I Tried Not Wearing Black for a Week (and It Was Hard)

Welcome to "I Tried It" Week. From our editor in chief purging over 19 shoes from her closet to our assistant editor dressing exclusively in vintage, follow along this week as the Who What Wear editors take on personal wardrobe challenges and document the process along the way.

When it came time to select a challenge for myself for this week, I was actually excited because, for once, I already had something in mind. A certain boredom over my own style had been brewing in me for months after realizing that I often wear the same few things over and over again and even more often revert to simply wearing a ton of black when I’m not in the mood to try or just feel like keeping it simple. After all, you really can’t go wrong in head-to-toe black, which is part of the reason I’ve done so for much of my adult life, but something about it becoming a crutch rather than a conscious choice was getting to me. Since I seem to have found a fix for the first issue of wearing the same few items on repeat, I thought this would be a fitting time to tackle the second.

However, if you know me, follow me on Instagram, or perhaps keep up with my Trust Me—Buy This column, then you know this wouldn’t be an easy feat. Simply put, I love wearing and buying black. It’s a classic and makes any item more versatile and thus more investment-worthy. Whether it’s a pair of shoes, a handbag, or a single item of clothing, both my mindset and my actual wardrobe make it hard for me to keep the anti-color color out of my look.

Nonetheless, for the sake of journalism and personal growth, I did—kind of. To see what I mean, read about all of my lessons and learnings and, of course, to see and shop what I actually wore, just keep scrolling.

1. Silver accessories are very helpful.

While most of the bags and shoes I buy are, in fact, black, my second-favorite choice is actually silver. This was extremely helpful for my little challenge because silver accessories pretty much match anything! Spoiler alert: You'll come across several others as you keep reading. 

2. It's fun to not give in to the rain.

My usual approach to rainy-day dressing is pretty utilitarian and, well, lazy, so when I had to actually make an effort on such a day—after all, I had to look good for you—it was a refreshing change. I felt very sophisticated in my trench, and while I nearly lost my Chanel Mary Janes to several puddles of water, in the end, they (and I) came out unscathed. 

3. Red dresses are like a magnet for complements.

On Thursday night, I had a party to go to, and while my usual move would have been to grab one of my trusty black cocktail dresses, instead I pushed myself to wear this red one that I’d otherwise be saving for who knows when. All I can say is wow. Yes, of course, the dress is objectively lovely and worthy of compliments either way, but in comparison to when I wear any of my many beloved black dresses (which I promise are also lovely), the amount of attention I received nearly gave me an ego.  

4. I cheated—kind of.

I'm sorry, but it's really hard! While I didn't wear any actual clothes that broke the rules, by midweek I couldn't help but throw on my go-to black slides and my black leather–trimmed tote. It actually shocked me how difficult it can be to think even marginally outside the box when you're rushing to leave your apartment in the morning. Nonetheless, admitting your mistakes is the first step, right?

5. It's hard to find a print with no black in it.

I never realized how many of the prints I own were partly and even predominately made up of black until I had to actually pay attention. Luckily, of-the-moment tie-dye tends to be on the safe side here, which was great news for me because I'm a huge fan of the trend. For a probably too-casual day at work, I felt very me simply pairing this tie-dye denim jacket with a white tee and longline jorts. 

6. Baby blue should be everyone's favorite color.

I almost titled lesson number six "I wore a dress to work, and no one recognized me," but that might be a story for a different day. For now, I'd like to focus on how much I am obsessed with baby blue—partly because it's in the same family as my beloved denim but mostly because it's such an easy color to wear if you're generally more of a neutral kind of person. Something about it just feels muted but still striking at the same time, compelling me to start stocking the shade immediately. 

7. When in doubt, outfit-repeat.

In an ideal world, I would have put together a plethora of new, impressive looks in advance of the week I was doing this, but the reality is that I (like many of you) just don't have the time. Therefore, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I had to fall back on at least a couple trusty outfit recipes to get me through the challenge. One of my regular go-tos is this simple white button-down tucked into jeans. I love it because it feels like a blank canvas to add any accessories of my choosing. On this day, I felt like overcompensating with a fun mini bag and statement sandals.