Black . . . authority; mourning; dark magic and Abercrombie & Fitch

The below article endorses some of the commentary made in my blog on the wearing of black.  That blog can be found here.

There are some interesting comments made in this news article about the colour black.  I liked the commentary surrounding the ‘psychology of colour’ and particularly liked the reference to the colour Baker-Miller Pink – powerful stuff!

So the message is to re-think the wardrobe colour palette so that your choice of colour makes the right impression for every occasion!

Below article by Emma Pearse of MSN News

Abercrombie & Fitch says it doesn’t sell black clothing because it’s a casual lifestyle brand and black clothing is formal.

Abercrombie & Fitch has nothing against black. The color will just never be seen in its stores, and very rarely on its employees.

“Abercrombie & Fitch does not sell black clothing and discourages wearing it at our home office and in our stores, because we are a casual lifestyle brand and feel black clothing is formal. We have nothing against black clothing and feel it is perfectly appropriate for things like tuxedos,” the company recently confirmed to Business Insider.

Despite the brand decision, little is actually known about the impact of color on human behavior in general.

The idea that color affects mood is not officially backed up by science, aside from the effects of one shade of pink known as Baker-Miller Pink. “It’s also called ‘drunk tank pink,'” says Professor Andrew Herbert of the Rochester Institute of Technology, which offers masters’ and Ph.D. programs in color science. “There’s weak evidence that short-term exposure to the correct shade of pink lowers heart rate, appetite, grip strength and other physiological measures.”

The psychological impact of black as a color may have no scientific backing but the average wearer is not guided by science. “Cultural effects are huge,” Herbert says. “Black as a color of intimidation has a long history in Western society. Think of the SS and Blackshirts in Italy.”

Abercrombie & Fitch is a retailer of crisp, casual apparel targeted specifically at “the cool kids,” and apparently is not into marketing mourning, the emotional state black came to signify in the Roman Empire. Or perhaps CEO Michael Jeffries, assumed to be the force behind the ban — he also forbids women’s XL and XXL sizes  — is uncomfortable with all the witchcraft and dark magic associations. There’s also the connotation of the black hole, an inescapable place and all the existential emptiness that suggests.

Related: Abercrombie & Fitch under fire for not making plus-size clothes

“You can’t be melancholy in fashion,” designer Isaac Mizrahi has famously said. “Because people don’t respond to it.”

Related: Guess what the CEO of Abercrombie banned this time

“In color psychology, black means power and control,” color expert Judy Scott-Kemmis writes on her website Empower Yourself With Color Psychology. “It can prevent two-way communication because of its intimidation. The salesman wearing all black will make a lot of sales, but no friends! It radiates authority, but creates fear in the process.”

Several studies have shown that sports teams dressed in black receive more penalties.

Black has also been the color of royalty (starting in the 14th century), the hue of power during the Black Power movement (think “Black Is Beautiful”), and the powerful tone of individuality — think The Cure’s Robert Smith, Marilyn Manson, and the color of Sarah Jessica Parker’s and Avril Lavigne’s wedding dresses. It was a fashion choice Parkerlater regretted.

Coco Chanel was the pioneer of the little black dress in high fashion, famously introducing it via a drawing in Vogue magazine and declaring, “A woman needs just three things; a black dress, a black sweater, and, on her arm, a man she loves.”

Related: ‘Fitch the Homeless’ video campaign strikes back at Abercrombie

Abercrombie & Fitch is alone in its boycott of black. Competitors such as J. Crew and American Eagle sell black, and some people wear the color much in the same way painters such as Henri Matisse used it.

“When I didn’t know what color to put down, I put down black,” Matisse said in 1945. “Black is a force: I used black as ballast to simplify the construction.”

For Chanel, black was absolute beauty: “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all.”