Black—the color that connotes power, elegance, and mystery. It’s the color of pagan sorceresses, French dames, and Beatniks alike. But there are ways to wear black without seeming like you just stepped out of a costume party. Here are some surefire suggestions:
*Wear it sparingly: The deadliest sin of sporting black is sporting too much of it. As slimming as black may be, it can tremendously unflattering in other respects. Excessive black makes olive skin look sallow and pale skin look cadaverous. Achieve the same slimming effect that black offers with fresh alternatives, like navy blue, chocolate, deep emerald, and dark burgundy. These colors also match black extremely well, as do red, white, and sunshine yellow. In fact, all colors except for pastels go with black.
*Accessorize accordingly: It’s easy to look too Halloweenish in black with the wrong accessories, so consider something before you just throw it on. Smarten black up with classic gold and silver jewelry—nothing overtly trendy or shockingly medieval. A scarf in another color, such as a regal jewel tone, is a timeless addition to any black ensemble. Cute shoes punch up a black outfit, too, but steer clear from anything clunky, too chunky, or blatantly Goth. Instead, go for girly stilettos, ballet flats, or stylish sandals.
*Choose shoes in another color: Black shoes are too easy to fall back onto. Spruce up a black dress with gray boots. Red or even purple stilettos are splendid eye-poppers. But if you do decide to wear black shoes after all, don’t pair them with black hosiery and a black a skirt. Remember to incorporate enough color into the rest of the outfit.
*Avoid heavy make-up: Keep your face subtle. Choose to accentuate either the mouth or eyes—not both. Bright eye shadow should be paired with neutral lipstick; big red lips should accompany light mascara. Bright eye shadow and red lips in combination will seem too theatrical. Most importantly, avoid wearing too much dark make-up and avoid black lipstick altogether. Black nail polish is only appropriate with lighter make-up in the face, like brown eyeliner only.
*Pair funky hosiery with a black dress: Of course the little black dress is a classic, but classics can quickly become boring if worn too predictably. Textured tights, fun knee socks, colorful leggings, or legwarmers can add an interesting twist to any black dress. Plain black hosiery, however, with a black dress is too much black. But if you can’t afford to buy new hosiery right now, break up the black with a different color, in the form of a belt, scarf, bold necklace, or shoes.
Black doesn’t only belong to subculture worshippers! Bring it out into the mainstream and rock it with great accessories and other colors in the mix.