The new black
"_____ is the new black" is an expression used to indicate the sudden popularity or versatility of an idea at the expense of the popularity of a second idea. It is the originator of the phrasal template "X is the new Y". The phrase seemed to have started in the 1950s or 1960s. Since then it has often been used for ironic or humorous purposes.
An early popular culture example of popularizing a particular color as the new "in" thing appears in the 1957 film Funny Face, in which editor Maggie Prescott (inspired by the Vogue editor Diana Vreeland and played by Kay Thompson) extols the color pink.
A closer early approximation of the phrase is Vreeland's pronouncement, quoted in 1962, that "I ADORE that pink ... it's the navy blue of India." Vreeland meant that in India the color pink was the functional equivalent to blue in the USA, that is a common foundation or basic, much like navy blue was the base color of most ensembles in New York City.
The earliest use of "the new black" seems to be in a March 1983 Los Angeles Times article, and apparently attributed to Gianfranco Ferré: "Colors are slated to be somber and muted, say most of the designers who previewed their collections for Fashion83. For example, Ferre says grey is the new black."
It was used repeatedly in the 1980s to indicate that other colors (frequently brown, navy blue, or grey) were temporarily displacing black's position in fashion or industrial design as a versatile staple that complemented all other aspects and was generally unobjectionable. The phrase quickly became a cliché, lampooned for its simplistic nature. Because the phrase is so familiar, it is now sometimes used in absurd contexts as a signifier instead of as a metaphor.
The phrase is an example of the snowclone "X is the new Y", where the standard may be almost anything ("the new rock and roll" is a common variant). It is so widespread that the British satirical magazine Private Eye chronicles the over-use of the phrase in its column "Neophiliacs". In 2008, Lake Superior State University included "X is the new Y" on their annual "Banished Words List", stating, "The idea behind such comparisons was originally good, but we've all watched them spiral out of reasonable uses into ludicrous ones and it's now time to banish them from use."
Contemporary examples 
||This article may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. (November 2012)|
- (2001) The phrasing was used to humorous effect in the movie Josie and the Pussycats, with increasingly referential claims that, "Pink is the new red", "Orange is the new pink" and "Heath Ledger is the new Matt Damon."
- (2001) "Big is the new small," referring to the supposed cool factor of a gigantic cell phone, as used in a 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live.
- (2001) Norwegian folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience named their debut album Quiet Is the New Loud.
- (2003) Carson Kressley from Queer Eye once declared, "Gay is the new black." It is unclear whether he intended to mean that gay fashion was now extremely hip and versatile, or if being gay was trendy (implying the exploitation of gay culture along the same lines as blaxploitation in the 1970s), or both. The phrase has also been used by other authors around the same time as the launch of Kressley's show, and it is unclear who was the originator of the phrase.
- (2003) In the musical Wicked, Galinda sings to Elphaba that "black is this year's pink".
- (2003) Funeral for a Friend's song "Red is the New Black" from the album Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation
- (2005) "The New Black" is a single from Every Time I Die's third album, Gutter Phenomenon.
- (2005) One of the catchphrases for Apple's iPod shuffle is "Random is the new order", which may be a double play on words.
- (2005) Australian musician Ben Lee's album Awake Is the New Sleep.
- (2006) Strapping Young Lad's album The New Black.
- (2006) An article on terra preta soil in Nature magazine was subtitled "Black is the new green."
- (2007) The bonus disc of Radiohead's album In Rainbows contains a track called "Down Is the New Up".
- (2007) An episode of The Apprentice 6 was entitled "Pink is the New Black", in reference to the color of men's swimsuits.
- (2007-8) "Black is the new white" was said by a number of commentators referring to the election of Barack Obama.
- (2007) Jonathan Byrd's album This Is the New That.
- (2007) "Humans are the new dinosaurs."
- (2007) Field & Stream magazine featured an article on hunting feral hogs titled, "Hogs are the New Deer."
- (2008) "Bitch is the new Black." Said by Tina Fey on an episode of Saturday Night Live, referring to then Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign. Three weeks later, on the same show, Fey's 30 Rock co-star Tracy Morgan retorted: "Bitch may be the new black but black is the new President, bitch."
- (2008) The movie WALL-E features a disembodied female voice (actress Sigourney Weaver) telling the Axiom passengers, who are all dressed in similar red outfits, "Try blue. It's the new red!"
- (2008) "Winning is the new losing."
- (2009) Black is the New White, autobiography of comedy writer Paul Mooney.
- (2009) "Saving is the new Spending" UBank, a division of National Australia Bank
- (2009) "30 may be the new 20, but Green is definitely the new black" slogan used by Vitamin Water
- (2009) "Red is the new black" says Bliss in The Goode Family, meaning Native Americans and African Americans
- (2010) Helena Andrews entitles her memoirs "Bitch is the new Black", after Tina Fey's SNL statement above.
- (2011) Lady Gaga sings that "Jesus is the new black" in "Black Jesus † Amen Fashion", a track featured on her Born This Way album.
- (2012) Jeff Cannata said on the internet series New Challanger that "February is the new Holiday season" referring to when publishers choose to release many high profile video games around the same time of year.
- (2012) Jacoby Shaddix of the band Papa Roach sings that "P. Roach is the new black" in the song "Still Swinging", a track from the upcoming album "The Connection".
- Zimmer, Benjamin (2006-12-28). "On the trail of 'the new black' (and 'the navy blue')". Language Log. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
- "Lake Superior State University". 2008 List of Banished Words. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
- "SNL sketch with 'big is the new small'". Snltranscripts.jt.org. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Putting the carbon back: Black is the new green, Nature magazine, August 10, 2006
- Jill Singer: Now, it's Go Bro!, Herald Sun, December 6, 2007, “When Oprah Winfrey says her choice is above politics but is about something new, we hear her meaning -- black is the new white.“
- WARRENGATE: OBAMA'S FIRST FUCKUP AS PRESIDENT ELECT? Black is the new white, LA Weekly, December 23, 2008
- Black is the New White for 'Men's Vogue', Portfolio.com, November 16, 2007
- Hindale, Alan. "Stanley Park IV: Newman's Revenge". Onlymagazine.net.
- Harper's Bizarre But GQ Banal Washington Post, April 2, 2007
- Gregory, David (2008-03-18). "'Race for the White House with David Gregory' for March 17". NBC. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
- "Kids’ sport should not just be about winning". Thepunch.com.
- "Winning is the new losing". Californiasteven.blogspot.com. November 3, 2008.
- "Mooney's Memories". Npr.org.
- UBank USaver (2009-08-22). "Saving is the new spending". TV Commercial (TVC). YouTube. Retrieved 2010-02-01.