Why do they make so much black women's business wear?

April 18, 2018

So you go shopping or maybe the sales are starting and it’s an opportune time to add or replace a piece of your business wardrobe.  You find what looks like a great style that will fit your body shape.  And then you discover it only comes in black. 

 

I get it, black is a safe color.  Black is a neutral color.  Black is a practical color.  It can also be perceived as somber, unfriendly intimidating, and unapproachable.

 

So is it helping us stand out and differentiate ourselves in our business world?

 

If you get as frustrated at this as I do when you start to shop, I wanted to offer a little background and advice to help you.

First, about 47% of product designed for women’s retail is black, and in business wear it’s definitely a higher percentage.  I’m speaking of mass-market women’s apparel.

 

Why?   Well, certain very conservative careers like legal, finance, banking, and consulting often command the severe black color to make the wearer look conservative and serious. 

 

And then there’s the “black makes you look slimmer” thing.  It’s true, but all dark colors absorb light making you look slimmer, like navy, charcoal gray, forest green, burgundy.

 

And finally, it’s easy for the fashion business. 

“Who’s the target market on this?” 

  • Business women– check, black is good, and in all sizes

  • Women who want to look slimmer – check, black is good, in all sizes too.

Yes, black is practical and often required, but if you would like to break out of this single-color palette, how can we have more visual interest in our wardrobes while still working around this?

 

First, black is easy to combine WITH another color – best over another bold color.  Your plain black blazer can be work over any color for an instant uplift.  For instance, a red dress, red skirt, red pants. 

 

And you can add any top or dress in a print as long as the print has a little black in the pattern – that tiny amount of black in the pattern connects to the black making the outfit look coordinated and polished.

 

Or to any black outfit, add red shoes or red purse, or red scarf, even red lip color.  I’m using red as the example, but any color (that’s business-tasteful) will work.  And, depending on your business culture, black pairs well with most of the animal prints as long as they have some black in them to connect the two.  Add the animal print sparingly; don’t look like you just got back from safari.

 

Plus, there ARE independent designers on the internet who ARE producing business wear in more colors.  Sometimes it’s as simple as Googling “red business dress”.  And if you’re going to order it, I’d recommend reading the customer reviews to see how the sizing is running.  And it’s more likely to fit if there’s some stretch to it – a ponte knit is much more likely to fit.  Check the fabric content – sometimes the fabric has some stretch, but if the lining doesn’t, well….

I hope this helps open your eyes to other possibilities in your closet.  If you need help putting together coordinating outfits from what you have, call me, I’ll help you get going so you feel great everyday!  832.707.9339

#personalbranding #executive #leadership #image #coaching #womeninbusiness #success 

 

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