Beyond Black

Color According to the Hippie Goth

“I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors was black.”
-Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Black. The silence of this color lets other people fill in the blanks. Black says, “I am not
telling you anything.” People that wear black generally place themselves at a distance. There is a natural separation that occurs. Black can help make one feel inconspicuous. Yet, this color (or lack thereof, depending on whether you define it by light or paint) demands respect. Why do you think so many people in high places of authority wear black: to distinguish themselves from others. In my opinion this is one of the many reasons that Goths wear black. It beckons to be noticed despite it mysteriousness.

Aside from most Goths’ every day wardrobe, the color black is widely used in most cultures. In Western Culture, black is most commonly worn to funerals and to represent a time of mourning. Japan, Thailand, Greece, Mexico and the Tonga are just a few other countries that also have this tradition. This practice can be dated back to the beginning of the Roman Empire. To the Aztecs, black represented war. In Russia, widows will wear black the rest of their lives.

Black shows authority, objectivity and wisdom. Judges and professors also wear black. A symphony orchestra wears black so as to not take the attention off the instruments. It also shows a certain seriousness about the performance. In eastern martial arts, a black belt shows the highest degree of competency. You can see black being worn in most religious sects as well. The color black is also commonly associated with conservatism. Jewish Rabbis, Catholic Priests,some protestant ministers and the Amish can all be seen wearing black.

Even though not all Goths wear black, we can all relate to some of the feelings represented in the color black. Black is not always associated with death, evil, anger, sadness and loneliness, as some non-Goths would like to suggest. Black is impressive, dignified, formal, elegant,
sophisticated and impressive. It can also be related to aggression, fear, the night, anonymity,and remorse. The color black encompasses so much that I can not begin to even expound on it’s depth.

So, can I as a “Goth” safely add color to my wardrobe and still call myself “Goth”? There are different types and subcultures of Goths today. Some wear more color on their person than others do. I like to add any color to what I am wearing. I usually have a black base to it. I will add a colored t-shirt or a patterned shirt underneath something that is solid and black, like a jacket over top. Colored gloves are a great way to add a bit of color too. Shoestrings or the laces and socks are all great ways to add color and even patterns. I love to mix a lot of accessories with color, too. Necklaces, bracelets, rings, hats, scarves; the ways are endless to add just a little touch of personality to what you are wearing. I like to see it as a way for people to see past that mysterious black just a bit so they can see who I am beneath it all. Tattoos are also a great way to add color and expression. Don’t forget your hair! I love to color, add extensions and colorful hair pieces as well.

When all is said and done, what we put on our bodies is only a small reflection of what we are inside as individuals. If we choose not to be colorful in our choice of outerwear, that does not mean that we are always dark and dismal inside. We have convictions. Deep ones. This is one of the characteristics that make us Goth. Ultimately, our inner beauty can be reflected through our self-expression. Some people may not understand this. Some people may even ridicule us for it. This is when we decide to be strong: to stay black when the rest of the world can only see in gray. Remember, it is beyond the black. That is where we want to take them. 

Author: Redd-Sonia-Sauruk

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