Adding Style to an All Black Outfit

Black Dress with StyleOh! The reasons I have heard for wearing or not wearing black. We women seem to have a love-hate relationship with the colour. Some of us wear only black and some avoid it at all costs and some would wear it more if only they know how to make it interesting.

Black is the fall-back colour when you cannot find anything else to buy. It is a corporate colour and safe to wear on any occasion. Black is a colour that fills the wardrobe of plus-size women because it is extremely difficult for them to find interesting and flattering clothes in other colours.

Here are my modern dressing tips for business and professional women over 40 to help you get the most out of wearing black.


Black Plus Neutrals

When women think ‘black and neutral’, they usually think of combining black with white. This is a strong and often striking combination. A bold graphic scarf or jacket looks fabulous on those with strong colouring and an extrovert personality. For introverts who want to dip into black and white, try a subtle patterned black and white shoes or belt or an elegant pearl necklace or accessory with an all-black outfit.

Go beyond white to a neutral beige or the skin-tone colours. Shoes or handbag in these shades contrast beautifully and elegantly with black. Consider wearing a soft or leather beige flower brooch to bring light to your face. Black plus beige is great for quiet achievers as well as extroverts who want to show their softer side.

Black Plus Colour

Being a non-colour, black is a perfect background for adding jackets or accessories in any colour. The best colours to wear with it are those that provide a light contrast to the dark black. Jackets and accessories in a matt finish can look a little dull. Go instead for a jacket or accessory with some sheen or shine. Light contrasts that look fabulous with black are pale pink, light turquoise, soft red or silver. You can go subtle in a necklace or earrings with a mixture of black, white and a soft or medium shade of any colour.

Lift the contrast level a little with a medium shade of any colour like medium red, warm or cool purple and medium aqua blue or turquoise green. For extroverts who love high contrast add strong orange, hot pink, red patent shoes or bright yellow to black to show your confidence and energy.

Non-aging Black

Black & BeigeBlack can be very aging and unflattering to some skin tones. As you age, black looks best when your neckline is halfway between the top of your bust and your collarbone. Go as low and as wide as you feel comfortable. If you are wearing clothes with a higher neckline, add a scarf or necklace that has beige, apricot or pink colours. These mimic a healthy skin colour and add lightness to your face. The combination on the right from one of my Pinterest repins  (click on it to repin it) shows how beautifully stylish black and beige/pale pink can look.

If your hair is blond, light red, white or grey, on the top half of your body wear patterns that have more white than black in them. The opposite works for darker hair i.e. more black than white in the pattern. Black is a wonderful background for patterns, especially when it includes colours that create the light and dark contrast mentioned above.

Wear makeup, especially lipstick, when wearing all-black clothing. It does not have to be red. Any of the softer, glossy neutral colours work well.

Last Words

Black is a colour too often downplayed or underestimated. Treat it with respect and it will reward you with increased confidence, beautiful memories and surprising compliments.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 23 August  2012. Click here to sign up for ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’  since renamed.)


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