Black, always smart


{image: sign from a 1940s boutique}

I have long been drawn to black in my clothing. It is such a significant color to wear, but the funny thing is that it also seems to signal so many different things depending on the wearer.

In my younger days, black was decidedly cool. The bands I listened to all wore black. It was a tough, strong, urban color but it was also artsy and sophisticated. Is it any wonder I moved to New York after high school?

It still has all of those connotations for me, but it’s also a color of simplicity and elegance. It can be austere and somber. It can look classic. It can look intellectual. It can look sexy. It can even look boring. Perhaps because it has so many different meanings, it somehow seems to draw attention to the personality of the person wearing it without screaming for attention. It’s all about how you wear it.

I don’t wear black as much as I did in high school perhaps, but I still love its versatility. I love black mixed with pastels or white, which makes it perfectly suitable for summer. Sure, it can be predictable, but you can say that about anything classic.

But sewing with black can be a little tricky. While I wear the heck out of my simple black dresses, I find that I’m reluctant to make them. What is it about sewing that makes you want to reach for the colors and prints? There’s also the fact that black tends to obscure a lot of detail in clothing, and who wants their hard work to be that subtle?

But I firmly believe that you should sew the things you love to wear. So I’m making a promise to myself: to make at least one simple black dress in the next month!

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 12


I’ve been known to wear a headlamp while sewing with black! It is much harder to see…extra lights help


Sarai, this post really strikes a chord with me! I do sew mostly with bright colors and florals, but I finally had to admit that I need something suitable for everyday wear and am in the middle of making a wool boucle jacket (but with a royal purple, silk charmeuse, floral lining–I can’t totally give it up!). Black is difficult and dull to sew with, but if you know you will wear the garment frequently, the reward will be well worth the few days’ frustration.


I’m all about grey. There are so many shades, and you can convey so many different things with it. Plus, it goes with EVERYTHING.


I don’t wear much black because I have cats, but I do find myself avoiding neutrals, and then ending up with bright skirts that match nothing else I own!


I could have written this! I have been procrastinating on making a black dress for ages and am getting off my bum to make one. That is once I fiinshed the skirt, coat and blouse on the sewing pile…

Laurie Brown

Even with a super bright light, I can’t work on black at night. I have to sit by a sunny window! But I practically live in black, so I do what it takes.


I wear and sew mostly black, or at least, other dark, solid colors like navy. I’ve been trying to incorporate more colors into my wardrobe/sewing because sewing black is boring and because
I think life’s too short to wear only one color, or only solids. So far, no success in this department – black is so much more easy to wear.


I wear mostly black (maybe it’s NY thing) but I do find that when I am sewing the darkest I’ve gone is dark brown to dark navy, and lately a lot of white and floral prints. I did make a black dress once and found it really hard to see the design details.


I used to love black, now I’ve graduated to grey. I supposed one day I will move on to white (to match my hair, lol.)


I completely relate! Almost everything I’ve made is in a print, floral, or a bright bold colour. I have an awesome Little Black Dress cut out and waiting to be sewn, but I always pass it over for the ‘notice-me’ fabrics in my stash! You’ve reminded me to pull it out and finish it already because I know it will get worn – a lot!

Fourth Daughter

Extremely interesting point that I hadn’t really thought of before. I’ve only started blogging this year but this post makes me realise how consciously I’ve been wearing colours for my blog pics. There’s hardly any black outfits and when they are, they’re not PLAIN black, there’s always some element of colour to them. Which is strange, because being in Melbourne, I (and everyone else) actually wear a lot of black!
Love the image of the first comment… sewing with a headlamp, just like a coalminer!

Fourth Daughter

This post really made me think… searched through my pics and did a post about my black outfits!

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