Claire Stemen likes to think and write about fashion as a vital form of communication. She loves clothing and the way we style ourselves, despite always buying the same black turtleneck over and over again. You can find her on Instagram @claire_stemen, or or at

Black to the Future: Bringing Black Lipstick Into a Modern Ensemble


The Hadidster rocks black lipstick. Photo via: @Jennifer_yepez
The Hadidster rocks black lipstick. Photo via: @Jennifer_yepez
The general reaction black lipstick garners is never quite positive. In a world where lips can be any shade of red, purple, or orange, the spectrum of acceptance is surprisingly narrow.

It’s one thing for runway models to sport gold-leafed lips or for wine-colored pouts to be hailed on account of Lorde. This is recognized as an expression of art.

But black lipstick? It’s the facial flag waved for counter-culture, the punctuation to a punk outfit or a gothic ensemble: never for a self-respecting fashionista.

It’s the facial flag waved for counter-culture.

Rihanna and a handful of other celebrities have begged to differ, wearing the controversial shade with class and aplomb.

Maybe the ever-shocking black lipstick doesn’t just need to be paired with a Victorian corset or spikes, maybe it just needs a makeover — an identity change.

It’s hardly a matter of pulling off the shade, as the rule in fashion is to pull off what you want to pull off — confidence being the necessary ingredient here. It’s a difficult color to take on, but approaching the shade at a new angle can make it fresh.

Adding black lipstick and maybe a string of pearls to your LBD, brings your classy ensemble from classic to daring.

Adding black lipstick to your LBD brings your ensemble from classic to daring.

Or, spicing up a casual, neutral look with the shade makes you look more refined than the actual effort of the look would normally dictate. Browns, denim, black (obviously), and other neutral tones look fantastic with the shade.

If you want to ride a little closer to the edge with black lipstick (as if it weren’t daring enough), it does well as the final touch to a daring look.

The key with black lipstick is to carry it as the audacious anti-color it is: with confidence and ferocity. And as a rule, erring on the side of neutral color with it is always a safe bet.

Erring on the side of neutral color with it is always a safe bet.

Whatever you do, never be afraid to paint it black!


With love,