Wardrobe Challenge: No Black

We all get stuck in our own little sartorial ruts sometimes, and when I find myself in such a rut, the easiest thing to do is to issue myself a challenge. The challenge usually makes me think outside of my usual box and gets the creativity flowing enough to push me back out of the rut and back onto the road to being happy with what I’m wearing!

Black is the easiest neutral of all, and the go-to neutral for many of us. I do love black, I won’t lie, but it has its problems. It can sap the liveliness from other colors or your complexion, not to mention the fact that every little piece of lint shows up on it! A good starter wardrobe challenge is to go a week without wearing any black (barring accessories). It can be a lot of fun and it’s a good chance to stretch your color-experimenting skills.

“What?!”, I hear you cry. “How can I go a week without wearing any black at all?!” Well, let me show you!

I find the best way to start is picking out three colors from your wardrobe palette, to keep from getting overwhelmed by all of the options. Here’s my wardrobe palette:

Staple colors: Pink, purple, and blue (all shades of all three, especially turquoise blue and jewel-toned shades)

Accent colors: Red, orange, and yellow

Neutrals: Black, gray, cream, and navy

So there’s quite a bit to work with, even without the black. In case you couldn’t tell, the palette for the above outfit is gray, yellow, and turquoise. To be fair, there are small accents of black – the band around the beret and the straps on shoes. But I think that’s okay for the challenge, since they’d be hard to remove!

To make putting the outfit together even easier, just pick a color from each of the categories. Build a base with the staple and neutral color, and then add pops of the accent color. Another option is to pick a staple color instead of a neutral, but use a light enough version of it that it can function as a neutral, shown here with pink.

It’s also important to pick different color intensities, as well. Pairing bright orange with bright turquoise with gray would be hard to pull off. But accents of a subdued orange in an outfit comprised otherwise of a  rich royal blue and a nice dove gray could look wonderful. In the above example, I used a darker, deep purple shade, with a mid-range gray and a bright yellow. There would actually be less yellow than there looks at first glance, by the way, because the yellow tank is meant to be worn under the gray one! Little extra cleavage coverage, if you will.

Obviously, I was constructing outfits that I would wear, so they might not be perfectly suited to your tastes. But the methods should definitely hold true, and I totally recommend trying to go without wearing black for at least a day or two. It helps out a lot as far as looking at your wardrobe more creatively goes.

Do you think you could go without wearing black for a day? A week, even?

(PS – if anyone knows where to find an adult sized version of the pink skirt in the 2nd Polyvore, please clue me in. I just used a kid’s skirt and sized it up…and now I’d love to have a similar skirt but can’t find one anywhere!)

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23 Responses to “Wardrobe Challenge: No Black”

  • Not only is this a great challenge, but the possibilities you came up with are AMAZING. I would wear all three in a heartbeat, even if they do have colors reaching outside my own palette…
    Ashe Mischief´s last blog ..IFB Presents: Links á la Mode My ComLuv Profile

  • Rabbit says:

    Looooove these colors! I just watched Marie Antoinette last nite and these are some of the hues I was drooling over! Pastels and Jewel Tones!
    Rabbit´s last blog ..YOUR PERIOD. My ComLuv Profile

  • i love all of these looks! thanks for the tips! jewel tones are amazing. also, purple seems to be a definite staple in my wardrobe too!
    Pretty Robotic´s last blog ..Monte Carlo Mirage My ComLuv Profile

  • Michelle says:

    @Ashe – thanks so much dear! For some reason, as it gets closer to fall I always want to whip out the super bright colors instead of toning down like most people :)

    @Rabbit – The pastels and jewel tones mixed a lot better than I had thought they would, too! I need to buy Marie Antoinette, I’ve only ever seen it once!

    @Pretty Robotic – I definitely think purple is sooo much more versatile than people give it credit for! It really can be put next to almost any color and look great, especially the deep rich shades of purple.

  • True story: I did not wear black until college, save for one black leather skirt and a pair of tights I had. I rocked the heck out of navy blue, though!

    I love what you put together on Polyvore!
    indiana adams´s last blog ..Giveaway: LuLu’s $100 shopping spree My ComLuv Profile

  • birdie says:

    I’m guilty of wearing mostly black today… and buying too much black clothing in general.

    This is probably a wardrobe challenge I should try… haha!
    birdie´s last blog ..Bamboo – Eco-friendly or Green Disaster? My ComLuv Profile

  • Jill Vicious says:

    I’m not really into fashion, so having a wardrobe with anything other than black is impossible for me. I’d never be able to pull this off, since basically everything I own is black.

    However, I though I’d share the good news. I own this top in the red combo – I loved the teal, but they didn’t have my size, and I’m wearing it today.

    I also bought this one as well. :D

  • Lauren says:

    I love the idea, and think you are so brave to do it. Black is a fall back option for me, but I know I could do with wearing it less! Oh, and those purple fluevogs? Very high up my covetting list!!
    Lauren´s last blog ..Domestic Goddessery (Watch out Nigella) My ComLuv Profile

  • Michelle says:

    @Indiana – that’s pretty awesome! Navy is definitely a good neutral that isn’t as bad about sapping colors and can be paired with almost anything.

    @Birdie – Oh I hear you! Why do you think I came up with the challenge in the first place? ;)

    @Jill – Cuuuuute top!

    @Lauren – Oh I love my purple Fluevogs. Yes, I do. *strokes them and whispers “my preciouuuus”*

  • Nope, couldn’t do it. I’d fail miserably. The last time I didn’t wear something black was oh, six months ago? I’m a closet goth at heart ^_^
    Icy @ Individual Chic´s last blog ..I’m still on the hunt for summer shoes My ComLuv Profile

  • Kristen says:

    Great challenge! I started to think about putting outfits together from my closet and realized how much black I actually own and wear regularly. I am definitly inspired to buy and wear more colors in general…
    Kristen´s last blog ..Links A La Mode: Style Within Means My ComLuv Profile

  • Wow that is a challenge….for me that would be really hard…I lvoe black and adding colour to that. Well good luck and it’s a really good idea to find new combinations of colours and clothing.


    Laura Charlotte´s last blog ..Looking forward too…………… My ComLuv Profile

  • Meredith says:

    great combos! I’m actually trying to put together a wardrobe without many of the traditional neutrals except grey, so no black, no dark brown, etc.

    Any body have any ideas? I’m thinking of substituting eggplant/aubergine purple for navy and a deep golden rod for tan….

  • Michelle says:

    Meredith – I think the ideas you have are fabulous and would make for a really rich color scheme. Grey instead of black, eggplant purple for navy, golden rod for tan, and maybe just a creamy pink/nude color instead of white? It certainly sounds intriguing (in the best way possible). If you’d like to send me an email sometime, I’d love to hear more about it & how it works out!

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