Created By: DragonQuestZ on September 9, 2012 Last Edited By: DragonQuestZ on September 18, 2012

Wearing Black Is Cool

Wearing black as a sign of how cool a character is, or wants to be.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Important: This seems to actually cover three tropes: Wearing black to look cool (or at least attempt to), wearing black to show a character is an oddball (like goths or Ian Malcolm of Jurassic Park), and black as an Anti-Hero color (like Blade). Should I split this into those?

Note: Since this doesn't rely on Willing Suspension of Disbelief, this will not be listed under Rule of Cool. It will be listed under The Utterly and Completely Definitive Guide to Cool though.
One of the ways to show a character is cool, or is trying to be cool, is to dress that character largely in black.

Why? Well it could be because black represented evil and danger, but some people think Evil Is Cool. Or it could be because some nonconformists like to wear that color, and others saw those people as cool.

Whatever the reason, black is now often ways to make people look cool, especially black Cool Shades and a black Badass Longcoat.

A Goth or rebellious teen usually dresses in black because of this trope. A Woman in Black often follows this trope. As do The Men in Black.

This is often the reason for the trope Movie Superheroes Wear Black.

A Sister Trope to Black Cloak, Black Bra and Panties, (such clothes being considered sexy), Little Black Dress (a dress that is considered always stylish), Black Swords Are Better.

Compare Purple Is Powerful, Red Is Heroic.

Constrast Woman in White, Man in White.

Please do not list characters that just wear black, and you think are cool.

Examples

  • The character Blade wears all black.
  • This shows up a lot in The Matrix series.

Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • September 9, 2012
    MrRuano
    • The main protagonist of Sword Art Online has his avatar wear black. This especially holds in SAO as he forges a reputation as a cool lone-wolf type rogue who doesn't work with others.
  • September 9, 2012
    acrobox
    I'm surprised we dont have this yet.

    You should also mention that Black is associated with Cool, Bad Boy, Anti Hero archetypes. Especially if its black leather jackets. Like bikers, or Fonzie.

    Also this trope is the origin of the phrase ''X' is the new Black' in order to say something is becoming cool, or replacing something that was once cool.
  • September 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I can't remember if Fonz's jacket was black or brown.
  • September 9, 2012
    acrobox
    hmm, quick google image search brings up images of both black and brown. But because a lot of the show was in black and white anyway it's just 'dark.'
  • September 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Happy Days was always in color.
  • September 9, 2012
    StarValkyrie
    Discworld's Lord Ventinari's coat of arms is a plain sable shield, black on black, which more than once prompts the comments that "you had to admit that the bastard had style". In contrast, his all black clothing is described, not as stylish, but as the clothing of someone who gets dressed in the dark and doesn't want to have to worry about things not matching. Discworld's Guild of Assassins also wear black "on account of style" because an Assassin without style is just an expensive thug.
  • September 9, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Do you have a quote about that last part from one of the books? If so, that would make a great page quote.
  • September 10, 2012
    StarValkyrie
    "Black was what you wore. The night was black and so were you. And black had such style, and an Assassin without style, everyone agreed, was just a highly paid arrogant thug." -- Terry Pratchett's Night Watch
  • September 11, 2012
    Boston
    This makes me think of Jeff Goldblum's character in the second Jurassic Park film. "Chaos theory" was also the new cool back then.
  • September 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ He also wore black in the first film, if I'm not mistaken.
  • September 11, 2012
    LadyJuse
    Would the Men In Black count?
  • September 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^^ You know, I'm not sure Iam Malcom wore black to look cool or quirky. So I don't know if it fits.

    ^ Not sure if it was to look cool, as it came from people reporting men in black. So it looks more like they just happened to wear black.
  • September 11, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Divining intentions is extremely difficult if it's not limited to those explicitly stated. Despite the disclaimer, this is "wears black" + "cool character".
  • September 11, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Well then I guess Ian gets in, as well as the characters in the MIB series.
  • September 11, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Or none of them do because that's not a trope.
  • September 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ You do realize that tropes like Woman In White and Man In White are just as broad and vague?

    Not that we can't tweak this a lot, but just because there are example issues does not mean something isn't a trope.
  • September 12, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Sure, and I also realize that "this other thing is bad too" is not an argument in favor of anything.

    "Example issues" aren't what makes "wears black + cool character" People Sit On Chairs / Not A Trope. There is one example (the Discworld assassin guild) on this page that fits what the description wants to be, which is not "wears black + cool character", which (no matter what) is not a trope under any circumstances.
  • September 12, 2012
    Terabiel
    Would the 11th doctor's insistance that "bowties" and "fezzes" are cool, which he seems to honestly believe and thus believe will make him, in turn, cool, count as a variation on this?
  • September 12, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ 1. I wasn't stating that it was bad. I was stating that those were also vague.

    2. Wearing only one color really isn't without purpose that much in fiction. There is too much cultural symbolism with colors for such clothing setup to be without meaning. So even if it doesn't directly spell out the meaning, there is one more often than not.

    3. There is just one example which spells it out. That does not mean the trope doesn't apply elsewhere.

    ^ No, that's just trying too hard to be cool. This requires wearing all black.

    But on that note, Abby of NCIS doesn't really wear all black, so I'm taking her off the OP.
  • September 12, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In the 2005-06 sitcom Jake In Progress Rick Hollman plays Patrick Van Dorn, a Street Magician/David Blane wannabe who dresses in tight all black outfits to make himself look cool. It doesn't work.
  • September 13, 2012
    acrobox
    Do you think we should just have general color tropes for all the potential things a color can symbolize, and then link certain ones to trope pages if they already exist.
  • September 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ I think Color Motif is that already.
  • September 13, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Thinking about it, this seems to cover three tropes. Wearing all black as a sign of being an oddball (like Ian Malcom), wearing black as an Anti Hero color (like Blade and the good guys in The Matrix*), and wearing black to look cool, which I agree should be directly stated in some way, to avoid confusion.

    * They did have to kill people during their fights.
  • September 13, 2012
    acrobox
    ^^ found it. Actually its Amazing Technicolor Index. specifically for this one Tropes In Black
  • September 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ You wrote "color tropes for all the potential things a color can symbolize", which is what Color Motif is. Those pages are indexes, which merely list tropes about colors, whether or not they symbolize things.

    If that was what you meant though, then nevermind.
  • September 14, 2012
    corruptmalemenace
    This trope is probably why Movie Superheroes Wear Black. It should therefore probably link to that page somehow.
  • September 14, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ So you didn't scan the main post already?
  • September 16, 2012
    Jir
    In The Doomy Adventures Of Irken Doominess a villain named Void pretty much sums this up wearing all black and basically look the coolest, baddest guy out there!
  • September 18, 2012
    GrigorII
    I think that Hell Bent For Leather cover this
  • September 18, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Materials are not colors.
  • September 18, 2012
    DukeOfCool
    Musician Johnny Cash was often referred to as "The Man in Black" specifically because he wore black.
  • September 18, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ This is not just wearing all-black, or I would have listed him already.
  • September 18, 2012
    polarbear2217
    Walter in The Dark Tower.
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