I could claim some sort of op-art influence on my affinity for dressing in pure black and white, but as you have no doubt learned about me by now I use this forum for the dissemination of truth, not as a virtual chamber of lies and insincerities. I am old enough to have grown up with a black and white TV in my bedroom at the foot of my bed; one that looked much like this:
So I do have a particular fondness for the stark contrast one gets on a classic black and white set. Couple that with some nice static and you wind up with a world that is both bold and alien. Forget the other end of the spectrum — those heavenly 80s fluorescents (because there is plenty of time for that). When I would watch TV in black and white I would just see a screen of graphics; pure graphics. If I became absorbed in what I was watching (maybe Wonder Woman, maybe Space 1999) I would have to let my imagination fill in the colors, and my brain would see something very different from what my eyes saw. Perhaps saying that I would have to let my imagination do anything is a mischaracterization; that part was just automatic. It isn't that far removed from another aspect of pure black and white: it is reminiscent of good old print. Nothing is more vivid than a well-written page, printed in black ink on a white page. Philosophically, I am really gung-ho for black and white.
Ok, perhaps that did diverge a bit from wearing black and white. (How many times have I written "black and white?" A lot, I bet.) Let me try to reel this in a bit and just make some sort of list of something or another:
Wearing all black and white implies a certain level of class and sophistication, not necessarily intrinsically, but by referring back to black and white films. Watch the New Year's Eve/Engagement party scene in Holiday, and tell me that those people aren't dressed to the nines. Now watch any film from the black and white era and tell me that those people don't look good. Even the Charlie Chaplin hobos. The contrast between black and white provides such clean lines that you can't help but notice. Clean lines are sharp.
When you wear all black, you have to make sure everything is equally black; any variation from true black is evident when put against any other variation of black. A really dark warm grey next to a really dark cool grey will smack you right in the eyeballs. That can work for you, but you can't do it all willy nilly or you will just look sloppy and bumbling. The same is true of whites. Of course if you wear both, the contrast of the black and the white overshadows any small variations and you can get away with a lot more. (Murder? Maybe not, but at least manslaughter.)
When your color scheme is strong and coherent, pattern becomes your pal, your buddy, your bitch. You can throw as many together as you want. Of course this is really true of ANY simple and coherent color scheme, but black and white gives you essentially unlimited latitude. Weak-minded people have said things like, "You can't mix stripes and polkadots." I (with my large brain) say poppycock and fiddle-faddle! Throw in the checks too, if you want. If you really want to you can totally redefine the shape of your body with your patterns. This is especially handy for evading predators. Ask a zebra or a panda or a fresh water angelfish. I am actually an endomorph, measuring 5'2" and weighing in at 247 lbs, but you would never know it.
Why are my arms this hairy? Stupid Eastern European genes. At least they left me with a proclivity towards beets. (Bonus tip: No beets while wearing white, if you know what's good for you.)
Just guess what I might be hiding under that outfit.
Coming soon: Underpants and why come we can't wear a bathing suit under our clothes instead.