In Black and White
By: SHARON MOSLEY
So you’ve bought the turquoise tunic, you’ve wrapped yourself up in a hot pink scarf, but day after day, you still find yourself reaching for those black-and-white classics that are the backbone of many stylish spring and summer wardrobes. Let’s face it: getting dressed in black and white is easy. But it doesn’t have to be boring, even if all you’re wearing is a black top and a pair of white jeans. Here are some ways to put some excitement into this favorite color combo:
— Go graphic. Some of the funniest ways to update your black-and-white wardrobe is to add bold, graphic prints to your solid pieces. One of my recent purchases was a black-and-white striped sweater vest from Chico’s. The cascade hem is a flattering silhouette for everyone (www.chicos.com). And the ultimate graphic statement in black and white? Louis Vuitton’s swing cape and matching dress. Wow! (www.louisvuitton.com)
— To the max. Black and white goes a long way this season, especially when you wear it from head to toe. Maxi dresses are one of the newest ways to wear black and white in bold stripes or florals. Find great ones at White House/Black Market stores (www.whitehouseblackmarket.com). A long, solid black “tube top” maxi dress from Old Navy is another one of my favorite picks this season. This is the “patio party” dress of the summer.
— Check it out. Remember gingham? It’s back again in a big way … a big black and white way. Think Beverly Hillbillies meets Marilyn Monroe, and check out the newest picnic parade in halter tops and tunics. A great combination with white denim shorts. For work, Ralph Lauren has the perfect duo of cardigan and trousers in black and white houndstooth check.
— Skirt it. Easy and breezy, all in black and white. Another idea for work: Try a black pencil skirt with a white tank and white jacket. Or for the weekend, go with the flow in a long, printed maxi skirt topped off with a black or white tank top and cinched in with a silver studded belt. If you’re looking for a budget-conscious way to skirt it this season, log onto www.newport-news.com.
— All dressed up. Got a fancy occasion to go to this spring or summer? Why not wow them in a zebra-print cocktail dress? This black-and-white print is a chic alternative to the little black dress. Michael Kors has one of the sexiest versions of this hot number! (www.michaelkors.com) Zebra also zings in Blumarine’s (love that line!) in a great dress and coat combination (Neiman Marcus). One of my favorite “go-to” pieces is a zebra-print trench coat I bought years ago. It never seems to go out of style.
— Layer, layer, layer. Now, here’s where it gets fun. Since everything lightens up in warmer weather, it’s easy to take “sheer” looks and give them some extra style with lightweight knits. Layer a pretty black tank under a white knit cardigan. Or try a white tee under a black tunic top and wear them with your favorite jeans. For a new way to layer, start with Norma Kamali’s black-and-white, one-shoulder tank top — a steal at www.walmart.com for $15!
— Texture counts. Whether it’s beaded, embroidered, embellished with lace or covered in feathers, the best black-and-white pieces to mix into your basic wardrobe have details that get noticed. A ruffly scarf can even add some texture to a black-and-white outfit. Don’t be afraid to experiment and mix all kinds of textures — think patent leather and lace.
— When all else fails, accessorize! Now, this is an easy way to add some newness to your black-and-white wardrobe. Forget sizes … you can readily find zebra-print handbags (Target has a great hobo satchel) and even flip-flops in black and white that can instantly put you in the fashion news, which is black and white and “red” all over.
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