The first time I was exposed to an all-black (or mostly black) wardrobe was, unsurprisingly, also the first time I visited New York City.
I was in 8th grade, and was so struck by the sea of black clothing that I remember sketching on a napkin a woman in a black trench, black pants, and black handbag.
The caption of the picture was: how to look like a New Yorker.
In the South where I grew up, black was treated as more of an accent color than a foundation. You didn’t wear all black unless you were on your way to a funeral or it was the dead of winter (and even though it was 60 degrees, it still felt wintery in your gothic digs).
In the (undisclosed) amount of time between age 13 and now, I have truly come to appreciate both black, color, and the neverending options between. My wardrobe tends to lend towards more classic colors like black, white, and grey these days. However, with a few switch-ups, you can add some fun and personality into your monotone closet.
Starting Tip: Make sure you start with great basics. No matter what color you like to wear, if your basic wardrobe (think- everything from a little black dress to jeans) doesn’t work for you, then no amount of color can help! Here’s a jumpstart guide on creating a basic wardrobe.
Here’s how…from dipping your toe in the water to going full blown rainbow (okay, maybe not that much color).
You’re not ready to get too carried away…
You don’t have to jump straight to hot pink when adding color to your closet. If you ere on the more conservative side, start with a color like Camel or Cognac. Yes, that’s right. Brown is a color.
I personally love Camel for a couple of different reasons:
1) it’s a classic color that remains timeless
2) it’s the gateway fashion drug to animal prints (see how I shamelessly added a few leopard bags below? Don’t they look great?)
3) it looks good on most skin tones.
Here are a few brown colored inspired outfits (remember- even adding a brown shoe counts as adding color!):
You’re ready to try something a (little) bold
Okay, you’ve already conquered cognac and you’re ready for something a little bolder. Remember when I said (and gave you a sneak peek above) that camel is the gateway drug for animal prints? It’s because animal prints work so well with black and brown. Bonus points: they can also look refined and classy.
If you’re not ready to move into cheetah territory yet, start exploring jewel tones. Jewel tone colors (think: mustard, wine, navy blue) are basically pure colors with black added. So really…it’s like you’re still wearing black.
Here are a couple of animal and jewel-tone inspired outfits:
You’re ready to go wild with color
Animal print move aside, you’re coveting sky blues and sunshine yellows. Maybe you’re ready to pack a little more punch into your wardrobe but you aren’t sure how to do it (and you definitely don’t want to end up looking childish).
Here are a couple of ways to dip your toes into the world of color:
1) join a fashion subscription service like Rent the Runway. It will let you borrow clothes you would like to try but maybe never purchase.
2) Patterns will keep you from looking like a two-tone go-go dancer. Embrace patterns and combine multiple different colors in an outfit. Use this simple formula to get started: Black basic top/bottom + pattern accessory + colored basic top/bottom.
3) Ultimate cheat: a scarf! A nice silk scarf is the easiest way to add color and liven up any outfit.
Here’s a little inspiration for when you’re feeling colorful:
Remember- no matter how much (or how little) color you add to your wardrobe, you’ll always look best in clothing that flatters your shape. Not sure what body shape you have? Take the Quiz to discover your body shape (and what will look best on you!).