This isn’t news by any means, but I am so into all-black outfits. They’ve been showing up fairly often on runways for awhile. I think Gucci had a fall or winter season a few years ago where they showed off all black looks, and suddenly I was in love. Whereas before I thought all black outfits looked awkward and overdone, I now saw elegance and beauty in them. But… what did these designers know that I didn’t? My black outfits were failing miserably. As a teenager, I was into the whole goth scene: the music, the look… but goth clothing can appear tacky and cliché when not styled properly, like this.
Here’s how Kat Von D wears it:
How does she pull it off? When I was in high school I’d try on all kinds of outfits in my bedroom. I had a few pairs of black jeans, and I’d try pairing them with a black top, but somehow the outfit would feel awkward. Those outfits never made it beyond my bedroom door.
So, what’s the secret? There’s a trick to making a look like this successful. It’s all about LAYERING! Think about different textures, like leather (real or pleather), velvet, suede, cotton, lace, shiny vinyl or PVC, matte fabrics, cable knits, and so on. A cotton shirt with a cotton shirt in all black’s just going to look boring and just doesn’t feel right, kind of like this outfit Jordan Sparks (American Idol) wore:
The fabrics are just too similar. That’s not to say that she looks bad, but the outfit lacks spice.
Here are some more successes like Kat Von D’s…
She mixes a matte knitted (and high shouldered) top with leather shorts and leather shoes. Her accessories (leather bag and round Chanel-esqe specs) really help to make the outfit interesting. Some times it’s all about accessories. Accessories, like silver and gold toned jewelry, can really set an all black get-up on fire… in a good way.
With black, you have more options than you might have thought. Lace and sheer mesh are in right now, so it’s easy to find them in stores, but you’ll certainly be able to find pieces with a lot of character while thrifting. I just got a sheer black blouse at the Salvation army that will go GREAT with my $2 thrifted leather pencil skirt and black bra. (I know, I desperately need to show off my recent finds. Sorry!)
Another thing you may want to give a second chance is fringe. Fringe may have had it’s heyday in the late 60s and on into the 70s, but by the 80s and 90s it got stale, tacky… People ran around with puffy leather jackets with swede fringe hanging from their arms, while the fashion police cringed. Lately though, daring fashionistas as well as celebrities have been adopting this misfit into their outfits. Fringe is back! Some designers are taking a new approach to fringe, like these from Giuseppe Zanotti:
And with studs and chains being so popular right now, I guarantee you’ll find a cheaper alternative. I was just in Rue 21 a few days ago and they had spiked black stillettos! Craziness. (I wanted them but decided combat books and a lace top were better investments. I don’t have many fancy occasions to get all gussied up for these days.)
Let these looks inspire you!