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All Dressed in Black (part 1)

BlogBeauty Student Advice, Beauty Tips | January 30, 2014

Black. Everywhere. If you are a stylist at a salon with a dress code like mine, you have it too. The Black Plague and it’s contagious.  I am sure that I began my hair career with just a few basic black pieces to get me through a work week. Now, just a few years later, black shirts and pants and dresses and sweaters and vests that seem to multiply like rabbits, have laid claim to precious closet, dresser, and shelf space.

Does your closet look like this?

My salon requires solid black and/or white attire on most days, black and white patterned clothing on one glorious day (Fridays), and salon logo t-shirts with black or white pants on the weekend. Black seems to be the color of choice for most salon required dress codes. The color black has long been associated with professionalism and sophistication. I don’t think anyone remembers who determined it, but that person, I would like to meet. Perhaps I can suggest a more cheery alternative, like a sunshine yellow or grassy green. I think, however, there is no trumping tradition. So, I surrender, and adorn myself daily in the color of mourning. What’s a cosmetologist to do?


(I should give a small disclaimer before continuing. I do actually like the color black. If it wasn’t for the necessity of black, I think I would enjoy it more often, but I am contrary and as soon as I am told that I must, I begin to think I’d rather not. )

And so, for the benefit of anyone shopping around for a salon and tempted to make career decisions based on dress code, I give you the Benefits of Black Clothing:

  • While it is helpless against bleach, Black hides most hair color mistakes better than any other fabric color. With staining in mind, the only thing better than wearing black to work would be to create a custom tie-dyed outfit in a confection of browns and reds and blacks. After that mental picture, black is looking better and better…. P.S.: if you suffer from frequent run-ins with bleach, try a sharpie or the darkest hair color you can find in your salon. It almost, kinda, sorta works.
  • Everyone can wear it. Technically, everyone can wear lime green or neon pink, but black actually looks good on everyone. If you know of any exceptions, I’m willing to be wrong, but on the average, black is very flattering and slimming.
  • Getting dressed is a breeze. Really. I get up in the morning and put on something black with something black, and if I’m really feeling gutsy, I pair it with….Something Black! And…Pow! I’m ready for work in a cinch. When I get to work, my clients compliment me on my fashion sense, while I chuckle under my breath because I know that I got dressed in the last 60 seconds before walking to my car. Thereby, you do less work and look cooler.
  • You will have no difficulty finding it in any store! Black is easy because I don’t need to think about having the right shade or tone of it. I can remember a few years back when my salon allowed “charcoal grey” as a wardrobe addition. But it had to be “charcoal”. Not rainy day grey, or basement grey, or granny grey, but “Charcoal”. That dress code change was tossed out before I could even find anything in that exact shade of “not to black but not too white” grey. Black keeps my shopping simple.
  • You keep your clients guessing. I can’t count how many times clients, after years of knowing me, have finally gotten up the courage to comment on my obsession with black clothing. I laugh every time someone doesn’t realize that I am under a dress code and not as punk rock on the inside as I look.

These are just a few of the reasons I have chosen to make peace with my monochromatic life. Stay tuned for a few tips to spice up your dress code drab.

Leah Perlman

Written by Leah Perlman

Leah is an Empire graduate who has been in the industry for 7 years. She has worked at The Bell Tower Salon and Spa in Wyomissing, PA for 6 years . She serves on the salon's education team and is involved in planning and educating for their stylists-in-training program.


  • Lucy says:

    Wrong. Black is not flattering on a lot of people including myself. The only people who believe EVERYONE looks good in black are the people who look good in black! And I don’t trust anyone who calls themself an artist and wears black!

  • Stephany says:

    I really liked your article and I totally agree, so much in fact that my closet is the mega-obsessed version of the closet pictures above. I removed most of the colors and placed them in dressers in another room. But it DOES make everything so much simpler and effortless. So many times the monochromatic life has saved me headaches I dealt with in my multicolored days… I get tons of compliments & my ‘black & white required’ isn’t so bad.

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