Could black go with anything? Why, or why not?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by The Good, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. The Good

    The Good Call Me a Cab

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    There's been a popular perception in modern fashion that black may go with anything. In particular, could black hats work with any color in a suit, jacket, or coat, plus the pants and footwear? I know that black hats are more commonly worn with dark colors like black itself, and any shade of grey or blue, but what about earth tone colors like browns, tans, or greens? Do you think a black fedora could look good, or at least pass as decent with a taupe suit or sports jacket? I think it would be fine for a mid-grey suit, and I believe overcoats and rain coats could pass regardless of color, as they are usually worn on top of suits or jackets, so it doesn't matter as much if it is beige.
     
  2. job

    job One Too Many

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    I have one black hat that is rarely worn. It looks too dressy. Maybe a thin ribbon would work.
     
  3. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I don't personally care to mix black with earhttones, as a general rule. That said, I'm sure these sorts of things were much more common back in the day, when average folks didn't have the budget for a whole bunch of hats (or, indeed, shoes) for what I'd now think of as coordinating.
     
  4. The Good

    The Good Call Me a Cab

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    Here is another question; could a black fedora acceptably pass in the absence of a homburg with a stroller suit, or even a dinner suit, according to today's standards? I have too few hats to be a strict traditionalist, you see. It's either I buy a black fedora (I would probably wear it with the brim flipped up, as I do my tan Fed IV), or a homburg, and then maybe later I would end up getting the other. Vintage homburgs are hard to come by at a reasonable cost, and Akubra's homburg is a little narrow and turned down at the front and back for my tastes, although it does look nice. I may look into that too, but I am feeling like getting a black fedora first.

    Thank you for the suggestion. I already own two thin ribbon hats, both being pretty identical in color, and by Stetson. They are the modern felt Open Road and a milan straw Stratoliner. Thin ribbons look nice, too, but that isn't exactly what I'm looking for in a black hat, now. I may change my mind, at some time. As for a black hat being too dressy, I'm not very concerned about that, because in a way, that is exactly why I might want to get one. Black certainly appears to be the dressiest color for a hat!

    I always assumed that some did it, although it may not have ever been a prevailing way to go about wearing a black hat. Whether it is considered proper or improper is not as important to me as whether it looks good, or decent enough. However, I am interested in knowing the traditions behind the wearing of black hats, especially concerning the early through mid-20th century. It seems that during the 19th century, black hats were even more commonly worn.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  5. viclip

    viclip Practically Family

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    If you can't swing owning a variety of hats in different colors then I'd suggest procuring a quality gray dress hat with a wide black ribbon. Gray is very versatile & the black ribbon injects a degree of formality.
     
  6. hatsRme

    hatsRme I'll Lock Up

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    Absolutely correct, in my experience. My first (and for many years my only) fedora was gray with the black ribbon. Covered all the colors I was wearing for all those years.
     
  7. alanfgag

    alanfgag

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    A black hat and brown jacket is a good combination in my book. I also like black and tan. The only color I don't wear black with is navy.

    A bigger challenge might be one's hair color. As your hair turns silver, black hats look better and better. I would suggest stocking up now.
     
  8. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

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    +1
     
  9. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    If you're going by the standards of the average folks today, that gives you a lot more leeway.... I'd shy away from anything other than black with black tie (assuming black DJ... I quite like a nice straw with a white DJ in Summer, preferably a boater), but that's a personal choice. A black fedora would do the job admirably until you find a Homberg. Admittedly I've not bought a homberg in a few years, though the last I looked, in common sizes they were available relatively often and significantly cheaper than an equivalent vintage fedora, given same quality and condition. If you're not in a rush, try eBay.


    If you'tre feeling frisky, another alternative is.... the classic beret. When headed to events where a homberg (or, with white tie, the top hat) might be a hassle - nowhere to hang it, no cloak room, or such - I've been known to wear a beret with my evening attire. For me it has that old Hollywood glamour to it, if you carry it off with a rakish swagger. It's less outre with black tie than white tie, but I quitel ike it with either. Your mileage may vary, naturally!
     
