Black and White Dresses:
Elementary Combo Pleases

Black and white dresses continue to up their game with ever bolder geometrics and colorblocking.

Large abstract floral prints are another high-impact transmutation of this classic combination.

If these colors are too harsh for your complexion, add a scarf, jacket, or shawl in a color that flatters your skin tones.

Black and white goes everywhere, never goes out of style, and create a classy and classic look.

Safe, Chic, Sophisticated, Timeless

Unless we purchase something truly kooky, we can't go wrong when we add black and white garments to our wardrobe.

These two are so elemental they are not truly colors, which are formed by reflecting some light wavelengths and absorbing others.

Black absorbs all light, and white reflects all light.

Bold Patterns Are Focal Point

Bold geometric prints and eye-catching abstracts are perfect for the Sophia, Artemis, and Athena archetypes who don't care much for accessorizing.

These prints and colorblock designs create a focal point. Necklaces and trim may detract more than the add to the ensemble.

Pick Bright Colors for Contrast

If you add a scarf to flatter you skin tone, it should be bright and a sold color. Adding another print or anything busy will create too much going on to be eye-appealing.

A super-nice colorful handbag in a solid color is another way to add a bright contrast to your black-and-white dress.

Black Bottom and Crisp White Shirt Is Classic Uptown Look

A black skirt or pant with a white blouse is the classic city-girl go-everywhere look. This year's menswear shirts often feature a color in a different color.

If you are handy with a needle, rescue an old shirt-blouse with ring-around-the-neck by sticking a cool new facing on the collar.

A dark bottom, be it skirt or slacks (this year's a wide-legged and slouchy) has the advantage of minimizing one’s bottom and drawing the eye to one’s assets.

Be sure your top is snowy white and ironed. Today’s fabrics, with Dacron or Spandex, make it easier than ever to preserve that unwrinkled look all day.

The black bottom and white top combo can be worn with almost any color jacket or sweater.

It looks especially uptown and pulled-together when worn with a Chanel-type collarless jacket trimmed with white braid or white banding up the front edges and around the neckline.

Consider Proportion When Choosing a Print

If you are petite, some of the big, bold geometrics and color-blocking may diminish your delicate figure.

Avoid the big florals. Instead, pick colorblocking that draws attention to your figure assets with white and hides what you wish to conceal with black.

I have noticed some delirously poor colorblock designs on the racks and even on television newscasters.

For example, a design with a narrow strip of white down the bodice and two strips down the skirt panels toward the sides. This makes the bust look smaller and expands the hips. Only a small subset of older women would appreciate this.

Trim Creates Black and White Contrast

Here are some other ways that black and white dresses can be created by adding trim to an otherwise solid fabric:

  • Piping. This is a thin, rolled edging that is often used on the seams of furniture.
  • Borders. This is usually made using a bias seam binding. Cutting on a bias that crosses the grain of the fabric prevents the band from stretching out of shape or developing bubbles.
  • Embroidery. This can be especially eye-catching if the yarn is thick.
  • Scrollwork often has lends an Asian touch to womens fashion clothing. It may be a handrolled spaghetti strap, often in a satin finish, or a manufactured braid.
  • Beading or other embellishments in the contrast color are another way to add detail for this classic womens clothing color combination.

Click on image for product info. Shop Womens Outfits at Appleseeds!

Houndstooth Plaid Is Smartly Traditional

An especially smart black-and-white look is houndstooth plaid, with its jagged, geometric boxes.

Previously a woolen fabric, we now find the design replicated in many manufactured and blended wovens.

Trim may be either black or white. I remember still a houndstooth suit I had as a teenager with stunning white silk lapels.

Wear houndstooth with spectator pumps for a truly classic outfit.

What Shoes to Wear

Black-and-white dress shoes are the perfect accessory.

A white suit with a black top and shoes makes a dramatic statement. It is easy to forget about the eye-catching appeal of this combination.

A white suit is so all-around sharp that we tend to use the pristine background to show off colored blouses – red, green, orange, and stripes and prints of every hue.

Black accessories may be worn during colder seasons, especially if the print background is dark.

Do not wear black shoes with lightweight black and white dresses during spring and summer.

You may wear black patent leather shoes during spring. Strappy black patent leather sandals may even be appropriate through summer if the dress features an especially bold print with a lot of black in it.

The Labor Day Rule for White Accessories

Do not wear white shoes once the weather gets cold. The traditional date is Labor Day.

Even if you have a winter white suit, it is not appropriate to wear white shoes with it. Bone may work, so long as it is very close to the same color as the suit.

Contrasting accessories may be used – red, lime, navy, and shocking pink are especially nice.

In summary, black and white dresses, suits and ensembles that use this color combination are dramatic and classic.

Keeping shoes and handbag in the same color should consider the season and fabric weight. You also may alleviate the starkness of this combination with brightly colored accessories.

Red can function almost as a neutral, because it can be teamed with so many other colors, including black, white, tan, yellow, blue, and purple. Red dresses project power, sex appeal, and confidence.

Long white dresses have been a fashion fave for the past several summers. They can make fair-skinned older women look washed out and some styles may be too ingenue.

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