As I’ve lived my life and learned what I could, one thing has become more and more apparent: the dichotomy of black and white is highly unrealistic. And the sooner we learn to accept a lot of grey area, the happier we’re going to be.
But this isn’t a philosophy blog.
In terms of fashion, black and white as a color palette is not only classic, but foundational. I wanted to discuss it in more detail, because if anyone out there is contemplating their style, this is a great place to start.
Beginning with the most basic, this is the look that can be translated into anything, for any occasion. White on top, and black on the bottom. That can be reversed, of course, but it looks more natural (to me) when lighter is on top of darker.
You could go super casual with this, such as a white cami and a black pair of shorts. You could also make it exquisitely formal, with, say, a long black skirt and white top. The point is that any outfit in these colors will always be acceptable, so whether you’re attending a baseball game or a red carpet event, criticism for your ensemble will be slim to none.
If you remember the post I did on Parisienne fashion, you may recall that I mentioned wearing black underneath white as an interesting element of French style. It’s not something I was always open to, but I’ve experimented with it quite a bit.
My first giving-it-a-try moment was just wearing a black bra under a white top. The feedback I got from this was entirely positive.
From there, I put together stuff like this. It’s been chic every time. In fact, I think I’d choose chic as the most appropriate word for any black and white look.
The photos above are from last summer and last winter, for varying occasions. The stripes just look right every time, don’t they?
Here’s my beautiful sister sporting stripes of a different kind. Your typical black and white, inverted.
Ultimately, I find it doesn’t matter whether the black overshadows the white, vice versa, or whether they are perfectly symmetrical. Our eyes love the contrast in any form. It’s clean; it’s neat.
And, as an aside, I’d like to put the myth that horizontal stripes have a widening effect to rest. Vertical stripes, on the flip side of that coin, are not necessarily slimming either. Never mind what is “slimming.” Well-fitted clothes should be the ideal we all strive for, no matter what shapes we come in.
this remains one of my favorite runway shows of all time.
I’m patting myself on the back for snapping pictures of myself like this over the last year or so. It’s a great illustration of my personal experience with this simple, yet all-encompassing color palette.
Adut is very dark, so when she wears all white, it pops incredibly. Rosie, on the other hand, has a complexion like mine, very fair. So all black has the same sort of effect on her. Playing with colors on our different skin tones like this–black, white, and every shade in between–is terribly fun, and so beautifully versatile.
So play with it. Spend some time in front of the mirror with a few black and white pieces and decide what you like best for you. I think the worst anyone could say is that you’re playing it safe. But unless you’re literally going on the red carpet, I don’t even see how that’s a bad thing. How could looking good with ease ever be bad?
I definitely think adopting a black and white motif could be a cool, unique way to embrace the more matronly stages of my life. And what fun. I could be a goth grandmother. How lucky for those grandkids.
My aspiration is to inspire my readers with interesting style ideas (and with the confidence to explore them). Black and white is the idea of the moment, and I hope you’ll consider including it into your repertoire.
I know I’ve had a lovely time with it.
Have a beautiful week.