Blue is calming, like an ocean breeze. Grey is moody, like a lingering mist. Black is somber, like an emo kid from the 90s. Together they are crisp, cool, and collected, and just like that emo kid, they hope to get noticed while simultaneously conveying a don’t-give-a-shit attitude.
Green is natural, full, and lush, while black is powerful, demanding, and forceful. Both colours make strong statements, with green evoking optimistic prosperity. Black can also imply prosperity, as it is often employed by the rich to denote luxury – think black leather – but even in the most opulent settings, it obviously remains decidedly dark. There is an indifference to black, a certain better than thou quality that green cannot compete with, as green is so eager, and down to earth. Even in its most rich and vibrant jewel tones, green cannot supersede black’s inevitable dominance. But green isn’t red, it’s not trying to be a rival to black. It’s happy in its own lane, pleased to be a pop of colour in an otherwise somber palette, without trying to dilute that mournful mood.
Crisp, cool, and collected. These are terms that can be used for both grey and green. While green evokes all that is organic, such as forests and glens, and grey is rather industrial, with images of smoke and steel coming to mind, both are calm colours. Unflappable, resolved, wise, and serene. Paired together they are perfect for a professional look. Think business meeting served with a luncheon.
Grey is cool, crisp, and content and fully unconcerned. It is pleased to listen to both sides of an argument without ever taking a stance one way or the other. Pink, on the other hand, is prickly and opinionated, and very much invested in whatever is happening at any given moment, though it won’t always voice its concerns. By paring a bold, fiery pink with a steady, smokey grey, it will be clear that you too are one with varied, steadfast opinions, and a mind of your own, though the exact nature of those opinions will remain shrouded in mystery.
Don’t be afraid of pink. People rarely wear it in office settings, probably because they want to be taken seriously and pink still carries a girly connotation, (though this wasn’t always the case) and of course, we still live in a society that considers all things feminine to be negative or at least inferior to masculine things.
Black, on the other hand is utterly gender neutral, and is, of course, itself a neutral. Black is classic, but equally modern. Let’s face it, if all the colours (and neutrals) were to fight for dominance, black would win, but pink would put up a good fight.
In light, black is the absence of colour. In pigment, it’s all colours mixed together. Either way black represents space, the infinite, never-ending, all-encompassing. It is dark and mysterious, and symbolizes mourning and evil in Western cultures. In clothing, an all-black outfit can be goth or elegant, depending on styling. Black is the easiest neutral to work with because it goes with absolutely everything. It is safe, and no-fault, while simultaneously evoking power and sophistication.
White symbolizes purity, innocence, and cleanliness. It is the opposite of black: in light it is all colours, in pigment it is none. White is a blank slate, an empty canvas. While black is the colour of death and mourning in western culture, in other cultures white fills this role, due to the idea of death being the beginning of a new life, of renewal.
White is pure,
The taste of white is snow,
bland but refreshing.
The sound of white is snow,
The feel of white is snow
White is kind,
and goes with
Grey is anonymous,
The taste of grey is nothing,
just the smell of smoke.
The sound of grey is whistling
The feel of grey is steel,
Grey is neither
good nor bad,
neither this nor that,
sitting on the fence.
Black is mysterious,
The taste of black is licorice
a good bad,
an acquired taste.
The sound of black is silence,
The feel of black is emptyness,
Black is introverted
Seen from afar,
feared and admired.
Before colour photography was invented, we were limited to capturing the world in black and white (aside from paintings, which can only ever be interpretation). Perhaps this is why traditional views are also black and white. The real world functions in shades of grey, with no right or wrong, only a variance of opinion. But sometimes stripping an image of colour can add a certain clarity. Viewing pictures in black and white forces contrast, allowing otherwise obscured details to emerge.
Black and white are complete opposites, both neutrals but in utter contrast to one another, why is why they work so well together. A black and white outfit conveys strength, order, conviction, but also whimsy if deployed in equal measure. In creating this post I put together the outfit you see above and I find that I quite like it. Usually, in my real life, my outfits are dominated by colour, but now that I’ve challenged myself to put together something based on such contrast I can see no reason not to wear it for realsies.
There is also something soothing about the contrast between black and white. I discovered this as I was putting together my colour boards for this post. I find the above montage rather mesmerizing. Moody, perhaps even creepy, but pleasingly so. Perhaps it is the purity of white mixing with the power of black. Both colours, or neutrals if you prefer, are as stark as can be and together they create something graphic and geometric even when the shapes conveyed are organic in nature. I find myself hard pressed to think of any other configuration of colour that will be so aesthetically pleasing.
There is a celebrity, Janelle Monae, whose aesthetic is almost exclusively black&white and she rocks it. Perhaps we should all take a page from her book.