A Case for Black and White Only

Every morning, when I stand bleary-eyed in front of the closet wondering what to wear, I’m overwhelmed by a combination of clashing patterns, out-of-season colors, and dresses saved only for special occasions. There are skirts and shoes I’ve kept around for half a decade that haven’t been worn in nearly as long because they go with approximately one outfit. Facing that closet is a shock to the system pre-caffeine.

But there are also countless items that are black. And white. And black and white. These pieces look the most worn, because I’m always reaching for them. They’re trendy and classic, without any real effort required on my part—a win-win on those early mornings of mere half-consciousness. When I’m shopping and find myself gravitating toward a particularly adorable black-and-white anything, I remind myself that I should be searching for color, not more of what I already have. But I’ve often fantasized about the simplicity of a limited color palette. What if I only had pieces that were black, white, or a combination of the two?

Life would be a lot simpler, that’s for sure.

Minimalism is a beautiful thing. It can be a lifestyle, or simply a style. Either way, the clean lines, a lack of clutter, and a clear mind leave space for creativity and serenity. Adopting the lifestyle takes a serious and disciplined commitment that anyone who needs just a little mess to feel at home isn’t likely to make. But the style is a bit easier to execute. It’s a stretch of the imagination for sure, but a choice of only two always-flattering colors would have its advantages. To take that statement a step further, a solely black-and-white wardrobe would actually open up possibilities.

How could that be? For one, you would never not match. You could play with all sorts of patterns and textures without risk of clashing. Plus, black-and-white patterns literally never go out of style. Trends of bright neons, soft pastels and animal prints may cycle through the seasons, but the yin-yang is a constant.

Think about that yin and yang for a moment, if you’re willing to go on a limb and consider the philosophical aspects of a minimalist wardrobe. These opposite but complementary forces work together as interconnected and interdependent entities that all opposites (like light and dark, hot and cold, life and death) are made up of. Yin—the black representing nighttime—is soft, slow and feminine, while yang—the white representing daytime—is fast, hard and masculine. Black absorbs light, while white reflects it. We use colors to affect our moods when we choose the paint colors in our homes. With black and white, you represent the full spectrum of emotions and characteristics.

Of course, a life without color would be uninspired. Coming back down to earth here, that’s what colorful accessories are for. In fact, the more colorful, the better. You could wear those crazy shoes you bought on a whim. You could pile on the statement necklaces. You could wear your boldest red lipstick. All these colors would pop against your black-and-white uniform. And you could sleep in that much later each morning—because it wouldn’t take you twenty minutes to figure out what to wear. And that is a beautiful thing.

Crazy? Maybe. But most bright ideas are.

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