Don’t let colour blacken your mood – embrace the darkness
SO MANY STYLE LESSONS were learned this week. The most important being that brighter colours do not always make you happier on a miserably wet, humid August day. In fact, they evoke a certain kind of melancholy. Who really wants to bounce around in florals when its grey and rainy? Conventional wisdom tends to advise against wearing black in late summer/early autumn. Science has also led us to believe that when it’s warm, black absorbs the heat of the sun, whereas white reflects it. But when researched more, black absorbs the heat radiated by your body too, so it keeps you cooler. Who knew?
Fashion has endured a rocky relationship with darker shades in early autumn – some love, some loathe them. It used to be a frowned-upon representation of a black mood, meaning you were boring if you wore it, but more recently I have grown an appreciation for a chic, black slinky summer dress. It may have a reputation for feeling tired and gloomy but actually there’s something very appealing about seeking refuge in a certain colour when temperatures change.
Of course, there’s are certain ways to wear it to suit the longevity of days. It all lies in the fabric. Make sure it’s loose, light and fluid – silks, jerseys and crepes adjust well to the heat as do dresses with sheer panels and cut-out details. Anything in wool, tweed, cotton or velvet leave for later in the year. Take black rollnecks and opaque tights out of the equation – anything dark over your chin feels too morbid and heavy and, depending on the weather, bare legs are appropriate until late October.
One black staple that is typically autumn-friendly and can be worn rain or shine is a chiffon skirt. Suprisingly versatile, I wear mine with a T-shirt and trainers off duty or with a silky printed blouse tucked in for office duties. Try Brown Thomas, Zara and Reiss. Culottes or a jersey jumpsuit work popped with a gold strappy sandal – it looks a lot sleeker than brighter rainbow shades. Try Victoria Beckham or H&M. Alternatively, a lightweight statement knit pulls together a midi skirt or high-waist trousers effortlessly – I love Marks and Spencer’s light cashmere or Zoe Jordan’s black and white keyholed sleeves.
For lazier weekends, tunic dresses and tops – Cos, & Other Stories – or dungarees with a simple black tee and chunky black slides or sandals – Office or Birkenstock – aren’t mood-dependent and mean you are suitably armoured if the weather does decide to change.
One last styling footnote. Cut is important. Black has to be softly structured and delicate for it to qualify as autumn black, otherwise you’ll look like a moody office worker. Think mini dresses with crochet necklines and slip dresses with trailing hems. Ghost in Kildare Village, French Connection and Jigsaw are your high street allies here.
There’s something very appealing about seeking refuge in a certain colour