A Farewell to Black?

Don’t get me wrong – I like black. I like the way I look in black. Black simplifies my wardrobe marvelously. But the whole black situation is completely out of control. A non-Jewish neighbor of mine wears black and black every single day.  She’s an arteest, though, and is trying to look weird. (Though even I could do a better job, honestly.) One day I cleaned out my drawers and realized that 2 out of the 5 t-shirts I’ve been rotating all summer are black. Another one is white.  Half the things in my closet follow this zebra pattern.  I decided it was time to give color a chance.

I thought I’d try a week without black. Well, excepting skirts. A person can’t go cold turkey. Black skirts are very practical and also comprise about 75% of my skirt wardrobe – 100% of my casual skirt wardrobe ever since I learned how to change a tire while wearing my khaki-colored one. (That wasn’t my brightest moment.) I had to do some archaeological work on my closet to find something to wear, which inevitably led to me throwing out an awful lot of stuff I didn’t even know I was saving, let alone why, or even how I came to own it. (A long pink skirt? I did not buy that. Nor will I wear it, crusade against black or not.) This left my closet looking a bit emptier than usual.  Refilling it should have struck any woman as an irresistible challenge, but somehow Cannery Row by Steinbeck proved even more irresistible. And then there was something by Wodehouse, and Mccaughrean, and Pratchett… And don’t forget the spinach to plant and beans to pick and running to do.

The next logical step was a bit more daring. No little black suit on dates. It always seemed stupid to me – getting dressed up for a black-tie dinner when there never is one. There are very few things that feel stupider than finding yourself in middle of Flatbush restaurant, sitting at a table in your nicest black suit when your 8th grade Home Ec teacher is at the next one over in her Sunday finery and studiously ignoring you, and the jeans-clad Israeli waitress is eying your date and rating him on a scale between 1 and 7. Well, there are other reasons why that feels stupid, but the suit is part of it. You can look formal and well turned out without a little black suit. Or any suit, for that matter. NMF #6 (or was it 7?) never wore a suit until after her BFF proposed.  (But then again, she was prone to edgy behavior.) My favorite evening was the time I sat in a lounge dominated by high school girls running around in their summer pajamas. While there are very good reasons for me to be dressed more nicely, I still felt as over dressed as if I’d gone to a pool party wearing a burka.

Of course, any revolution in dressing requires a trip to Herald Square for a wardrobe adjustment. The Dangerous Book for Boys had to be set aside. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is. (Both: setting aside the book and shopping for color.) I’m not going to go into a shopping harangue, but I left a lot of nice stuff on the rack for the simple sin of being available in only black or white. The highlight of the expedition was drawing a graph on my TI-83 representing the best use of my coupons. The difference between best use and easiest use was nearly $30, btw. Be careful with your coupons. That’s the best advice I can give about anything related to shopping and colorful clothing and what to wear on dates. Now if you wanted book recommendations, running tips, or home-grown cholent beans…

57 thoughts on “A Farewell to Black?

  1. Be careful – to much bright color might blind the good man from Lakewood’s eyes.

    Also, if the stores in Herald Square, as opposed to Coney Island, are offering black and white – does that mean that B&W are in?

  2. Scene from yesterday:

    Serach: Don’t make fun of me, the only thing I can wear right now is black.

    Note: She was one of the few people at wedding #1 wearing black. On the other hand, a lot of the people there weren’t religious.

  3. That wasn’t my brightest moment.

    That’s my favorite line in this entire post. 🙂

    (note: because it’s witty – due to the khaki skirt story – even if it wasn’t intended to be, NOT because I don’t think Bad4 is bright!)

  4. Happens to be black and white are in this summer. I noticed this when I walked into a neighbor’s vort wearing a tasteful ensemble of gray skirt, white shell and mauve cardigan. Since almost everyone, including little girls, were all wearing black and white, I felt like I stood out a little. Luckily I’m an old married person so no one noticed or cared.

  5. I decided it was time to give color a chance.


    Can I get a witness from the congregation?!?!

    –you gotta love frum weddings…where if someone drove by and saw the people milling around they would have to assume there was a wake going on inside.

