All Black Everything!

February 22nd, 2013

As you may have picked up from our WIWT features, I’ve been on an all-black kick for a couple months now.

I think it’s a winter thing, or an NYC thing. Either way, it seems that as American #menswear has become more and more European-influenced, guys have been shying away from black in exchange for browns, blues and lighter shades.

Thing is, black is so powerful. It’s classy, edgy, and intriguing, all at the same time. Black can make even the most sophisticated clothing look tough and gritty.

Here’s three looks that I hope will inspire you to get some black-on-black in your rotation.

    1. Casually Tailored


    Mixing tailored and casual pieces is a big part of my style, and often a theme on Articles of Style.

    I love wearing a super formal piece, like this black double-breasted hopsack suit jacket, layered with go-to weekend pieces like a shawl poll-over, black jeans and lace-up boots.


    It’s not all black. The sweater is charcoal, and the overcoat is midnight navy (and black).

    Mixing black with other dark tones is an easy way to add a little depth, while keeping the look dark and mysterious.


    Best part is, a look like this transitions seamlessly to a late night out.


    2. Weekend Layers


    Every shade of black is different, and every fabric has a unique texture.

    Here, for example, the cotton topcoat has a slight sheen, the ribbed sweater is a touch deeper, and the jeans are a dusty faded black.

    Even within the same “color”, there can be interesting contrasts.


    This old cashmere cardigan actually belongs to my girlfriend. She wears it like a housecoat, or at least she used to.

    It’s the same length as this unlined cotton overcoat, making it the perfect cozy liner. The big shawl collar also serves as a built-in scarf.


    Loafers are casual shoes, and a good pair should be very comfortable after you break them in.

    I often find myself slipping-on a pair like this even in the most casual times.


    3. Villain Formal

    09 copy copy

    All black formalwear is awesome. Call it villain chic.

    When everybody’s wearing the old-school white shirt and bowtie, stand out from the crowd in a black turtleneck under a badass dinner jacket.


    The secret here is that this mock-neck “sweater” is actually a spandex-blend workout piece with Uniqlo’s “heattech technology”, probably meant for jogging outdoors.

    Ironically, the fitted torso and fabric sheen make it look formal. It’s also super comfortable and keeps you cool and dry – perfect for a long night of drinking and dancing. Who knew a $9 shirt that comes in a ziplock bag could be so versatile?

    Also, don’t forget the cummerbund! Even if you’re not wearing a traditional dinner shirt, it’s a sleek way to keep the waistline/gut in check.


    Black plain-toe loafs are a great investment.

    A pair like this can be worn for formal events, to the office, or on the weekend.



    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • Kid Icarus

      Look #3 needs some malevolent mustache twirling.

      “Under armor” formalwear? You’re full of surprises, Dan.

    • Jules

      2nd look is totally badass – need to get me some jewelry

    • brian

      The Paul Smith boots are sick, i see you wearing them in a few posts, but cant find them anywhere! Any ideas? Keep doing what you do , this is the only website I stay up on..

    • Dex

      Hey Dan,

      Any tips for cheap watches similar to your MontBlanc? It’s sweet but pretty steep for a college senior like me.


    • Chris

      Hey Dan – long time reader, first time poster. Typically, I try to avoid black, even in winter months. I loved your posts on down vests, especially the burgundy coloured vest. I’ve been using these as layers under suit jackets, over jean jackets, etc and trying to limit the amount of time I wear my ‘boring’ black pea coat.

      While I like the first two looks, I think the last look is a bit much. Is it just me or do the ‘lapels’ (I’m not sure if this is the correct term) on the tux look too pronounced? I love suits with a lapel with the width of 1.5-2″, so perhaps that’s my bias.

      While I’m a huge fan of your kicks, in look 3 I wasn’t feeling ’em. Maybe I’m going old school, but your bass dovers would’ve kicked ass instead.

      My 0.02 as always. Keep inspiring men everywhere with you and your team’s work.


    • Don Pierre

      Post 3: #DressToKill #Epic

    • Elissa

      Excellent. Folk think they can’t wear all black because it’s “boring,” but it’s a simple matter of varying the textures as you stated. I’d personally have fun using this concept with other colors too, not just full black–although black is a safe zone to experiment first (if that made sense).

      Never would’ve guessed the shirt in look #3 was a workout piece. Creative.

    • Kevin

      This post was made for me. I wore a lot of dark colors in high school (not because I was in any sort of cliche, I just wore that), so I have so many black basic items. It actually worked out for me because black is a fantastic base to build from. You can either mix and match blacks (like this), or you can make that “pop of color” really jump out.

      I also really liked the monochromatic post you did a while ago, because if I wasn’t wearing blacks, I was wearing browns and blues. My wardrobe has diversified greatly since then, but it’s good to know my simpler tastes won’t go to waste.

    • Rory

      You can’t beat black. It is badass.

    • Brady

      I have always loved the richness and sophistication of black, but I just don’t feel comfortable/confident in it. Stems from my lack of black footwear, which I can never seem to buy, black shoes just always look too strong for me. Now those black loafers have a more laid back vibe. Could be just the piece I need to get me “back in black” haha. Another killer post, great inspiration Dan!

      • Alex Crawford

        I am in the exact same boat. Working with Dan and shooting this post has got me rethinking black. Now I’m on the prowl for some inexpensive black chelsea boots.

    • stefano


    • Paul

      This is totally making me rethink black. Great job at showing the subtle shifts in tone and texture!

    • CC


      You’re continuing to crush it. I love it. Please drop me an email, I run a bespoke shop in Boston and would love to do something together real soon.


    • John

      Lately, I’m either wearing almost all black (with grey and sometimes a white shirt) or almost nothing black! I think I’ll steal my father’s black db jacket and it’s your fault!

      I like that longer cardigan, it almost looks like a scarf on some shots!

      Also, a uniqlo heattech turtleneck with black tie? Who would have guessed? Ultimate high/low (beats your previous dinner jacket/tank top). Plus, villain chic sounds awesome!

    • Bob

      I really like look #1. That overcoat is beautiful.

    • Vio

      In look no 1: is it ok to put a db coat on top of a db jacket? Aren’t there too many layers around the waist?

      • Dan Trepanier

        Yup. Not in my opinion – they’re both cut fairly trim.

    • Kiel

      Look #2 is so awesome. I always save the pics when you wear that lightweight topcoat. I really like it! In my head, the concept seems so strange—is it like a dark lab coat? Isn’t it silly looking? Feminine? But no, it clearly works really well.

    • http://undefined TimL

      Dan, I love the loafers in look #3.

      What is the string on the jacket in that pic?

      • Dan Trepanier

        Thanks Tim.

        I couldn’t find the toggle-button for the jacket (as describe here) so I just tied it with a silver chain.


    • http://undefined TimL

      Ha, based on your previous posts, I wore all black today.
      Black suit, dress shirt,sweater vest,shoes, sox, undies and overcoat.
      If I had a guitar people would call me Johnny Cash (I’m alot younger-btw).

      I love the casual look.
      I like wearing black sweaters with faded jeans and boots and my peacoat. Great look.