What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black

Black is chic, sophisticated, and a classic color that everyone has hanging in their closet. But, let’s face it; black can also be too harsh for some of us, especially as we age. There are lots of colors under the rainbow, but some situations call for a dark color, such as black. So, if you’re wondering what are the best colors to wear instead of black, let’s get started.

You might be wondering why black can be harsh for older women. There are a lot of reasons, and most of them have to do with light. Lighter colors brighten and soften our faces, while black absorbs light and can appear stark against our skin. Fine lines and wrinkles can appear more pronounced, and our skin can even look dull and less vibrant.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Navy

Navy is a great alternative to wearing black. It is sophisticated and a classic color that pairs well with most colors, and it is softer than black. Most people find that wearing navy is flattering and can still be worn in similar ways as black.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Chocolate Brown

Chocolate brown has been a trending color this year and is one that I’ve embraced. This deep rich color looks luxurious, and I’m a HUGE fan of it. The color is softer than black and, in most cases, can be worn instead of black for most occasions.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Charcoal Gray

Charcoal gray is softer than black, but darker than a traditional gray. It has all the perks of wearing black but is much softer looking against your skin.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Wine or Burgundy

Wine, or burgundy, is one of my favorite colors. The richness of this color is a great way to add color to your wardrobe. This color is warm in comparison to black, and most people find it an easy color to wear.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Olive Green

Olive green is a fantastic neutral, and is a great alternative to wearing black. It goes with almost everything and looks especially great with navy or camel. Olive green is a color I’ve only recently added to my wardrobe, and I wish I had added it sooner.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Dark Purple

Purple or Eggplant might not be a color you think of when trying to find an alternative to wearing black. However, purple is a regal color and the color of royalty. It can add all the drama of black without the harshness.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – By Haircolor and Skintone

A lot of ladies have asked about those with gray, or graying hair. Cool tones work well with gray hair. Try shades like cool blues, greens, and purples. These colors can harmonize with the cool tones in gray hair. Also, neutral colors such as charcoal gray, navy, and cool browns can work. Basically, avoid warm colors which might make your hair look brassy.

  1. Navy Blue:
    • Suitability: Flatters most skin tones.
    • Hair Colors: Complements various hair colors, including blonde, brunette, and red.
  2. Chocolate Brown:
    • Suitability: Generally looks good on warm and neutral skin tones.
    • Hair Colors: Complements brown and warm-toned hair colors.
  3. Charcoal Gray:
    • Suitability: Suitable for most skin tones, providing a softer alternative to black.
    • Hair Colors: Works well with a range of hair colors, including black, brown, and blonde.
  4. Burgundy or Wine:
    • Suitability: Can complement warm undertones in the skin.
    • Hair Colors: Particularly flattering on individuals with warm-toned hair, such as red or chestnut.
  5. Olive Green:
    • Suitability: Complements a variety of skin tones, especially those with warm undertones.
    • Hair Colors: Looks good with various hair colors, including brown and auburn. Blonde individuals with warm undertones can also pull off olive green, particularly in muted or toned-down shades.
  6. Dark Purple:
    • Suitability: Flatters a variety of skin tones, especially those with cool undertones.
    • Hair Colors: Looks striking with dark hair colors, including black and deep brown.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Funerals

When it comes to funerals, black is usually the color most often worn. However, colors such as charcoal gray, navy blue, or deep purple are also considered appropriate alternatives. Funerals can vary from person to person or from culture to culture. I’ve been to a few funerals where everyone was wearing jeans which were requested by the family. Unless stated otherwise, you should always dress in a respectful manner and stay clear of bright colors or prints.

What Are The Best Colors To Wear Instead Of Black – Black Tie and Formal Events

For a black tie event, the dress code is formal evening wear. That means women usually wear long gowns and dark colors, or black is usually the classic choice. You can wear darker colors such as navy, deep burgundy, etc., but they need to be dressy and elegant.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post on the best colors to wear instead of black. Be sure to leave a comment to let me know your thoughts.

