Men’s All-Black Outfit Inspiration: 16 Slick Looks For 2023
All-black outfits are edgy and surprisingly versatile, but get it wrong and you can look like you're going to a funeral.
In some ways, wearing all black shouldn’t be that interesting. It’s a look defined by the absence of colour, after all, and yet it comes with bags of attitude. Whether it’s the associations with rock ‘n’ roll, movie villains or the Paris Left Bank in the 60s, an all-black outfit is one of rebellion. It’s Johnny Cash. It’s Vincent Vega. Hell, it’s Darth Vader, Batman, ninjas and black-ops units.
The fact that it’s incredibly easy also helps. You can throw on an all-black look and wear it virtually anywhere. You don’t have to worry about over- or under-dressing if you’re wearing a blackout fit – it’s versatile and flattering in a whole week’s worth of social scenarios.
But, as always, there are some pointers worth considering. You don’t want to look too severe, and all black can easily fall into funeral or comedy goth territory if you’re not careful. So let’s shine a light on this darkest of dress codes.
How to wear all black
Experiment with fit
Eliminating colour from your look gives you all the more reason to think outside the box in other ways. All black doesn’t have to mean boring, especially if you experiment with your silhouette and opt for a relaxed feel. Try, for example, a wide-legged pair of black trousers combined with an oversized T-shirt and boxy Harrington jacket. Or a chunky turtleneck paired with black jeans and commando sole Derbies.
It’s tempting to opt for punkish skinny fits but going for clothes cut in more relaxed silhouettes will give an all-black outfit more of a directional edge. It’ll also be comfortable, meaning you can put them on and forget all about them.
Play with texture
This rule is true any time you limit your palette to a single colour: you need texture. Black especially can make certain fabrics, like plain cotton and poplin, look flat or even dull, so mixing things up adds depth and contrast to your look.
This is where black winter layers come into their own. Prioritise fabrics that add some interest, such as lambswool, leather, cotton twill, suede, corduroy and denim. Start by combining three of them: black denim jeans with a lambswool roll neck and a cotton twill work shirt, for example. Layered, considered and comfortable.
Keep it simple
Yes, there’s a need to mix your materials, but there’s no need to overcomplicate things. One of the benefits of wearing black is its ease, so having some simple outfit combos in the bank will take the stress out of dressing.
A minimal fit consisting of all black is one of the easiest ways to look good. Simply combine a black T-shirt with black jeans and Converse All Stars and you’ve got a timeless outfit that’ll work as well for a first date as it would a trip to the pub with your mates.
If you’re going down this route, pay attention to detail and fit. Ensure your T-shirt fits correctly and your jeans aren’t too skinny and you’ll be pretty much there.
Be careful with tailoring
All black might be easy to incorporate into your casual wardrobe, but when it comes to the formal end of the spectrum things get trickier. Black tailoring, aside from the tuxedo, has always been associated with funerals, so be wary of looking too sombre if you’ve got your eye on a black suit.
Sure, plenty of style icons have worn them with panache, including Marcello Mastroianni and the cast of Reservoir Dogs, but it’s not simple. You can’t just throw on any old black suit and strut in slow motion down the street. Too often, guys look like waiting staff or doormen.
One way to make it work is to go unstructured. A soft-shoulder, Italian-style black suit can work, especially when it’s cut in a textured fabric such as herringbone wool or cotton-linen. It’s also worth avoiding white shirts and anything that contrasts too heavily with the black of the suit. Instead, go full Bond villain by combining it with a turtleneck and penny loafers.
All black outfits for men
All black smart casual
Black on black is well suited to smart casual attire. Sleek and sophisticated, it will see you through all manner of social situations. Combine a turtleneck with a black overcoat, slim black jeans and quality boots and you’re ready for after work drinks, a first date, a weekend walk or anything in between.
Minimal all black
All-black looks are often best when they’re kept minimal. For a simple, versatile all-black outfit try combining a black roll neck with an overshirt, slim-fit trousers and minimal sneakers – it’s ideal for times when you want to look good without making too much of a statement.
