Black is a very popular colour for clothing. This is not surprising as black tends do have a slimming effect because, being a dark colour, it recedes. It’s also a good colour for not showing dirt. Black is popular both in fashion and in the boardroom where it carries connotations of strength and power. Manufacturers of cheap clothing tend to favour black because it doesn’t look as tacky as white when the fabric isn’t particularly good quality. In fact, the only noticeable drawback of black garments is that they are inclined to fade.
Black garments made from synthetic fibres like polyester do not tend to fade the way natural fabrics like silk, cotton and linen do but these synthetics are also hot and scratchy, and unlike natural fibres, do not absorb moisture and allow the skin to breathe. I prefer my black clothes to be made from natural fabrics any day of the week in spite of the extra effort it takes to stop them from fading. I have not found re-dying my faded black clothes not to be an option for reasons I won’t go into here, so the only other choice is to take extra special care when washing and drying them.
Before washing black garments, read the wash care label carefully. Most black fabrics need to be washed in cold water and you may want to wash them on a gentle cycle if you are using a washing machine. Turn each item inside out before putting it into the wash and use a washing powder or liquid specially formulated for dark colours. You can also try adding a little vinegar to the water as it can help to stop the dye from leaching out.
If you have black garments that are part of a suit or a matched outfit, you should always wash or have the pieces dry-cleaned together so that you do not end up with one piece lighter than the other. Naturally, you should only wash dark colours together to prevent them from staining lighter-coloured garments.
Try to avoid drying black clothing in an automatic dryer as this accelerates the fading process, and when you hang your clothes outside to dry, hang them in the shade, not in direct sunlight, to prevent fading.