Over at The Curriculum, Billax - one of the most knowledgable guys still hanging around this scene - has a great thread about the difference between color contrast and tonal contrast: which one is more important in the perception and/or reception of a certain outfit?
Check it out. It might surprise you.
This might explain the appeal that all those black and white photos in Dressing the Man and the like have.
(note: at this time, it looks like Billax is too knowledgeable, in that he has maxed out his Photobucket bandwidth allotment for the time. Check back often though, as it's a great thread.)