major factor in its popularity and prevalence.

Black as an Easy Color for Coordinating Outfits

Another benefit to embracing black in one’s wardrobe is its versatility for mixing and matching. Consider the following conveniences of black for creating outfits:

  • Black tops and bottoms will match with each other effortlessly.
  • Black clothing can be paired with almost any other color like red, blue, gray, etc.
  • Basic black pieces can be the foundation for endless stylish combinations.
  • Having black wardrobe basics makes getting ready and dressing simply effortless.

Many people gravitate towards black clothing for its ease of use and ability to match with anything and everything. It’s incredibly convenient for crafting versatile looks.

Black as a Timeless and Classic Color

Another appealing aspect of black clothing is its enduring, classic nature. For example:

  • Certain black garments like the little black dress and leather jacket transcend fleeting trends.
  • Black is one of the most popular clothing colors year after year, season after season.
  • Jewelry and accessories done in black have a beautiful timeless quality.
  • A well-tailored black blazer or coat will rarely look dated.

Choosing black clothing with clean, simple lines that flatters will yield pieces with incredible longevity. Black does not fall prey to temporary fashion fads.

Black as an Authoritative and Professional Color

Black carries an air of capable professionalism in many career contexts. Consider the following:

  • In fields like law, finance, and academia, black suits prevail.
  • For important pitches and presentations, wearing black may communicate competence and authority.
  • Job candidates often wear black suits to interviews to portray professional polish.
  • Doctors, lawyers, accountants, and executives rely on black clothing to convey knowledge and skill.

Across many industries, wearing black is a go-to for communicating professional credibility and aptitude. It shows clients and colleagues you are capable and qualified.

Black as an Intimidating and Unapproachable Color

Despite its positive associations, black clothing can also sometimes convey unintended or excessive standoffishness. Consider the following:

  • Completely black outfits with no color at all can feel dreary, imposing, and funereal.
  • In customer service roles, solid black may communicate an unfriendly standoffishness.
  • Wearing only black every day could be misinterpreted as unsympathetic or aloof.
  • Too much black makeup paired with black clothing can feel overly morose and off-putting.

Black most easily communicates approachability and warmth when paired strategically with lighter tones and touches of color. Worn appropriately, black telegraphs professionalism rather than unfriendliness.


Overall, the color black has a broad range of symbolic meanings from power and professionalism to mystery and rebellion. But just like any other color worn, the message communicated depends hugely on the context, styling, and individual wearing it. Rather than making sweeping generalizations about people who wear black, it’s important to appreciate the nuances. Black clothing can allow people to feel confident, elegant, artistic, defiant, or simply pragmatic and fashionable.