  6. Well, as I mentioned on my blog, H & M is not advisable for anyone who is pear shaped.

    Anyway, I have never worn a suit on a date. I don’t think you can pay me enough. Haven’t worn a suit on Shabbos in years, with maybe 2 exceptions. Don’t remember when they were, but I pulled out that grey pinstripe thing and looked like a stranger to myself for a few hours.

    And I thought guys don’t take you out in Flatbush if you’re not on your 8th date or so.

    But, yes, farewell to black. Spoken by someone wearing a brown tee and denim skirt. Yes, I match.

  7. L.O.L. Mindy’s little cousins: Why are you laughing? Mindy, broken Hebrew cuz she’s too busy laughing: My friend, she’s saying…

    1. CONGRATULATIONS!!! WHAT A STEP!!!!! WE ARE SO PROUD!!!! Sheesh- not that I really noticed a black trend before, but if there was one, then this is a big step!!!!!! (I remember a green sweater- right? Right? If you’re giving that one away cuz it’s dark, send it to me. I like it.) (Yes, yes, I did lose weight in Israel! I might be able to wear it! 🙂 )
    2. Long pink skirt??? Must’ve been a seminary touring pick-up.
    3. Flatbush restaurants- WHY? WHY? WHY?
    4. Did someone mention shopping???
    5. Coupons? (and home grown cholent beans? I want some.)

  8. For coupons – http://www.retailmenot.com

    I have felt pretty stupid in my dating life and I don’t believe that I have ever worn a black suit on a date.

    2 examples

    1) A lavender cashmere cowlneck sweater, black/white herringbone flary skirt, black boots, Shabbos jewelry and Shabbos coat – TO STARBUCKS!


    2) A navy sweater, navy print pleated silk skirt and navy 4″ heels – TO WALK FOR 2 HOURS IN PROSPECT PARK

    As to 1 – Everyone in the store in their jeans, hoodies and leather jackets were staring at me like I was a tiger in the zoo

    As to 2 – Ouch!

  9. I thought suits were out?

    I’m just plain good and tired of the black/white combo myself, and have been for some time. People are starting to look like clones of each other, any place you go.

    A friend is getting married in the fall, and is still deciding on the color scheme–her sister wants her to choose black. I was too polite to say anything negative about it, but….

  10. Why wear black on a date? Wear fresh colored tops to bring out the color of your face..you don’t wanna look pale/dull!!

  11. black and white were in this summer, as they have been every spring summer fall and winter. they are basic “colors” and will be available always. they dont really go in or out. there are times when they may be more popular and times when they may be less so, but they will always be around.
    we can disect the black/white trend this summer by going back to mid spring when michelle obama appeared on oprah in a balck and white patterened dress….similiar items started flying off the shelves…and naturaly that spread to other black and/or white items ( i thin kthis has less to do with michelle obama and more to do with the fact that she was on oprah….)
    also, i have NEVER worn asuit on a date. i wear tops and skirts. fisrt date is occasionaly black and tan patterened (never fully boring) but i have gone out on a first date in browns, ive worn pink on a first date….. different patterend skirts and sweaters, greens, bluies, magenta……
    lots and lots of different colors (never all at once, i still match…)
    and while none of my dating expereinces have led to any sort of long term relationship (ie-marriage) i really doubt its because of the color of my outfit.
    however, there is somthig to be said about feeling SUPER akward in a restaurant. when your all dressed up beacaue its a first or second date, with your heels (if the boy is tall enough) makeup, jewlery and spiffy outfit, and you walk into a restaurant and everyone else is in their equivalent of a slinky skirt and t-shirt.
    oh and i LOVE h and m. even as someone undeniably pear shape. i can always find tops there, and skirts. (though i find there sizes tend to run small, or at least i would never wear something that tight…)

    and bloack for a wedding is wrong. no matter how posh you think youll look. the bridal party will most likely look like there wearing garbage bags in the pictures, because yards of black satin under photographers lights……. im sure you can imagine.

  12. My wardrobe style is considered “distinct”. I buy the same sweaters and skirts as everyone else, I just happen to buy them in colors than black. How pathetically “artistic”.

  13. A PSA from the Diet Coke purchasing crowd…

    While it is always good advice never to judge a book entirely by its cover, it is also good to remember what may lead one to pick it off the shelf in the first place to take a closer look.

    Does this work exactly the same way for each peson, of course not. Just sayin’.

