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How to Wear {mostly} Black Without Looking Boring

October 23, 2020

Happy Friday! James surprised me with a quick trip out of town yesterday, and as I was dressing for the day I decided to share what I was wearing with you. But then I decided to go a step further and share the metamorphous of my outfit, which then turned into a post on tips for how to wear {mostly} black without looking boring. Hahaha! I hope you get a little style inspiration here today.

How to Wear Mostly Black Without Looking Boring

I love wearing black. If you don’t care for it at all, this may not be the post for you. But if you do enjoy wearing black pants, dresses, sweaters, etc., I think I’ve got some tips that could help us all wear this most basic neutral with a little more panache.

The biggest risk in wearing black, in my estimation, is that there’s a fine line between that somewhat elusive oh-so-chic look we all aspire to and the boring look of, well, a waiter in a fine restaurant. LOL! But I don’t let that keep me from trying. And in the process of creating looks with my favorite black staples I’ve landed on some keys that generally help me put together mostly black outfits I really love.

The Keys to Wearing {Mostly} Black Without Looking Boring

Key #1 – Layer on the texture.

I’ve discovered that an all black look pops more when it includes multiple textures. And it’s easier to layer on the texture than you may think, especially in the fall and winter. Even in this head to toe black outfit below, I’ve layered on a knit sweater, slim fitting pants and suede heels.

How to Style a Column of Black Between Spring Colors
See the original post for more details.

I’m surprised to find that I don’t seem to have a more “all black” look in my archives. I may have to do one of those soon! But meanwhile, you get the picture, right? You could layer on texture by combining suede, leather, faux fur, wool or cashmere and cotton. Don’t forget the option of adding shine with patent leather or metallics.

Key #2 – Add some grey for depth variation.

A look comprised of mostly black with some grey is definitely still an “all black” look in my book. But adding touches of grey is a great way to add a little light and depth to the look.

Black Cropped Pants and Grey Sweater
See the original post for details.

I think it’s wise to add some grey up near the face to bring a little light to that region. Plus, grey looks less harsh against our skin and eyes and hair than black does.

The Modern Way to Wear Your Traditional Cardigans
See the original post for details.
Do You Suffer from Impostor Syndrome
See the original post for details.

Key #3 – Select pieces with interesting style elements.

I find it’s significantly easier to creating chic all {or mostly} black outfits when I’m using pieces that have that little something extra in them. For instance, the white side stripes on the black joggers made it really easy to create a modern, fresh all black look below.

Favorite Travel Outfit Two Ways
See the original post for details.

Key #4 – Add leopard or other animal print for a “neutral” accessory with some bite.

Because you can treat animal print as a neutral, it’s a great way to accent an otherwise all or mostly black look. Here’s the outfit I started out wearing yesterday. It changed a little eventually, but I think the leopard print shoes help give this black and white outfit more interest.

How to Wear Black Without Looking Boring
black jeans (size up one) // leopard print flats // white blouse // black cardigan (more economical option) // belt // similar necklace // earrings // bracelet

Notice in the look above that I also have multiple textures in black: leather belt, black denim, cashmere sweater with specks.

Key #5 – Add a splash of another neutral. (this is a little different from adding color; we’ll get there!)

In the look below I added brown and a coordinating animal print. I wouldn’t really consider this adding color. This brown is another neutral, but it adds vibrancy and interest to the otherwise all black look.

Creating a Column of Black
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You can also add another neutral by adding a denim jacket.

Favorite Travel Outfit Two Ways
See the original post for details. Shop the look here.

Here’s another look that’s {mostly} black with a splash of brown.

Accessorize to Maximize
See the original post for details.

Key #6 – Add a splash of color.

Here’s another way I tried yesterday’s outfit. We were having a little heat wave, so I didn’t need a hearty third piece, but I did want to wear one. So I thought about adding this pretty fuchsia pink cashmere scarf as a wrap for outdoor dining.

How to Wear Black Without Looking Boring
fuchsia pink cashmere scarf // black jeans (size up one) // leopard print flats // white blouse // belt // similar necklace // earrings // bracelet

Key #7 – Don’t forget to accessorize.

