Never wear navy with black? Or brown with black? Or colour with black? Don’t be ridiculous, says Lauren Bravo.
I can’t claim to have traced this one back to its historical roots, but if I did I’d bet my Nan that it originated in a warmer clime than this one. Because the main problem with this rule, and there are several, is: tights. When you spend three quarters of the year made partly out of black opaque nylon, you can’t be too choosy about colourways.
Navy and black can look utterly chic, especially with a nice shiny gold button or rosy lips. Brown and black has to work, because half of the animal kingdom have been working it for years. Beavers, grizzly bears, otters, all oblivious to their genetic style failings. Besides, great brown clothes come along so rarely that the last thing you need is someone telling you your shoes don’t go.
If, like me, you were a British female with eyes, ears and a body during the early noughties, you might also still be haunted by Trinny and Susannah. One of their shrillest bits of fash-ism was ‘never wear black with bright colours – it cheapens them’, and to this day if I put a cheery colour near a pair of black jeans I hear them screaming “CHEAP! CHEAP!” like a chorus of demented budgies
But while there is truth in their adage – colour on colour is such a thrill if you can do well – you can’t help feeling it applies more to the stretchy black bootlegs and pink chenille jumpers of 2002 than it does to our wardrobes now. With so many more textures and prints to play with, the danger of black making your brights look like something from a Oxford Street gift shop is pretty minimal.
Pretty much the only black no-go that has any truth, as far as I can see, is black-on-black – because, as generations of women are wont to warn you, it shows the age. Black will inevitably look faded against another black; the freshness of one will show up the bobbles and worn bits on another.
But if you’re happy to own your bobbles and worn bits with pride, I’d say you’re good to go.