As long as it’s black

I bought a sweater this year. I last owned one in 2011, when I unwisely stripped down while trying (and failing) to make macarons and casually tossed my sweater onto a hot hob. A friend from Goodreads asked me, “What color did you buy?” I bought black, of course. I also could have chosen from charcoal and grey.

All women’s clothes in Auckland are black. Ok, that’s a lie. But 85% of women’s clothes in New Zealand malls are black, with a sprinkling of brighter accent colors that work with black. Check out any line of humans waiting for a bus on an Auckland workday morning and everyone is wearing black.

Here are photos I took at the mall today. I didn’t deliberately select the stores, these are just the womenswear stores between my car and the shop where I bought the “fluffy” towels my realtor told me I needed to tszuj my bathrooms.

shop 5

shop 4

shop 6

shop 8

shop 2

shop 1.jpg

Admittedly it’s winter, but the season makes no difference. Our best known designers like Zambesi and NomD work black like it’s an entire palette in itself.  I love them for it.

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Current NomD collection
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Current Zambesi collection

The color is ingrained in our culture, even though apparently our preference for black branding is hurting New Zealand businesses overseas. New Zealand’s obsession with black was the subject of a 2011 show by the New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Confession: this has given me some qualms about packing for my October trip to GRL. I like blending in, because it camouflages my social awkwardness. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how many other people in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and Maine choose the best color of all.

7 thoughts on “As long as it’s black

  1. Rhode (Ivory) Red

    So, New Zealand is alternate spelling for New York?

    Fact: some people look crap in black. It’s a skin tone thing. It deadens them. Others start to glow. Easiest way to tell which you are – get two swatches. One of stark white fabric and one of aged ivory. (Aka winter white.) wrap them round you and look in the mirror.

    Generally one will make you glow and the other will make you look vaguely ill. If the glow is stark white, then black is for you. If the glow is ivory AVOID BLACK because it makes you look crap. Choose charcoal, greens, browns and teals instead. Even orange. Colors with yellow warmth in them. (Well charcoal suits everybody.)

    1. Green is actually my favorite color, but I can never find it to wear. I’ll have to do the fabric thing when I am in the states when I have someone to tell me if I look ill or not. I seem to have missed the gene that can distinguish looking good in a color and not looking good. So thanks for the tip!

  2. You will be absolutely FINE wearing black in Minneapolis. We’re all about the black clothing… with a random sprinkling of plaid. My closet is black black black… tie dyes. 😀

  3. In my younger days I used to to wear brown and neutral tones much of the time. When I stopped coloring my hair I discovered color: jewel tones, pastels and even the occasional print. I do have many black items and I especially love my black turtlenecks. You will be fine TOTALLY FINE in black in the US.

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