Thursday, March 16, 2017

4 Ways to Wear Black Without Being Boring

The majority of my closet is black, but there are a few ways I keep the rut feeling away. For me black isn't boring or "depressing." Instead black to me can serve as a blank canvas or a mask to get away with things, especially when you don't live in a necessarily stylish area.

1) Add statement accessories
Despite wearing a lot of black, I love vivid colors and patterns, especially leopard or tropical/jungle prints. This is an old outfit picture, but I actually still have all these pieces--except I've long since chopped off the fringes on the scarf. Also this can be as inexpensive or expensive endeavor as you like. I know I've thrown on an all black dress and some el cheapo Old Navy rubber sandals and a F21 scarf both in cobalt blue and gotten compliments. Once in a blue moon I've seen Alexander McQueen churn out scarves without a skull motif, which were the stained glass and a black/red floral? moth? print, all I know is it looked like a murder scene on the back but still ambiguous enough to feign ignorance.


2) Incorporate texture
I can go overboard with buying these that I occasionally wish I had a plain black X. But I do love quilting, brocade, ribbed, waffle, lace, croco, suede, calf hair, wax, and I could go on... in black. Over the years I've bought and sold off my red crocodile bags since it just got too flashy but a black crocodile is more elegant and subdued. Another one of my go-to work looks was black brocade pants with black wool pullover and black velvet slippers. And that's what I mean about getting away with things in black. Black helps tone down textures that would otherwise be tooooo gaudy in other colors. This is an ancient texture post, which actually shows the brocade jacket and tonal stripe pants below in action. Again I still own all those clothes.

Black Texture

3) Experiment with silhouette
Similar to texture, all black softens the effect of more avant-garde, experimental, or "different" silhouettes. My long lost Sisters in Black Frocks masters black avant-garde silhouettes. The most common example in my wardrobe is Rick Owens draping. Naturally I will include a picture of me in a Margiela caftan instead.


4) Dare a bold lip
My very first lip color purchase ever was in 2015 and it was a glossy hot pink lip stain. Below is another favorite of mine: Sonia Kashuk Poppy Nude pencil. I remember at the NYX store one of the SAs with a deep skin tone had all black with a full on glitter bronze lip that looked stunning on her. If you're even more daring and talented you can do a full beat--think how intimidatingly glam the MAC teams are. The Divinitus also does this well.

Black + Bold Lips


And that's it. Nothing earth shattering. I deliberately started building a largely black wardrobe over a decade ago and these are some of the variations I've adopted over the years.


Do you wear all black and what do you do to keep it interesting?


  1. All black is my natural state of affairs during the cold months. I try to avoid it but seem to not. My accents :
    1. Gold jewellry. Sometimes, layered.
    2. Break it up with one garment/shoes that are not black.
    3. Scarves ( my fav )
    Never could do textures. And now, too much of an old dog to try new tricks.

    The bold lip looks stunning on you.

    1. Thanks! I imagine the layered gold is beautiful on you as well. Texture is one of those things that I have been doing before realizing it. I wish I had a better grasp of artfully draping scarves but in hot climate, we're just not use to it.

  2. The way you wear black totally exemplifies why black isn't boring or basic! I find black hard to pull off when the item is not well made - so easy to spot the flaws. I find black quite harsh on me and so I don't wear it often but when the right piece comes along I like how it transforms. It feels bolder than wearing a loud colour.

    1. Thank you. Yes one can do a bolder silhouette in black without being "too much."

  3. Echoing lin's sentiment: you do black so well and make it look anything but basic. When I wear all black, I usually mix textures. If I'm adventurous, I'll don a red lip, but that is a rarity.

    1. thanks! I think even texture can heighten or minimize the impact of a lip color: for example: gloss vs. pencil lip.

  4. Admittedly when I do all black it's pretty boring in comparison to your outfits. But sometimes I feel like all black can be a statement in itself!

    1. These are just more "statement" pictures to emphasize a point. For the most part when I was wearing all black especially to work, my use of texture was much more subtle, like a wool shell, small leather trims on blouses/pockets, or textured flats.

  5. The older I grow, the more I appreciate black. Also, once you look carefully, there are more shades of black than one could imagine :) I am learning #1 and am yet to try #3. Baby steps!!

    1. I agree about the different shades of black.


Thank you for stopping by!