Wellington, what's with all the black?

ANNA FERRICK AND SELINA POWELL
Last updated 05:00 11/09/2012
Opinion poll

Do Wellingtonians wear too much black?

Yes. We are too dreary.

Sometimes, especially in winter

No. Black is cool.

Vote Result

Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson believes far too many Wellingtonians wear too much black.

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It takes only a single glance up and down Lambton Quay at lunchtime on a weekday to see what people mean about boring black dressers. They're everywhere.

Following a letter to the editor last week addressing the lack of colour in Wellingtonians' wardrobes, we again posed the question: it's great for the All Blacks, but why so much everyday black?

Suits are a big contributor to the sombre scene, but women are equally guilty as they don black dresses, skirts, shirts and jackets as a sort of uniform for the working week.

A Wellington retail assistant, who wished to remain anonymous, says Wellingtonians are just being boring.

“Customers are afraid of colour, they don't trust our advice when it comes to buying colour. Black is so easy, I guess.

“We have really mixed reactions to our summer ranges. If I'm wearing a really bright piece in store, the most common question I get asked is ‘does that come in black?' ”

Bryan Smith, fashion manager at Farmers in Cuba St, says black is deeply ingrained in the roots of the city.

“Everything is staple black in Wellington, and it pervades into the summer months too. Black is safe, I guess, when it comes to formal or business wear.

"I think a lot of it is to do with feeling part of the Wellington scene. We cater for such a wide audience, though it pays to cover a range of colour options.”

Cinnamon Green, who works for Wellington fashion label Starfish, said even though the city was known for its love of black, that was changing.

"In the past we've definitely had a demand for black but . . . last summer our customer feedback was that they wanted more colour, so this season that's exactly what we've delivered.”

Wendy Croskery, manager at Harry's boutique in Seatoun, thinks the corporate nature of Wellington, combined with the flattering, slimming factor associated with black clothing, means women tend towards wearing it.

"We try to ease women into colour. Starting with a colourful scarf or something like that."

Colour is something Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown tries to incorporate into her wardrobe as much as possible.

"Personally, I've moved away from black and I'd love to see a bit more colour on the streets, but I still love to wear my grandmother's black velvet dress."

Wellingtonian Michael Dawson, who wrote the letter to the editor in question, says he cannot understand the attraction of black.

“It's just so drab . . . Everyone wears it, even in shopping malls on a Saturday.

"I prefer browns, greens, I've even got some purple. Purple that's suitable for a man, though."

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- The Dominion Post

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