Honestly, sometimes the only difference between my favorite {mostly} black outfits and those worn by waiters is the accessories. Hahaha! I love a pared down black or mostly black look. But to keep it from looking too utilitarian, I make sure I elevate the look by really pulling it together with a belt, jewelry, intentionally chosen shoes and a nice handbag.

How to Wear Black Without Looking Boring
black jeans (size up one) // leopard print flats // white blouse // belt // similar necklace // earrings // bracelet

This white lantern sleeve blouse is made so that you can wear it untucked. But I think that would have looked like a waiter. But tucking this white blouse and finishing off the look with a belt definitely elevates it in my opinion. Adding pretty jewelry is also crucial.

How to Wear Black Without Looking Boring
reversible ruana // black jeans (size up one) // leopard print flats // white blouse // belt // similar necklace // earrings // bracelet

In the end I actually changed shoes into my black loafers so that I could top my look with this beautiful reversible plaid ruana (40% off through Sunday). I felt comfortable in our 75 degree temperatures with just my lightweight white blouse and jeans. But later in the evening I added the reversible plaid ruana.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Can you think of additional ways to add interest to an all {mostly} black look? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Especially if you enjoy wearing black as much as I do!

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Blessed for My Day

I learned several years ago now that Jesus alone can satisfy the hungers of my soul. Philippians 4:19 tells me that God provides everything I need through and in a relationship with Jesus Christ. But I learned to actually receive all that He provides through meditating on His Word, Scripture. When I eat the Word of God by meditating on Scripture, He fills my soul with that which is good, wholesome and absolutely delightful.

Truth satisfies. The lies of the world dig holes in our soul. They create vacuums that we sometimes try to fill with lousy substitutes in an effort to sate our desires for significance, purpose, love and security. The the Word of God tells us that He loves us wholly, that He says we are significant, that He gives us purpose and that He is our Rock, our firm foundation. If you will meditate on the truth of God’s Word, you will find that Jesus satisfies your every need.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” ~ John 6:35

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xoxo, Kay
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11 thoughts on “How to Wear {mostly} Black Without Looking Boring

  1. I have tried to wear my jean jacket for about 5 years. I bought it at Chico’s and did not want to give it away, thinking I would eventually find the right look. My church is more casual these days. I wore the jacket with a lacy yoked white top, tucked in at the back, dressier Talbots slacks and leather black booties. Thank you for your uplifting inspiration

  2. Lol. I wore all black today with my leopard print down vest! Great looks, thanks, Kay. And once again, your BFMD is a wonderful encouragement!

  3. Hi Kay, I really appreciated your post today about how to wear mostly black without looking. bring! It was extremely helpful to see what articles of clothing can go together to create thee whole look you want. My friends have noticed. the difference in how I dress & I give you the credit! Also love the Blessed for my Day post.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Love this post! I have my favorite J Jill black pants, several pairs, so that I can mix and match for three of the seasons. And I have several styles of black sweaters and tops. My go to is to change up the scarf for color and I add a sweater jacket or jean jacket. This gets me through so many occasions. I’m now on the hunt for some awesome shoes. I might have to get some “granny boots” as they were called back in the day. I think I had a couple of pairs back then! Lynn in Indiana

  5. I love to wear black, and find that it is actually more flattering than navy for me , and with a softer tone, like pale grey, nearer the face it is so versatile. I do prefer another neutral with black, rather than a bright, (like red), which often looks too contrived to me. Some wonderful looks here – love the one where you are all bundled up!

  6. Hi Kay,
    How about a colorful silk scarf with some black in it to wear with an all black outfit. Are scarves in? If so, could you show us some different ways to tie scarves. Loved your video this week! Thanks!

  7. Fabulous BFMD! I love the outfits where you pair a camel color with black. I am very fair so I have to be careful with wearing a black top, but I do it every now and then because I love the overall look. I will add color with my necklace and earrings, then I add texture with my handbag and/or shoes. I have a grey, black, and off white snake print ruana that I love wearing with a black top and pants. I can’t wait to hear about your weekend. It sounds exciting!

  8. I really like the outfit with the gray sweater, ankle black slacks, and black heels. Looks so classy. Looks so nice on you. I also have always liked a brown blazer or sweater with black pants.