    Yes, I realize that this works both ways…as well it should.

  14. If Hashem had meant us to blah out in only black with an occasional touch of white would he have made the rainbow, his gift and promise to us, in literally all the colors of the rainbow? Forget what the penguins are wearing–go with the peacocks and the birds of paradise. There is precious little black in the natural world, except for frum human beings.

  15. Discworld? *ears perk up* Did someone mention Pratchett? Weee! A fellow fan.

    Anyway, once you’re done ditching black, you can move on to restyling the ballet style flat shoes. What is up with those?

  16. Yes!! Thank you! Believe me, once you go colorful you’ll never go back. Think of all the possibilities – corals, majentas, lavenders, blues…..trust me it’s very pretty to wear color.

  17. Colorful clothing is not tznius and means that you are leaving the proper derech. It means that the soton has gotten to you too.

    Do you want to meet a real ben torah?

    The pasuk says “shechorah ani ve-na’vah” – “I am beautiful because I am [wearing] black.”

    Please bring a ra’ayah that color is pretty from shas or tanach.

    Did you ask a shailah about wearing non-black colors?

  18. End of World, your blogger id is just asking for me to let you know that sneakers would actually be the end of the world. You should know that. It’s bad for shidduchim. Except of course black Pumas. They don’t count.

  19. Moishe – nothing in Shir Hashirim is taken as face value.
    Shechora Ani Ve’Nava – is more about us being in galus, not being the best we are, but still striving and being a person…Camp Bnos had a contata based on this posuk about 10 years ago…
    BTW, you weren’t serious, were you?

  20. Wow, then I’ve caused the End Of The World time and time again. Did you know that I once walked down the street wearing black tights and sneakers? I caused many a head to turn. My sister (cool, hip, Israeli sister, no less) even reprimanded me. I live to cause end of the world syndrome in the people I meet. And don’t get me started about wrinkles…

  21. Hm, End, maybe it wasn’t the sneakers that were the problem… In my mind’s eye, sneakers have to go with sweatsocks or the like. Ditch the black tights — they’re not comfy with sneakers, anyway.

    P.S. I walk around in sneakers almost every day now. You try training for a marathon in ballet flats (not like I owned any before, anyway, but…)

  22. Bas Melech, you should get together with my shiur kids. They nearly had my head when I wore black knee-socks with running sneakers.

    I almost got Pumas (my bro-in-law picked up a pair for me and me sister [his wife]) and I refused to buy them on principle, even if they were kinda comfortable. I spent too much time making fun of people who wore them to turn around and wear them myself

  23. re color in TaNaCh: Yaakov gave Yosef a kesones pasim
    Purple is a royal color
    tzitzis require techeiles
    a Kohen wears white (well, it’s not black!)
    Kohen Gadol wears all kind of colors
    must be loads more.
    and btw, on Shabbos, halachikly, black and other dark colors are problematic with regard to hilchos libun. Looks like the satan has gotten to most in the Yehsivish world.

    I’m with B4S! Let’s wear all the color we can!

  24. moishe-

    Well played.

    For the sake of playing along…a)the coverings of the Mishkan b)the color of malchus c)the description of Mordechai after he has ‘promoted’…

  25. Back after a bit of hiatus….
    I wasn’t the one who didn’t wear a suit- but I gave up on them after 4 dates.
    As for color- why shouldn’t you wear it?!! Like ProfK said- Hashem gave us a technicolor world to be used (appropriatly) but used, admired, beautified….
    I opened up an Oz V’Hadar Levusha (ducks as everyone glares) and this sefer, traditionally known to be the most machmir on tznius, encourages women to wear color (again, appropriately)- not just black and white!!

  26. Anon.:

    Thanks for bring up the kesones pasim which yaakov gave yosef – we all know how well that turned out.

    And kohanim in the mikdash wore bigdei lavan – do you think you are a kohein perfoming the holy avodah? this is yuhara!
    (In any case, lavan is also associated with tzora’as, leprosy, and thus tum’ah. Kohanim purify tzora’as and so can wear white – it is an exception in the halachah. For everyone else it is assur.)

