There is a strange myth circulating about me and the color black that I want to clear up, for the umpteenth time. If you read my good friend Debbie Roes’ blog, Recovering Shopaholic, then you know that she has been blogging about her experience with working with me virtually. It’s a great piece to read, especially if you have been considering hiring me for a personal style consult. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here (with more to come). I am very grateful to Debbie for documenting her experience publicly because this is something I can’t do out of respect for my clients’ privacy.
Anyway, since Debbie’s two posts went up, the comments have been rolling in, which I, of course, have been reading. Many of the women who have commented have mentioned that they love my blog except for my issue against the color black and that I call women who wear black Blackcidents. So I want to set the record straight (again) because there seems to be a lot of misinterpretation going on. I don’t dislike black, I dislike it FOR ME. Generally speaking, I have no problem with the color. I have said this many times before. One time being on video, which you can watch here.
When I tell people I don’t wear black they get strangely defensive, as if my choice to not wear it means I have something against them wearing it. Another odd occurrence is when women seem to become hellbent on me to wearing black, as if they get some sort of kickback from the black clothing council for converting me. It’s so strange. Why all the hullabaloo around my choice to or to not wear a color? I stopped wearing it when I found there were other colors out there that looked better on me. It’s that simple.
Setting the record straight on being a Blackcident
The next untrue I want to clear up is, if I don’t have an issue with people wearing black, why do I call people who wear it Blackcidents? Well, the truth is I don’t call people who wear black Blackcidents. I call people who rely to heavily on the color, not people who wear it that. There is a big difference. For some people, black can be an exceptional color fitting to their style, coloring and lifestyle. I have certainly put many of my clients in black and have created the base of their wardrobe around the shade. However, being a Blackcident happens when the color is chosen in an uninspired manner, in a way that seems more like a fail-safe or security blanket than a conscious choice. The woman who owns 10 pairs of black pants and unhappily rotates out different tops is usually a Blackcident. The woman who never wears anything other than a black dress, even though she is craving something different, and then proceeds to style it the same way, like with a black pair of heels and boring jewelry, is usually a Blackcident. The woman who usually has a pile of black shoes on the floor of her closet with little else to choose from is usually a Blackcident. And the woman who doesn’t do anything fun with the black she owns, even though she wants to, is usually a Blackident. Blackidents rarely make the choice to wear black exclusively, they just don’t know what else to do.
I also feel that the world has enough black fashion advocates out there. Do we really need another fashion expert beating the “black is the best color in the world” drum? Hardly. What we need are more fashion experts offering alternative options to those out there who are looking for something different. This is what I am trying to do, offer alternatives to those who are looking for them. And it’s not that I never style with black on this blog. I do it all the time. I just don’t put black on the almighty pedestal that others do.
So to those of you out there who love black, and the color loves you back, wear it in good health, enjoy it and, just remember, that your black clothes want to have fun too. Despite the ease that comes with black, the color still likes to be changed up in fun and exciting ways. That said, in this week’s “One Item, Five Fashionable Ways” I am going to style this little black dress from Reiss five different ways to show you how to get the most out of that/those versatile black dress/dresses you own. The quickest route to Blackident boredom is to not maximize the black you own in different ways so it feels fresh instead of repetitive.
Fresh ways to wear a little black dress
Look #1- Bold and sleek
One thing black definitely has going for it is it is sleek and modern. In this first look I wanted to play up this sleekness by adding components that keep it looking clean and bold. One issue I find when women have too much black is getting all of the black shades to match. It’s virtually impossible unless the pieces come are in the same fabric and are from the same dye lot. A way to circumvent this issue is to pair multiple black shades in different materials and textures. For example, for this fun night out look, I added this drapey faux leather jacket that works with the black dress. Black matching problem solved. A nubby boucle or suede jacket would probably solve the same issue. To finish the outfit I added this pair of ankle strap heels, a pair of bold, modern earrings and a red BCBG envelope clutch for a hit of rich color.
Look #2- Warmed up black
If I were to wear a black dress I would be all over this look because I look better in warmer colors. The beauty of mid-brown shades is that they not only work with black but they create a totally different look. If you are looking for some variety, try pairing your black dress with shades of cognac, camel, tobacco, whiskey, tan and beige. Nude shoes look particularly beautiful with black.
Look #3- With color
A black dress is like a blank canvas on which you can paint anything. The options are truly limitless. Oh, and side note, so are brown, navy, grey dresses, and more (but that’s for another time). If you want variety in your black dresses add some color, any color. It really doesn’t matter. This is not to say that a clean look of simple jewelry and black shoes isn’t lovely. My point is about variety and creating more than one option with one dress.
Here I added plenty of color with a Boden knit duster coat in blue, a pink pair of pumps from Ivanka Trump, a blue Carolee necklace and printed scarf from Nordstrom. The outfit is finished with a metallic tote which can be just as versatile as the black bag you’ve been lugging around.
Outfit #4- Unboring Black
You can certainly keep a little black dress outfit predominantly black without making it boring. Here, for example, this black-heavy look is far from snoozy with a printed cardigan from Tracy Reese, a pendant necklace from Anthropologie, black stud earrings and boots from Cole Haan. Even without the pops of color through the yellow Coach handbag and burgundy Reiss coat the outfit stands alone. However, those final colorful touches create added interest and excitement. Isn’t burgundy and yellow a fun color combo?
Outfit #5- For evening
A little black dress can easily be taken from day to evening with some simple changes in how it is accessorized. This change up can not only maximize the use of one dress but is a great tip for travelers. It’s much easier to bring some extra accessories than it is to pack a whole new outfit.
Shop for little black dresses
If you don’t already own one, or are looking for a new little black dress, check out these other little black dresses spotted around the web