I see my beautiful daughter, she wants to paint it black…


Why do so many teenagers, girls in particular, feel the need to pass through a phase of wearing and surrounding themselves in energy-sucking black?

True black is not a colour, it is in fact the absence of colour. As adolescence is a time of emotional upheaval and change, for some it may be about imposing order and fixedness, whilst they attempt to develop their own identity and style. Moving away from childlike things, and adults making decisions – including about what constitutes suitable clothing – black is easy to latch onto as ‘grown-up’ and rebellious… whilst ironically conforming to an amazingly consistent cross-cultural phase and developmental stage.

Of course for many it is a way of identifying with the goth or emo music scene, and emulating favoured stars. It’s also a way of conforming with a tribe, identifying with their peer group either real or virtual, whilst simultaneously distancing from the childhood they are struggling to shrug aside.

For some there is a perception that black equals adult, grown up and sexy – and for girls particularly (but not exclusively) there can be feelings about weight and body image. Black is good for hiding behind if you are insecure. It’s not an approachable colour either – wear it if you prefer to keep people at a distance.

There is also a perception that black is a slimming colour… this isn’t incorrect as such, but applies to any dark shade and is only one of a range of important factors involved in dressing successfully for your body shape.

The one truth about black is that it can completely drain the life out of most skin tones. Whilst nearly all of us have plenty of black items in our wardrobe, the one good thing is that – due to its utter neutrality – it can be worn with so many other colours. Choose something richer and more flattering on your upper body, at least close to your face, and you can still get away with wearing your black clothing whatever your colour group. Just maybe next time you are shopping, it’s time to let the inner adolescent leave your system at last, and choose something that truly resonates with you, gives you a lift and goes with your personal colouring.


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