Colour Code - Black

We’re diving into colour palettes and colour psychology for the first in a series of blog posts exploring colours – what they mean, how they connect and what works with your skin/hair colour.

We’re starting the series by looking at black. Our recent work with Sam Jones included developing Spear point collared, all black shirts so we thought we’d start this series by looking at little more closely at black, what it signifies and whether it’s something that useful, or not for you.


Why to people frequently wear black?

Enclothed cognition is a massive and powerful thing – if you don’t already know, or recognise it, it’s the subliminal messages your clothes are sending you and those around you. Most clothing colour decisions are made as a result of psychological factors – beliefs, associations etc. And black can fall into one of 2 main groups. The stylish, sophisticated ‘designer’ look, or the rebel, black is often considered to be anti-establishment, punk and gothic. Many of these influences come from films, where character traits are often established and confirmed using colour and clothes. So let’s look at where those ideas were formed.


Stereotypes and assumed knowledge about black clothes

It’s almost impossible to not be influenced by colour at one level or another. Colours and the associated meanings have been a central part of our evolution. We make massive assumptions, key decisions within milliseconds, these decisions are often based on no other information than colour. So what does black say to people?

• Black is considered a sleek and flattering colour.

• A colour choice that is thought to minimize the personal effort required when selecting clothes/outfits.

• Black is often considered flattering, reducing or hiding, the shape and size of the wearers body.

• Many people associate black with professionalism and power (think films, where the ‘power’ part of this stereotype is used extensively).

• Black can also be seen as a shield, a way to protect yourself and your emotions – masking what you’re feeling inside. This a great example of enclothed cognition, where the colour of clothing worn can be used to create physical distance from other people because black is harder to ‘read’ from other colours, if everything is black it can be trickier to decode the message, encouraging people to look elsewhere at something that they can decode more quickly.

• In contrast to the last point, for many people black is considered a passionate and alluring colour, creating desire.

As you can see, there is a wide range of emotions and messages associated with black. Which begs the next question…

Is black a colour?

Scientifically black is not a colour, though there are plenty of people who would beg to differ. Within the realms of science, an object that is black is considered to be devoid of colour, hence we have ‘black holes’ – spaces of nothing or dark matter. On the flip side, scientifically speaking, white includes all colours, although white is also scientifically not considered to be a colour either.



Black tones

Wearing black requires more effort than people assume. Because there isn’t simply one shade of black. Like every colour it comes in a wide range of hues and shades, how you use these is important.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of shades/hues of black. They are often classified by the temperature, saturation and the predominant base colour, which will be one of the primary colours - blue, yellow or red. Within the Pantone colour charts there are hundreds of shades of black, whether everyone agrees that these are ‘black’ or other tones is another discussion that we don’t have the time to jump into right now.



Working with what comes naturally

The clothes we are drawn to, often compliment our personal skin and hair tones, it’s instinctive, a process we have honed over millennia. Try putting a few colours next to your arm or face, you’ll quickly see what you like.

Admittedly this can lead to a wardrobe that is a little predictable and samey, so we would always advise seeking out professional advice, a fashion stylist or colour consultant will challenge your thinking and re-affirm your choices about both the colours you like, and sometimes about the ones that you have rejected as well.

Nothing is set in stone

It is amazing how these colours can be expanded and swapped. As we all age, our colours (skin and hair) will change, it’s totally natural and should be embraced. It will almost certainly impact the choice of colour for our clothing.

I love black clothes. Show me what works?

Here are a couple of combinations of black and all black that really deliver.



Contrast is also powerful

Never be afraid to break or challenge a rule, black with a hint of colour is really powerful.




Black shirt

We make shirts in lots of colours, not just black, and a range of patterns. Our ‘made on demand’ service offers 3 standard collar shapes for men and women.



Men  Women
Cutaway collar Cutaway collar
Penny collar Penny Collar
Spear collar Spear collar


We have also created unique shirts for customers through our ‘ReCode’ service, upcycling existing materials into brand new shirts.

DressCode Patterns

We have previously created a black shirt as part of our 4th birthday celebrations – Night Code

Night Code - Ltd Edition 4th birthday shirt-Apparel & Accessories-DressCode Shirts