There’s a little section of the New York Times’ “New York Today” article in which the paper of record asks an important question: why do New Yorkers love wearing black?
It’s long been, as the Times claims, the city’s unofficial uniform, often seen on Chelsea gallery girls and fashion interns juggling a tower of Starbucks in their arms. The theory as to why New Yorkers are so drawn to black clothing, as my coworker Julianne Escobedo Shepherd points out, can be traced back to the late 1970s and ’80s when Americans began to look to the minimalist clothes of Japanese designers like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto for inspiration. Forward-thinking, powerful, and slimming, black has just stuck.
But I have a different theory as to why my fellow city-dwellers always look like they’re going to a fashionable funeral. It’s because it disguises the fact that this city is absolutely disgusting.
Yes, New York City is a great place to live, and I shouldn’t complain because I truly love this trash island. But it’s also coated in at least two-inches of grime, glitter, and crap at all times. So if you come to visit New York City on a hot summer day in an eyelet, white, Forever 21 minidress, prepare your sweaty self to drop your outfit into your hotel garbage can that very afternoon. And when your daily commute takes place in a splash zone for iced coffee, the lipstick your train buddy is applying en route to work, spit, vomit, whatever the hell is on the subway seat that you think is a total get and you just can’t understand why nobody’s sitting there until you realize it’s soaking wet and covered in pizza grease, melted Gushers, cum, pre-ban Four Loko, blood if it’s a real crazy day, and ground down cigarettes—what do you want to be wearing? (Well, besides a raincoat?)
Black! You want to be wearing black. Because while it won’t save you from the everyday grossness of this charmingly dysfunctional city which so many of us have accepted as normal, a great black outfit will help you disguise your proximity to it, at least until you can change, of course (or don’t change, I’m not judging!) After all, you can’t really see urine on a classic black shift, right? Right?! Seriously, I need to know right now. I have a meeting in an hour.
So when a crazed man who doubles as your daily news source for UFO sightings runs his feces across the front of your t-shirt one morning, just smile, because at least you wore black today, like a good New Yorker. Chic!