Wednesday, February 13, 2013

adventures in black and white

Since 2004/2005, Pantone has been steadfastly forecasting fashionable colors for us. And we love it, looking  forward to their trends each season.
So, it’s always so interesting to see what clothes we choose and ultimately decide to wear every day. So, if we keep in mind that “every day” is different for everyone, depending on how you spend your time and what your work dress code dictates, I would still bet that a good number of us pretty much wear a lot of black.

I do. And I love color! So, let’s think about this.

First of all, is there anything wrong with a predominantly black wardrobe and second, why are we not adventurous when it comes to color in our wardrobes?

not so basic black
                                                     not so basic black by lbrundage 

Is there anything wrong with black? No!

Every wardrobe needs a neutral base. Mind you, black may not be your best neutral (maybe yours should be navy or gray or chocolate…oh, wait….everyone should have chocolate as a staple) But for point of discussion, since so many of us gravitate toward black, we’ll talk about black.

  • Black goes with everything.
  • Black can be appropriate from the bedroom to the workplace to a funeral and gosh, even a wedding these days!
  • Black is always classic and
  • From time to time, it may even be trending in fashion, like it is right now, when paired with white.
  • Black is a wardrobe staple that crosses style, generational and seasonal borders. It can be simple or grand, embellished or plain and dollars to donuts, if you can’t think of a thing to wear, a simple black sheath, black tee or black pants can be a place from which to start to build an outfit.
  • Black is easily accessorized.
  • (I am not even going to go to the black is slimming argument, because I think if clothes fit properly and are of the best shape for our body type, anything can be slimming)
Second question…I wonder why so many of us are not adventurous with color (cultural/religious requirements aside)?

I know! I know!  I think there are two reasons why women chose black over colors.

  • With black you don’t have to think. Black is easy. When you are a busy woman, any number of various engagements in a 24 hour period, wearing black is safe. To open a closet and have to think up an outfit everyday can seem overwhelming.
  • We are scared of color...wearing color may bring attention to us. What if I choose the wrong color? What if wearing color means that others won't take me seriously. Don't get me wrong, I will wear color, but I always feel like when I do, I feel like I'm shouting "Hey! Look! I'm wearing color!"
So I was challenging myself to find different ways to wear the black in my closet…by adding white and a color once a week or by mixing up black and white textures or prints…. Just to see what would happen. Maybe I won't melt into a puddle or have to be carried off in a straight jacket  Maybe I'll still be taken seriously at work. Maybe I will still look 5 pounds thinner. I need a fresh approach to my favorite basic color. And I need to do it in a way that makes sense. And I need to include a sewn or thrifted or up-styled article of clothing in the outfit.

                    (vogue 8815 peplum, leopard scarf, a thrifted skirt with tags, and a little shot of red for my earrings)
What do you think about this? Is black a wardrobe staple for you and why? Will you try the black and white adventure challenge? I am dying to try some unexpected colors/textures with black and white and then share my experiment with you!

19 comments:

  1. I like your black and white idea, you are right easier to get ready in the morning. Also, you always look so chic and stylish in the color combination. Me? I can't wear black alone around my face, it makes my dark circles appear much worse.

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  2. As I say every time this topic arises, my mother was delighted when I finally bought a black shirt in my 30s, having resisted it for so long. I now own three -- and a black blazer and a black cardigan -- so I guess I'm growing.

    Bring on the color! The more of it the better in my book! (And I was just marveling at the Macy's windows this morning on my walk from the Metro. They're filled with greens and blues and persimmons and highlighter yellow -- for women and for men. So exciting!)

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  3. What a great post! I appreciate all your thoughts. I am some one who needs more black in her wardrobe! I always go for colour, and as a consequence, I can't mix and match easily. I have a lot of "orphans."

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    1. Karin! I think that's called color blocking!

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  4. I agree on all the comments you made- black is just so EASY. Goes with everything, looks dressy, easy to accesorize. I am trying to branch out to more and brighter colors, starting this spring. But I also like your idea of still wearing black, but combining textures, prints, accesories. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Lisa, I would love to change my thinking around and make color so EASY! I'm thinking if black goes with everything, it shouldn't create too much anxiety to work it back to a color, right?

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  5. I have to laugh... I LOVE black. And no, I am not a gothic hippy chick. Even as a little kid I was drawn to anything black. I can still hear my mom's disgusted snort when I would drag another top or skirt up to her. "Children DON'T wear black! Put that back!" I just love how rich it is. Strangely, to me at least, now that I have celebrated my second 30th birthday, I find myself drawn to color and not black at all. I just wish I would get away from this obsession with orange...it's hard not to look like a haloween cliche!!

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  6. I don't wear much black now. I used to, but since I started sewing about 95% of my clothes I have virtually no black in my wardrobe. I find it too boring to cut and sew.

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  7. Lori, that is just how I feel about green! But I'm still going to wear it...just not next to my face.

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  8. Sprite, I love color, too! And I'm wondering if you wear color with those black pieces from your closet?

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  9. Great post - I also love colour, but have a lot of black. It makes it easy to work the colour without overdoing it. Living in the tropics I also have a lot of white for summer which is used in the same way as black. Love your experiments with black and white, and I'm off to check out that Vogue 8815 now!

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  10. I like black and white. Your outfit is really very chic, and a little pop of color with your bag. Very nice.

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  11. Interesting! I actually hate black AND white-- I'm really pale, so they're kind of stark for me. I wear lots of gray and navy (and sometimes cream), but they're way harder to mix and match than black and white. But I love the look of mixing black and white prints-- it's very chic and a fun way to mix patterns without looking clownish.

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  12. I wear a lot of white, but not much black at all. I have a couple of black and white print skirts. I tend to wear a lot of color and prints and not many solids at all. I actually need to work on a solid neutral base - I think chocolate or grey. g

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    1. G, I have always loved the idea of chocolate as a neutral. Imagine how pretty that would look with SO many different colors.

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  13. You always look so stylish!
    Alas, I can't do black or really any other traditional neutrals. They all suck every bit of life out of my skin. I've struggled with this for a while now, but I went to see a color consultant last week and she confirmed it for me. I just don't have enough contrast between my hair/skin/and eyes to make dark colors work. My neutrals are all very light--pretty camels and light blues. I even need to rethink my denim choices. I haven't gone fabric shopping with my swatches yet, but I think when I do, it's going to be pretty eye-opening.

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    1. oooo, that sounds like such a pretty, summery pallette. I have always wished I could wear those colors. How fun that you got your colors done!

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  14. I wear a lot of black: with white, with a color. I like high contrast, clean lines, and graphic design in my clothes and this is also a look that flatters me.

    Although strangely the other combination I frequently wear in spring and summer is blue with green, in medium-scale non-floral prints and solids. It's a more vague look, softer and more playful, which is exactly how I feel in sprint and summer.

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