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86 Comments

  1. I really like this site. You are so classy and pretty. The suggested outfits help to build an on trend wardrobe. Thanks so much.

  2. Love all these colors and of course, black also

  3. Lori Gorenflo says:

    Great ideas for color choices instead of black. I love navy and gray and wear them a lot as well. Thanks for the tips.

  4. I love all the outfits you showed today. your alternatives to black were amazing!

  5. Navy and gray are two of my go-to colors! I love your styles too!

  6. The navy and chocolate brown are rich colors that I’d like to try.

  7. Kathy Benshoof says:

    Good post on color, skin tone and hair color. Keep on staying black is not for everyone. Maybe take the color of the season (Pantone color) to discuss how different shades and tints can work best for various skin tones and hair color.

  8. I love black but your navy outfit is gorgeous! Great ideas!

  9. sue ann koren says:

    I love wearing navy instead of black – way less harsh looking

  10. Pam Bowling says:

    I do love black, but navy, chocolate brown, and charcoal are also at the top of my list of colors I enjoy wearing. Purple is my favorite color though. I love the purple ombré vest on you. You looked great in all the options.

  11. Roberta Schwandner says:

    I do like black for clothing but I do like the color options you are showing.

  12. Great post. I especially love the Ann Taylor navy outfit. It’s my favorite.

  13. Anita Douglas says:

    All these outfits are cute and practical for both retired and working. Love the navy, as it’s as rich looking as black.🥰👍

  14. Navy has become my main base color for all seasons instead of black. Yes, I wear some black, but navy is much more versatile. It’s great with white, turquoise, pastels in the summer. In winter it works much better with jewel tones like emerald and magenta. And just as flattering as black.

  15. Thanks for the good advice. I love the dress featured in the first photo. Do you have info for it?

    1. Pat, that was a photo from last summer. That shirtdress was from Banana Republic factory. I hope they have it again this year.

  16. So glad Lucy Lu is doing well! My senior dog has had to go through the teeth cleaning a couple of times, and it is not fun for me or her!
    Love all these colors! I love chocolate brown, but have had trouble finding chocolate brown tops and sweaters. Thank you for the Quince link!

  17. Ginger Hiller says:

    Due to my very fair complexion and very light hair color, I try not to wear black close to my face. Olive green is another color I avoid. I like all of the other colors you shared. I’m glad Lucy Lou is doing okay. Fortunately, Cash loves having us brush his teeth at 10 months old.

  18. Jenniffer Groski says:

    I love olive and dark purple!

  19. Julie Lozano says:

    Love the charcoal gray! You look fab in navy as well. Great ideas! I’m glad the puppy is home doing well. 😀

  20. Alexia Maben says:

    Usually dark colors with cool under tones are good for fair pink skin. You gave some good colors just have to experiment.

  21. Gardeningmama says:

    Love all these black alternates – I’d add a dark emerald green as well 🙂

  22. Stella Gustafson says:

    I really like the navy plaid pants and most of the colors I have worn, but I don’t think I’ve ever worn an olive green

  23. Great suggestions! I love wearing navy as an alternative to black.

  24. Way to go Lucy! My girls love black but it’s not my favorite. Love the suggestions.

  25. Many great options. I have recently been very attracted to navy and burgundy. Lucy reminds me a great deal of the little yorkie that we had. She also had to have some dental work when she was fairly old. The vet thought she needed to have to some teeth extracted but ended up only needing to give them a good cleaning. She looked like she had dentures when we brought her home because her teeth were so white.

  26. wondering if you would consider including Grey and white in hair colors when suggesting colors that compliment a woman.

    1. Margaret, Cool tones can work well with gray hair. Try shades like cool blues, greens, and purples. These colors can harmonize with the cool tones in gray hair. Also, neutral colors such as charcoal gray, navy, and cool browns can work. Basically, avoid warm colors which might make your hair look brassy.

  27. Phyllis Martin says:

    This post was very well done.

