A History Of Women Who Love To Wear Black

Photo: Alex Lentati/REX USA.
Some people wear black because it's flattering, matches everything, or because it conveniently hides spilled coffee and hot sauce. For others, black is more than a color — it's a lifestyle, and nothing but the inkiest hue will do. Black is as much a part of their style DNA as bangs were to Bettie Page, or pearls to Coco. Is it a coincidence that these women who choose to deck their closets in noir are a little offbeat, a little badass, a little dangerous? We think not.
In honor of the witchiest month of the year, we pay tribute to 15 women (real and fictional) who, as Lil' Kim might say, "dressed in all black like The Omen," and looked scary good doing it.
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Photo: REX USA.
Louise Brooks
The silent film star played the title character in G.W. Pabst's Pandora's Box as a devil-may-care hussy who brought ruin to the men and women who loved her. (It's a must-see, in case you couldn't tell.) Her all-black wardrobe, often dramatized with Coco Chanel-esque single strands of pearls; her sleek, black bob; and the best skinny brows of the silent film era made her a timeless icon of chic.
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Photo: David X Prutting/BFA.
Rei Kawakubo
The visionary behind Comme des Garçons made black for daytime a thing, deconstruction the coolest word in fashion, and, for a brief shining moment, a Quasimodo hump cool. Her signature razor-sharp bob and androgynous, all-black outfits befit the avant-garde's reigning queen.
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
Norma Kamali
The iconic American designer once explained to Andre Leon Talley that, "We experience all of life's big events in the little black dress." And, she's created so many of them in her lifetime, usually with her signature athletic-with-a-wink aesthetic.

(By the way, you can read tons more about why Norma lives in black in Refinery29's new book Style Stalking — Pre-order your copy here.)
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Photo: Peter Brooker/REX USA.
Morticia Addams
Morticia Addams — especially as played by Anjelica Huston — is that rarest of things: A movie mom with a life of her own. So what if it's creepy, kooky, and somewhat spooky? She loves her life, whether she's trimming roses in her conservatory, tango-ing with Gomez, or, uh, doing other stuff with Gomez, Morticia shows how black glitter gowns are done.
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Photo: REX USA.
Angelina Jolie
Jolie has earned herself a reputation for being an overachiever, so naturally she's fashioned herself a uniform that can keep up. And, that's exactly as she described it to Vogue back in 2010 when she called her mostly monochrome wardrobe "utilitarian" and "practical" — a philosophy she gamely applies to the red carpet with the minor tweak of thigh-high slits.
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Photo: Alex Lentati/REX USA.
Grace Coddington
It would be wrong to assume that the ravishing redhead is dressed all in black because it's en vogue. In fact, Coddington once explained that her favoritism toward the hue is because she thinks of it as a "clean palate," a way to begin at a very unfussy place and then go on to immerse herself in her work without having to worry about anything else. And, as far as we can tell, that's going pretty well for her so far.
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Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
Marianne Faithfull
Marianne's real-life wardrobe ran the gamut of gamine, mod style. But, in 1968 film The Girl on a Motorcycle (known in some countries as Naked Under Leather), she makes the best case for the black-leather catsuit since Diana Rigg.

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Photo: REX USA.
Kim Kardashian
Long before she and Kanye wore coordinating black-and-white Givenchy suits to Paris Fashion Week, the most famous of the Kardashians was well versed in wearing the timeless shade. Any peek into her sartorial past will reveal that Kim has often worn the color in daring, sexy, and unexpected ways — for better or faux pas.
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Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images.
Siouxsie Sioux
First known as part of the Sex Pistols' entourage (or hangers-on), Siouxsie went from Bromley Contingent babe to the high priestess of punky, goth girls with liquid liner habits everywhere. May her hair always be high, and her bondage pants always black.

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Photo: Miyelle Karmi/REX USA.
Kate Lanphear
Former style director at T Magazine, Lanphear surprised us all when she announced that she'll become the next editor-in-chief at Maxim. As long as she sticks to her longtime wardrobe of black skinnies, dramatic coats, and badass boots, we think we'll adjust to the shock.

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Photo: REX USA.
Audrey Hepburn
Black may not have been the only color Hepburn's made memorable appearances in, but what's better than that Breakfast at Tiffany's Givenchy LBD and her beatnik dance scene in Funny Face?
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Diane Pernet
When you encounter this former designer and editor in the wild, there's no mistaking who she is. You'll know her by her uniform of mantilla veil, cat-eye sunnies, and complete lack of color. She's a true proponent and visionary when it comes to the all-black philosophy of dress, and proof that major creativity can come from the simplest choices.
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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Brothers.
Lydia Deetz
Few fictional teenagers have had the hat or fringy-bangs game of the dark and broody Deetz, famously played by Winona Ryder. While she nearly married Beetlejuice in a lush, red creation — not her call, we're sure — black was really the shade that spoke to her soul. "My whole life is a dark room. One big dark room," said our angst muse. And, frankly, no one decorated it better than her.
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Photo: Richard Young/REX USA.
Daphne Guinness
The inimitable Ms. Guiness, ever cloaked in rubber, lacy, strappy black finery. With a penchant for wasp waists and alien-looking platforms, she's like a Giger drawing come to life. All hail the mistress of fashion's dark side!
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Photo: Clint Spaulding/PMC.
Aila Wang
A deep love of all black everything started young for NYFW's most famous tyke attendee, seen here in 2011. But, what else would you expect from Alexander Wang's niece?
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Photo: Courtesy of Style Stalking.
Read more about the all-black-everything lifestyle in Refinery29's new book Style Stalking! Pre-order your copy right here.

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