I imagine you folks are getting rather weary of my tirades about the perils of black. I’ve already offered some ideas for adding sass to the solid-top-with-black-bottom workwear separates formula, but allow me to give some more general advice about implementing black with intentionality.
When a color is deemed “neutral,” the temptation is to throw it into a mix and be done. And you certainly can: Blue denim is neutral, and I’d never say that it should always be worn with blue accents. But ANY color, neutral or no, will look fantastic if it appears multiple times within an outfit. Say you’ve got on a red dress and a purple, white, and red printed scarf. Throwing on a pair of supposedly-neutral black shoes may look like a last-resort or an afterthought. Either pick up another color from the outfit and wear red, purple, or white shoes, or do black shoes AND a black belt. Putting black into the mix twice automatically makes it appear stylish and natural.
Here are a few more ways to be intentional with black:
Here’s a more concrete illustration of the example described above. The main colors here are white and cognac brown, with black serving as an accent color. Imagine this outfit without the black belt and black fishnets. It would be fine, but adding the other black accessories back in creates a more finished ensemble.
When using black in accessories or accents, remember that deploying it multiple times within an outfit will tie the pieces together seamlessly.
The pattern on this sweater tunic is mainly red and purple, but it includes some black accents. That means that throwing on a black turtleneck dress, black leggings, and black boots looks organic and intentional. Had the black been missing, or had it been a lighter neutral such as gray, all that black would look far less chic and natural.
Any time an item of clothing includes black in a pattern – even just a smidgen – it will pair beautifully with solid black garments.
Black boots and an olive green dress. Since neutral colors – khaki, brown, black, gray, cream, and olive – often look amazing mixed within an outfit, the boots and dress would have been fine on their own. But adding the black bolero and black necklace create a much more polished look.
Black will look more fully incorporated into an ensemble if it appears in the top half and bottom half, instead of just one or the other.
Do you wear lots of black? What are some of the ways that you make your outfits look intentional and refined? Will any of these techniques work for you?