    Purple is a royal color – but not in Judaism, rather in Western civilization generally. It would be chukas hagoyim for a jewish king to wear purple. In any case, are you a king? Yuhara!
    (The only king in Judaism who has a “purple garment” kivyachol, is God, who has a “beged porphyriyon,” colored by the blood of the son’ei yisrael who are killed be-acharis ha-yamim for all the Jewish blood they have spilled over the generations, as discussed in multiple midrashim.)


    Everyone knows that Oz ve-Hadar Levushah is too meikil on many issues. It doesn’t even require married women to shave their heads.
    Whadya expect?


    Thanks 😉


    Wear black which is not showy or prideful and you will merit olam ha-ba.

  27. Sheesh. Did you ever think about the fact that there would only be a discussion like this on a frum shidduchim site?

    LOL. Wait, Moishe- let’s nto forget that priests and nuns wear black and white. Since we wear what we aspire to wouldn’t we be making quite a statement, us yeshivish men and women alike??? 😉

  28. Oh, yeah, and sneakers STINK. I hate sneakers.

    A word about dressing weirdly- I doubt any of you could pull much on me earlier this year. Confirm, bad4? Listen to one of the cooler outfits:

    Brown and grey striped turtleneck, khaki cotton skirt with multiple pockets and slinged belt, blue-green-grey Indian print shawl, blue green **patterned** tights (yes, you heard me), light grey Roman sandal flats with a strap down the middle and around the ankle, a large Magen David pendant on a flat bronze disc haning on a leather cord, a woodne beaded bracelet, and let’s not forget- the neccesary glittered brown headband. Oh wait! Did I mention the bright green coat???

    I’ve toned down since. 🙂

  29. I own probably only two outfits in black and white, the rest are in color…course, knowing me, the color is blue. Though yes, I have brown, cream, pink, teal, green, orange-ish, purple….no yellow however, I don’t do yellow. But living in South Florida gives me the leeway. Oh, and I don’t own a single suit. It is WAY too hot down here for suits in my opinion, though that hasn’t stopped some of my classmates from wearing ’em. Sneakers..I used to like wearing them, but I prefer sandals.

  30. I don’t do black. I always try to wear something with color when I date. Black is just so..dull. I cannot say though that I don’t own any black tops or dresses. Sometimes it’s just too good to leave behind, even if it’s black.

  31. please do start giving us some book recommendations. you should throw some literature into this blog just to change things up a bit, and maybe make it a little more substantive.

  32. Please do start giving us some book recommendations. You should throw some literature into this blog, just to shake things up a bit and to make it a little more substantive.

  33. Halfshared- wait wait wait, black dresses are out of this equation. There is little nicer than a little black dress. 🙂

  34. Bas Melech

    I know black tights don’t go with sneakers. I was further emphasizing my point of causing end of world syndrome-making people’s perception turn upside down.

    Mindy still in Israel: I hope you took a picture 🙂

  35. End of world- hmmm. I don’t think I have one but when I (maybe) get my winter clothes from the States I can put it together again.

    And I forgot the earrings. Several bright fauz jewels in colors of purple, pink, green, and yellow strung together in a chunk two inches long. Those were GORGEOUS. 🙂 I don’t think I ever wore this all together, though. Definitely not with the earrings. 😛

  36. LWY, if that was me (possible, based on your ID), I apologize. I try to insert my brown and pink sweater on an even-numbered date (between two B&W’s), but it happens to be that most of my summer clothes are B&W. I hate it too and it seems like I’m not alone!
    Moish, nice job! Very funny.

  37. I don’t like ballet flats. I think they make you walk like a duck. I have nothing else to say on the subject except that I have never owned a single pair. 😀

    moishe – LOL

    I don’t think you need teeny little black pumas to get away with wearing sneakers and black socks (tights I’m still leery about…) Any relatively small black sneaker will do, but longer skirts are better. At least, I hope so. Because that’s what I wore every day this past summer.

    NMF #7 – it must have been NMF#6, then. I mix you two up because you both got married the same night. Apologies.

    Whodathunk that just mentioning black would have caused such a spike in traffic?

  38. Did i hear someone mention “Black Tights”…”THICK BLACK TIGHTS” are an abonimation…Dont just Ditch them..”BURN THEM”!!!!…Slowly…

  39. Pingback: Black Outlook, part 2 of 2 « Bad for Shidduchim

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