T-shirt and jeans
A white T-shirt and blue jeans might be more classic, but the black-on-black alternative has a certain edge to it, giving it a completely different feel. Perfect for club nights out, this combination is flattering for most body types – just ensure the fit of the T-shirt and jeans isn’t too slim.
(Nearly) all black tailoring
As we’ve mentioned, black suits can look particularly sombre. Dark grey or charcoal on the other hand is less severe and for the most part, far easier to wear. A dark grey double-breasted suit, worn with a black roll neck and black Chelsea boots is perhaps the most stylish – and quietly rock ‘n’ roll – way to wear monochrome tailoring.
Tailoring without the blazer
Another way to wear all-black tailoring is to skip the blazer. Combine tailored suit trousers with a black merino wool turtleneck, a black overcoat and leather loafers. It’s a seriously sharp look, but one that doesn’t look as though you’ve just left a wake.
All black with pattern
We’re bending the rules here but all-black outfits are sometimes improved by incorporating some form of pattern. This base look is made up of black tailored trousers, a roll neck and black boots, but it’s elevated by the monochromatic check pattern of the overshirt. We’ve said it before: details matter.
Rock ’n’ roll inspired all black
If you want to incorporate a leather jacket into your wardrobe (and you should), wearing it as part of an all-black look is often the easiest way. Turn to the Ramones for inspiration and wear a leather biker jacket with black jeans or trousers and Chelsea boots or high tops. Too easy, too good.
All black sportswear
Sportswear tends to feature big logos and plenty of colour, so scaling things back with an all-black take is a refreshing approach. This monochromatic look combines a black blouson jacket with slim-fitting sweatpants and a T-shirt, making it perfect for wearing out and about at the weekend.
Vintage inspired all black
The 50s and 60s were some of the most stylish decades in menswear. If you’re tempted to throw it back to the mid-century, doing so with black is a smart move. Borrow from the Teddy Boys and combine penny loafers with tailored trousers and a tucked-in tee, then finish with a leather blouson jacket. The slicked back quiff is optional.
All black motorcycle jacket
You don’t need a bike to look good in a motorcycle jacket (just ask Jeff Goldblum). The multi-pocketed design is as stylish as it is functional, and works with similarly rugged clothing, although it can also be smartened up slightly with black jeans, monk-strap shoes and a black roll neck.
All black casual layering
An easy way to look good in black is to layer up. Only wearing one shade has its limitations when it comes to creativity, so try introducing a variety of textures like in this look – leather (jacket and boots), twill (chinos) and cotton (shirt) – which combine to create a sense of depth and visual contrast.
All black smart layering
The same effect can be had with smarter clothing. For a sharp, office-ready look, start with a black jeans and roll neck foundation, before building with a quilted vest and then a black pea coat or overcoat.
Mixing up smart casual
It’s easy to fall into a rut with smart casual outfits by combining the same few garments time and time again. Why not switch it up and add a piece usually reserved for the weekend? Start with a base consisting of charcoal trousers and a black shirt before throwing on a leather jacket, giving the look a more contemporary edge.
Black knitwear can look a little flat, especially if it’s in a thin merino wool or cotton-blend fabric. For a change of scene, a heavyweight, textured cardigan might give you the inspiration you need – pair it with black jeans and a polo shirt for a spring look with a difference.
Easy and edgy
Does getting dressed get much easier or masculine than this? Three staple pieces – black jeans, black tee, black leather biker – combine with a rugged pair of black leather lace-up boots to create an outfit any man can pull off with very little thought.
Effortlessly cool, the only thing you need to consider is fit: keep it slim but not tight and let the dark shades hide any imperfections.
Playing with proportions
Everyone has heard the old adage about black being slimming. And it’s true, darker shades will conceal a multitude of sins. However, this also makes black ideal when you want to try a new shape or silhouette, such as wide-leg trousers. Here, the pants are kept loose and breezy but don’t appear comical as black negates the effect somewhat.
The slightly cropped cut (cleverly matched with high-top sneakers), combined with a heavy charcoal overshirt, also ensures the trousers don’t dominate the outfit. Throw on a contrast beanie to keep the attention up top and you have a textbook example of pulling off what many would consider a ‘fashion forward’ look.