No other color conveys as many contradictions as the color black, and that’s probably why it’s arguably the most loved color in fashion—and the reason there are so many quotes about it.
Besides its ability to slim and instantly make anything look chicer, black throughout history has represented a number of opposing ideas: power and elegance—but also humility and submission, especially when worn by priests and others who don a uniform. Culturally, there are also a lot of differences in how the shade has been interpreted. While it’s long been a signifier for mourning in Western culture, the Japanese see it as a color that represents seniority and experience.
That being said, designers, tastemakers, editors, and even country-music icons have all waxed poetic on the color—whether it’s their love or hate for the hue or even just a simple statement on the complexities of it. One thing is clear: People have a lot of say about it. Below, see some of the best quotes.
1. “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color.” – Wednesday Addams
2. “I wore black because I liked it. I still do and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion—against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.” – Johnny Cash
3. “You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You may wear it for almost any occasion; a ‘little black frock’ is essential to a woman’s wardrobe.” – Christian Dior
4. “Black is the hardest color in the world to get right—except for gray …” – Diana Vreeland
5. “Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” – Coco Chanel
6. “You can have any color, as long as it’s black.” – Henry Ford
7. “I work in three shades of black.” – Rei Kawakubo
8. “Black is always elegant. It is the most complete color in the whole world, made of all the colors in the palette.” – Ricardo Tisci
9. “But when I fell in love with black, it contained all color. It wasn’t a negation of color. It was an acceptance. Because black encompasses all colors. Black is the most aristocratic color of all … You can be quiet, and it contains the whole thing.” – Louise Nevelson
10. “Women think black is the most flattering color, but they’re wrong. Pink adds a cosmetic-like radiance and warmth. Black drains the skin of color; pink delights the eye.” – Oscar de la Renta
11. “Black is not sad. Bright colors are what depresses me. They’re so … empty. Black is poetic. How do you imagine a poet? In a bright yellow jacket? Probably not.” – Ann Demeulemeester
12. “Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy—but mysterious. But above all, black says this: I don’t bother you—don’t bother me.” – Yohji Yamamoto
13. “One is never over- or underdressed with a little black dress.” – Karl Lagerfeld
14. “I love black because it affirms, designs, and styles. A woman in a black dress is a pencil stroke.” — Yves Saint Laurent
15. “I think in black.” – Gareth Pugh
16. “Women who wear black lead colorful lives.” – Neiman Marcus
Originally published May 2016. Updated June 2017.