When it comes to professional stereotypes, fictional character Wednesday Addams may have summed it up best. “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker color,” she said.

SHP’s Molly Kerth breaks down why designers wear black. Photo credit: The Creative Exchange on Unsplash.

Whether lore or legend, folklore or fable, “designers wear all black” definitely ranks among the top three myths associated with the design industry… along with “creatives are always messy” and “architects can draw a straight line without using a ruler.”

Curious about its origin, we posed the question, “Why do designers wear all black?” to senior interior designer Molly Kerth.

“In the early days, I was taught that designers wore all black for one very pragmatic reason: If you present finishes to a client and you’re wearing all black, you won’t interfere with what you’re presenting. If you keep it simple, you won’t distract from the design solutions you’re recommending,” she explains.

Black is also easy, she concedes. “It goes with everything! You don’t have to think about what you’re grabbing out of the closet.”

While designers may have established a reputation for their monochromatic wardrobe choices, the times are indeed a-changin’, Molly says. Spend a day in SHP’s offices and you’ll see designers putting their personal spin on style—with very few all-black outfits to be found. Ever conscious about how work is presented, however, you’ll still encounter an abundance of neutrals among our interior designers’ attire.

“At the end of the day, we still don’t want to distract from the design,” Molly laughs. “I guess old habits die hard!”

Mystery solved.