  28. What about grey/white hair. I tend to be of a neutral color.

    1. Mitzie, Cool tones can work well with gray hair. Try shades like cool blues, greens, and purples. These colors can harmonize with the cool tones in gray hair. Also, neutral colors such as charcoal gray, navy, and cool browns can work. Basically, avoid warm colors which might make your hair look brassy.

  29. Laura Garrett says:

    I wear all these colors except chocolate brown. It just doesn’t work with my salt n pepper hair and cool skin tone. You look stunning in all of them!

    1. A cool brown might work for you instead.

  30. Rhonda K. says:

    love the colors! you look fabulous!

  31. All great alternatives.

  32. Marilyn L Comstock says:

    We had a family request bright cheery colors to be worn at their father’s funeral. It was a celebration of his life in Jesus!

  33. Thanks for the great color choices. I love navy as an alternative to black and the burgundy as well. I like them with my silver hair. Love your posts!

  34. Thanks for the great color choices. I love navy as an alternative to black and the burgundy as well. I like them with my silver hair. When I do wear black next to my face
    I try to wear a red lipstick. Love your posts!

  35. Linda michaelis says:

    So very happy to hear Lucy is doing well!
    ❤️🐾🐾❤️
    I’m not sure which colors will work for me-I have silver(with white and gray mixed in) hair. I think if I go with the cool tones, that would be navy or gray. Do you agree Tania?
    I love your blog, I have learned a bunch!! Thank you!

    1. Linda, yes, cool tones would work best. Cool tones can work well with gray hair. Try shades like cool blues, greens, and purples. These colors can harmonize with the cool tones in gray hair. Also, neutral colors such as charcoal gray, navy, and cool browns can work. Basically, avoid warm colors which might make your hair look brassy.

  36. Black is such a staple but it does get a bit boring. So glad to see these other options. Never considered purple, but I will now! Thanks for sharing!

  37. Mary Kinard says:

    So glad Lucy Lu did well! I always worry when anesthesia is involved
    Also, love these alternatives to wearing black! And you look.so skinny in the picture with the dark purple vest!

  38. Good post. I look best in olive greens and browns. I still wear black in mostly bottoms. Charcoal and navy are also on my closet. Purple is the only color I avoid. However I did find a violet hoodie. The tone is more warm than cool so it looks fine on my warm skin tone.

  39. I have to make an effort to not buy black clothing!! I always gravitate to black everything! You have given us some good choices other than black.

  40. Great info! In the past few years I’ve started wearing more navy blue than black. What colors do you recommend for those of us with white (not gray) hair? I have cool undertones.

    1. Cool tones can work well with gray hair. Try shades like cool blues, greens, and purples. These colors can harmonize with the cool tones in gray hair. Also, neutral colors such as charcoal gray, navy, and cool browns can work. Basically, avoid warm colors which might make your hair look brassy.

  41. Lorelei Almand says:

    Thanks for sharing other choices. I am a 63 year old blonde. Blessed with no grey!! I find black and navy work well but am considering buying others now!

  42. This is a great post. I wear a lot of black tops and will look to adding some navy instead.

  43. NATALIE K says:

    Black probably never was right for me with my porcelain skin tone and Spring coloring but now in my later 50’s it’s diffinately not right for me!!! Thank you for your color suggestions!!!

  44. I love Navy & Wine colors! I also love black but I think navy & wine actually look much better with my skin.

  45. Glad Lucy Lu is recovering. It’s an ordeal. We had the same procedure done on our rescue girl when she was 8, and she did fine ( she’s now 10).

    Could you add ‘gray’ hair to your color recommendations?

    I also find that wearing anything black near my face does me no favors.

    Thanks!

    1. Cool tones can work well with gray hair. Try shades like cool blues, greens, and purples. These colors can harmonize with the cool tones in gray hair. Also, neutral colors such as charcoal gray, navy, and cool browns can work. Basically, avoid warm colors which might make your hair look brassy.

