Black is Not Always Black… Problem Free Ways to Combine Shades of the Ultimate Neutral
Are there any guidelines on mixing and matching black separates? If they are not the same shade of black should you not wear them together? I feel that as long as they are not drastically different it is okay.
This is an excellent question and a style point that is commonly ignored. Most people assume that black is black and technically defined as the absence of color, but it’s not always that simple.
It may have a greenish, purplish, or reddish hue, and can fade to more of a dark gray that makes coordinating clothing a little tricky. If you’re matching black clothes of different fabrics or textures, like a wooly sweater and a satin skirt, a little color contrast may not be all that obvious.
But, when you’re trying to wear a black jacket with a pair of black pants to fake a suit, the slightest difference in cast is very apparent. In some cases, even separates from the same company can be a little off if they are made of fabrics from a different dye lot.
If the blacks don’t appear dramatically different, go ahead and wear the items together. But, if you are uncertain, mix a few simple neutrals like gray, camel, white, or red into your wardrobe to work with the remaining “black” items are just not as versatile.
–October 10, 2002
Hankering for some image boosting advice? Ask Sharon: Advice Page