  10. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

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    It's Homburg not Homberg. :)
     
  11. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Until recently, I wouldn't have thought brown and black could work well together. Then, on a recent trip to Paris, I visited the Musee des Artes et Metiers, where I became engaged in conversation with two young fellows dressed in the style of 1840's Paris, very Jules Verne. Both had black hair and beards, small black hats, and long coffee-colored coats. Worked perfectly.
     
  12. moehawk

    moehawk I'll Lock Up

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    I personally don't like to mix black with browns, but most any other earthy tone goes well with it. I especially like black with greens.
     
  13. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Black and green work well, yes. Bottle green especially.

    Quite right, my typing fingers were elsewhere in Germany. ;)
     
  14. tropicalbob

    tropicalbob My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    This is true. When I lived in Dublin many years ago I noted combinations of bottle green, maroon or cranberry, and black, and not only in the young and hip, but in the outfits worn by older folks. I've also noted that in Holland you see color combinations not often seen elsewhere: often a dark olive green with a reddish-orange jacket, either leather or corduroy. Nice look.
     
  15. KingAndrew

    KingAndrew A-List Customer

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    I've always seen more colors as "neutral" than most folks. To my eye, anything goes with not just black, but white, navy, khaki, grey, and even maroon. The closest I've ever found to a "clash" with black was Elvis Presley's favorite combination: pink and black. I accepted that as a teenager and now I find black does work with everything.

    If you're confident and comfortable, a "dressy" hat can work with pretty much anything, too. I don't wear my top hat with shorts, but I have worn a black fedora with shorts and it worked. A really nice hat with a very casual outfit can create an interesting sort of vibe, although I try to dress relatively nicely most of the time.

    You're right that black hats were even more popular in the 19th Century. But of course, in those days, nearly everything a man wore was often black, excepting his shirt. Many young people today approach that same monochromatic palette, although with a very different silhouette. I've known many people who have a sort of a Model T "any color as long as it's black" look. Makes it easy to put together a matching outfit.
     
  16. Joao Encarnado

    Joao Encarnado I'll Lock Up

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    I used to wear black jeans, black leather jacket and a white t-shirt but at that time I didn't wear a hat...
     
  17. scottcw

    scottcw New in Town

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    Black with brown is very YSL ca. 1970s.

    Personally, I think of black as a "lazy" color. It doesn't require an eye for complementary colors so just throw it with anything. It has a place, but I find it overused in mostly cliche ways.
     
  18. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

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    I've only recently landed a black hat that I really like and that I think looks good on me. If I can, I like to contrast hat color to coat/shirt color. Certainly a black fedora goes well with a brown leather jacket. If I wore the black hat with my black overcoat, that might be too much darkness.

    Black hat/white shirt: maybe too sharp a contrast for somebody with brown hair and beard. And I'm not going to wear a yellow shirt with a black hat. But black hat/blue shirt, or gray shirt, or various shades of red would be okay. Come to think of it, I have a deep red-colored windbreaker that would really look sharp with the black fedora. . . .
     
  19. The Good

    The Good Call Me a Cab

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    Regarding a black hat, I finally ended up buying this very nice black Knox Twenty Homburg on ebay. When do you think it is dated, which decade? I decided against buying a modern Akubra Homburg, compared to this one.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/121536130741

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  20. bluesmandan

    bluesmandan A-List Customer

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    I have a particular straw hat with multiple hatbands for that reason. Instead of changing hats, just change the hatband. It's not integral to the structure of the hat; it's just cosmetic, so it can be swapped out for any color or style you want. A black hat might not go with everything, but a tan or taupe hat with multiple hatbands will just about go with anything, or at least your options are expanded.
     

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