  46. Glad Lucy Lu did well! Love some of these colors. I’m trying to buy less black.

  47. Black has always been me go to, but I find myself wearing more charcoal these days. I’m so happy Miss Lucy did well at the vet! Happy Thursday from rainy Central California❤❤❤

  48. Karrie Knutson says:

    Tania, I have been admiring your hair cut for months. I took your posts to my hairstylist yesterday and had my hair cut. Now I feel updated and current, thanks for the inspiration!
    I really liked the navy, grey and purple outfits. I am noticing how colors work with my skin tones. I no longer wear solid black tops.

    1. Yay!!! I hope you like it. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to it.

  49. Jeri Hoag says:

    I hadn’t considered some of those other color choices. You have opened my eyes and I feel so much confident in myself now.

    Thank you

  50. Happy for Lucy Lu and you! Thanks for all the good information what colors to wear with what hair color. Loved the information.

  51. Linda Shearer says:

    Glad Lucy Lu is doing well. Love your navy outfit.

  52. Maggie Smeltzer says:

    I wore dark olive sweater with muted scarf, black pants and black boots to a visitation and felt very appropriate.
    I have noticed black by my face looking harsh as I age so I try to wear a vest or jean jacket to soften. Glad to know it’s not just me. Hard, cuz black has been a go-to. Thanks for ideas.

    1. Maggie, I didn’t get rid of all my black. I still like it and wear it; this is just for times when I would rather add color.

  53. Linda Lloyd says:

    I have a large collection of black clothing but I’ve recently been making the switch to navy blue which seems to be a bit more flattering now that I’m older. I’m definitely trying not to buy any more black. I also discovered olive green recently too. Actually, you introduced me to green in general which I’ve never worn before and I’m loving it! Midnight blue is very close to black but less harsh. Great blog post today!

    1. You hit the nail on the head, Linda.

  54. I do love black, but I LOVE the olive green!

  55. So glad Lucy Lu is doing well. You are so right about no longer wearing black, but some of those colors do not look good with grey-ing hair-which you don’t have to worry about.

  56. Love the swaps The older I get the more I like colors esp. navy, burgundyand greens

  57. I quit wearing black on top because it is harsh against my face. Thanks for giving these alternatives for the various occasions.

  58. My closet is seeing more and more navy- my favorite color. I have added some burgundy to my wardrobe this year and always get compliments on the color. Have never been a fan of olive green but might try some chocolate brown.

  59. Great information – thanks!

  60. Great post! Glad your fur baby is doing well.

  61. I love the navy plaid pants. I like the sweater and vest combo too. Lucy Lu is precious!! Glad she did great and on the mend.

  62. Joann Czarny says:

    Thank you for this. What color would be best for fair skin and cool brunette with silver highlighlights?

    1. I would go with colors that are universally flattering. I look better in all colors of blue, but that might be because my eyes are blue. You’ll want to stick with colors that complement your cool tones, so you might want to try colors like blues, purples, and cool greens.

  63. Good options.

    Glad Lucy is feeling better

  64. Great post. And, all of these colors look good with black as well.

  65. Thanks for the breakdown of these alternative colors. I never knew that black could be harsh! I used to wear black constantly, it seems, but I’ve added more colors over the years, especially jewel tones – my fave. I’ll always have black essentials, but color is fun! 🩷

  66. Sweet puppy. I’ll remember him and my prayers.

  67. I love the Ann Taylor coatigan

    1. I have it and the mock neck under it on my door. I want to wear it out to dinner on Saturday night.

  68. Susan Mckenzie says:

    I totally love black— always appropriate— but, these outfits look great as a change up!! Thanks!!

  69. I have blue undertones so I don’t where black. As you mentioned, navy blue is an excellent choice for me. I had a beautiful, dark navy blue dress for my father‘s funeral, and it worked perfectly

  70. great ideas! I love navy and charcoal gray especially.

  71. What a great post! It seems some days I look more “wrinkly” than others, but maybe it’s the color I am wearing that day.