It may be hard to believe, but there was a time that I wore black, a lot of it.  I was your typical New Yorker, and a fashion designer, to boot.  Plus, like most women, I found black very versatile.  If it weren’t for my hair color and skin tone I probably would have never given up the color but, over time, I did.  Now my wardrobe is completely black-free with the exception of some leggings.  I’m not completely against black, nor do I dislike it on most women and this isn’t a post to encourage you to give up the color either.  However, if you are looking to make your wardrobe less black-heavy or to give the black you do own more versatility, in today’s Accessorized 5 Ways, I am going to share one of the ways I eased myself out of black, with natural accessories.

One step at a time

Despite the fact that seasoned fashion designers make decent money, when I decided to give up wearing black I definitely didn’t have the income to trash my entire black-heavy wardrobe and start again.  If you’re looking to lessen the black it won’t be overnight.  My first step was to think about how I was accessorizing all my black.  Instead of pairing it with silver jewelry or sleek accents I started purchasing pieces in mid-brown shades.  The beauty of this color is that it warms up black and brings a new look to the pieces, unlike brown can.  Brown and black seldom work together but a light brown, camel or luggage shades do.  Plus, as you introduce additional neutrals into your closet, like navy, grey, olive and camel, for example, these mid-brown accessory shades will continue to work.  See natural accessories like the bridge from a black-heavy wardrobe to a more comprehensive one.

What are natural accessories?

You don’t have to be a lover of all things organic looking to embrace natural looking accessories.  While wood, organic stones and natural nut materials can be lovely, you can embrace natural tones with leather good in tan and light brown shades.  A tan pair of shoes, cognac colored handbag, tortoise necklace and leather cuff in a mid-brown can be gorgeous starts.

You’ll get more from natural accessories than black ones

Again, I’m not trying to get you to give up black but to think outside the black box.  It’s such a knee-jerk reaction to buy black shoes and black handbags because they seem versatile.  Yet, what do you do when you aren’t wearing black?  How versatile are these things then?   You don’t have to give up all your black accessories but having accessories beyond black will give you more with less.  And in time, just hear me out, you may find you really don’t need black accessories.  A client of mine just realized that she no longer wears black shoes, she just doesn’t need them.

How to wear natural accessories

Using this natural necklace from CARA am going to style five black outfits to show you how accessories in this tone can warm up black and give your black wardrobe pieces more variety.  That’s right, with just the addition of a necklace and mid-brown accessories your black can have a warmer look.  And check out the other natural accessories I’ve found around the web at the end of this post.

Outfit #1- The little black dress

This simple little black summer dress from Modcloth gets a whole new look with this necklace, a pair of tan Nine West sandals and Vince Camuto handbag.  The beauty of the little black dress is that it can be styled dozens of different ways.  Don’t forget to include this elegant option with your dress.

Outfit #2- With a black tank

In this outfit this basic black tank from Topshop and olive pants from J. Crew looks more cohesive with this necklace and Michael Kors Collection clutch and cognac wedge sandals.  Without these natural accessories the outfit is just a black tank and olive pants.  With the accessories it looks like a complete outfit.

Outfit #3- With a black maxi dress

A black maxi, like this one from Boden, is a versatile option for summer.  However, without accessories, it can look dark and heavy.  Of course, colorful jewelry can be added but so can natural ones.  Here, this necklace, straw tote and tan Sam Edelman thong wedges gives the dress a different look.

Outfit #4- With a black suit

This necklace isn’t just for casual, it can also go to work.  In an environment where you want to accessorize, but don’t want to do it in an over-the-top manner, natural accessories can be the perfect option.  In fact, I vividly remember a black shirt dress that I wore to work.  When I started warming up my black I wore it with a tan leather necklace and nude shoes.

With this pantsuit from Reiss and white tank, the natural necklace fills in the neckline and adds a chic level of professionalism to the look.  The outfit is finished with a Calvin Klein handbag and nude ankle strap shoes from Nordstrom.

Outfit #5- With a black top and pencil skirt

This all black outfit comprised of a black blouse from Mango and pencil skirt from T. Tahari gets warmed with this necklace, leopard print shoes and Aldo handbag.  If you need to cover the arms, with these natural accessories, a tan or camel blazer or cardigan would make total sense as opposed to looking slightly out of place if you had black shoes and a black handbag.

The beauty of natural accessories is they will not only work with black but with all the colors in your wardrobe.  See them as a way to transition out of black, to enhance and add versatility to the black you own and as great go-to pieces this summer, and beyond.

Shop for natural accessories

Now that you know you need some natural accessories check out these additional styles.