Black is your favorite color to wear and you’re sticking with it until something darker comes along. However, let’s be honest, black clothes don’t exactly scream summer. You certainly don’t have to give up your black-heavy wardrobe when the thermometer rises, but you might want to consider adding some summery elements to your outfits to make them look less stark and heavy. Here are some tips on how to do it.
How to Make Your Black Clothes Look More Summery
Tip #1- Accessorize with two colors, not just one
Adding one bright color to an all black outfit is a simple no-brainer. It’s likely you’re already wearing a pair of bright colored shoes with your favorite little black dress. To take it a step further and consider adding two colors, instead of just one. See your black clothing as blank canvases on which you can do anything. Then choose two colorful accessories that complement each other, like I am doing here with this BOSS Hugo Boss little black dress, coral necklace from Bauble Bar and mint green bag from Rebecca Minkoff. For earrings, I used these simple studs from Ann Taylor.
Tip #2- Add nude or beige shoes
The next tip is to ditch the black shoes in the summer and consider wearing a pair of nude or beige instead, like I am in the outfit above with these shoes from Vince Camuto. Not only will nude shoes lengthen the look of your legs, and make them look slimmer, but your black clothes will look less dark. You can even try this trick with black pants.
Tip #3- Add colored shoes
As I mentioned earlier, colored shoes are the fairly obvious choice for adding some summer punches to your black clothes. However, the knee-jerk reaction when doing this is to go with a pair of shoes in a bold color, like red or cobalt. With black outfits, you can add any color, like I did here with these soft yellow and taupe peep toe flats from Anthropologie that work with these skinny black jeans and black sleeveless top from Theory.
Tip #4- Soften black
Again, you don’t have to go bold and bright when adding summer touches to black. In the outfit above I went a softer route that, just like nude or beige shoes, adds an elegance a black outfit and makes it look less heavy. In the look above, the soft taupe bag from Lord & Taylor and ivory necklace from Stella & Dot gives the outfit a less severe appearance.
Tip #5- Pull in a print and then pull out the colors
In this all black outfit, consisting of a black Rebecca Taylor skirt and ruffled Modcloth top, I used these printed Ted Baker pumps to introduce some fun, summer colors to the outfit. While you could stop there you can also take it a step further by pulling the colors found in the print to accessorize further with color. Using the orange and pink from the shoes, I added this pink handbag from Foley + Corinna and pink and coral earrings from Max & Chloe. The outfit is finished with a gold bracelet from Ann Klein.
The beauty of working with prints like this is you can go in many different directions. For example, you could also take the green or soft pink found in the print and use those colors too.
Tip #6- Warm up black
Instead of a severe and stark look, black is easy to warm up using mid-browns. Dark brown and black may clash and look heavy in the summer, but shades like cognac, luggage, saddle, camel and tan work beautifully. Here, this black Zara dress is accessorized with wedge sandals from Jessica Simpson, a wood watch from Kohls and a fringe bag from Gabriella Rocha. Gold also warms up black, and in this outfit I used a long gold necklace and stacked bracelets from Bauble bar.
Tip #7- Add denim
We all know that denim works with everything. Seriously, can you imagine what your wardrobe would be like if it didn’t exist? I’d be screwed. Another way to give your black a summery look is with light wash denim, like I did with this Madewell vest in the outfit above.
Tip #8- Add a colorful topper piece to your black column
Column dressing, dressing from head-to-toe in one color, is very popular for its ease and slimming features. I wrote a whole post on this topic last year. Another way to give your black clothes a summery look is to add a topper piece in a color. Again, your black base is a blank canvas on which you can paint anything. Here, for example, I used this soft pink linen blazer from J. Crew to pop over the black ankle pants and top from Boden. Next, using the earlier tip of using two colors in one black outfit, I found this beautiful necklace from Robert Lee Morris that picked up the pink and introduced this gorgeous mossy green shade. With the necklace I was able to add this green handbag from Furla.
Tip #9- Try metallic shoes
In the outfit above I used metallic flats from Vince Camuto in lieu of black. Like metallic jewelry, metallic shoes can add some warm weather softness to a black-heavy outfit. Try a pair of gold sandals, wedges or flats to see how much it brightens up your black clothes.
Tip #10- Share your tips below
Have any additional tips on how you wear black in the summer? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
SUBSCRIBE TO BRIDGETTE'S WEEKLY STYLE UPDATES
RECEIVE A FREE WARDROBE CAPSULE BUILDER GUIDE WHEN YOU SUBSCRIBE
Love all of these outfits and I don’t even love black. You know, women aren’t the only ones with black hang ups. My dad is in his 70s and has worn all black everyday for the last 50 years of his life. I always thought it was odd especially since he is artistically inclined.
Agree, Jeri! I think what we non-black wearers are responding to is that the black is essentially a backdrop for the other pieces to shine.
Despite your dad’s artistic talents and love of black, I can’t say that I am surprised. It is a common choice among most artistic people. Most of my professors at FIT wore black all the time and if you look at most artistic people they usually have a uniform pretty set.
Blackcident and proud! I’ve long found black to be a lifesaver for travel and an easy way to glam up my look. I’ve
learned some great tricks from you about how to break up the funereal aspect and make it chic, not freak. Scarves, colored shoes, belts, eye-catching jewelry, contrasting bags… all good!
Haha! I love to see vernacular I’ve invented used by others. Yes, I think what you are essentially doing is what I described above.
Love these, and I am a black wearer… But I have given ip the black shoes & purses (Thanks to you!) One of my faves to lighten up my black is with a lightweight scarf. My current fave is a white backeground with bright butterflies outlined in black? Pulls any combo together. Sometimes it’s a sash or belt, sometimes a scarf. It all depends on the temperature amd whim of the day!!
Love it! Sounds like a great plan! I think accessorizing black with other colors makes a huge difference!
[…] “How to Make Your Black Clothes Look More Summery” – This post is very timely, as it just went live yesterday! If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of black in your wardrobe, but black doesn’t exactly scream summer, does it? Stylist extraordinaire Bridgette Raes outlines nine great tips for making your black items work well during the warm weather season. […]
Since finding your blog I too have found black to be too heavy and have purged much black from my wardrobe. There are some pieces though I just can’t give up and as you suggest I lighten them up. I have a great black fit and flare dress that I love, I pair it with white and black polka dot flats and add a colorful cardi that I tie in front to create a defined waist. I wore an emerald green cardi last and i felt very fun in it!
I love black and this summer I mostly wear it. I say mostly because I wear bright accessories and colorful scarves to break it. I still have to work with shoes thought. Great advice.
Love all these outfits! I did what you suggested today (before I read the article) Black dress, coral belt and earrings, tan sandals.