The other night presented me with a situation I found both challenging and slightly unnerving; for the first time in a long time, I was not The Fashion Person in my group. Some friends and I went out to Leicester Square for the night and it became plainly obvious I was the odd one out when I showed up as the only person not wearing head to toe black, and I mean HEAD to TOE.
Now I have a tricky relationship with the whole black-clothing-only thing. Just the other day, Vogue’s Anna Wintour released a 73 questions video in which she openly slammed wearing head-to-toe black, and I have had a fairly disastrous experience of my own. A few months ago a friend and I attended Lorde’s concert at Shepherds Bush, and as a homage to the lady herself we mutually decided on wearing all black for the occasion. The problem’s with wearing all black in London in the middle of summer are numerous and frankly, should have been obvious. The suffering endured on that tube ride will never accurately be expressed in words.
The other problem was the type of black I had chosen to wear. Whilst my friend had picked a sheer, loose black blouse over black skinny jeans, I had gone rather hell for leather (quite literally) with my leather black boots, leather cambridge satchel and leather biker jacket, over a black roll neck and skinny jeans. I thought I looked chic and city-wise – I was wrong. I couldn’t handle the heat and changed into a white t-shirt soon after, and after recently coming across a photo of me taken that morning I thank God I did. The head to toe black DID NOT WORK PEOPLE!!!! With my silver hair I just looked like a floating head surrounded by black nothingness, as all my clothing blended together into one big dark mass. The only part of me you could see, other than my head (even my neck was fully covered) were my hands, which always manage to disappear in photo’s anyway.
Anyway, we make mistakes in order to learn from them and grow, which brings me to today’s topic – How To Wear Head-To-Toe Black (and not look like a floating head)!
Lesson 1 – It’s Easier For Women
And there’s a very good reason why. All black works best when you break it up with little flashes of skin, as shown here on professional Head-To-Toe Black wearer, Kate Moss. Notice how the neckline is low cut and rounded, elongating her body? See, men just can’t do this. Sometimes they do and they really, really shouldn’t because whilst it looks elegant and sophisticated on women, on guys it looks plain trashy.
Lesson 2 – Consider Your Hair Colour
One of the reasons it works so well for Kate (apart from the fact she’s a supermodel, obis is that her hair is always that perfect warm blonde, and generally worn loosely flowing. When you have that halo of brightness around your face it provides the perfect juxtaposition to the darkness of your outfit. Take note of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen who, to me, have the look completely nailed time after time.
Lesson 3 – Mix Up The Textures
When all the clothing is the exact same colour, the things that make pieces really stand out is the texture. For example, a black turtleneck with black skinny jeans looks uniform-y, whereas a black turtleneck with black leather trousers looks modern, sporty and interesting. Girls; fur! Black is the most understated way to wear fur, but let’s keep it faux, yeah?
Lesson 4 – Accessories Don’t Count
Here’s the thing about wearing an outfit that’s all black; it can be the perfect neutral backdrop on which to showcase your statement accessories, whether they be a bag, shoes or a monogrammed cape a la Burberry. Just look to street-style icon Kyle Anderson to see how it’s done. P.S. Jewellery, especially rose gold, is ALWAYS a winner worn against black.
Lesson 5 – Graphic’s Break Up The Black
Just because you’re wearing head-to-toe black doesn’t mean you can’t cheat with a bit of a print. Sweatshirts or jumper’s with a graphic detail, especially in white, look really chic and elevate the darkness, drawing focus to the design and making it stand out.
Now to finish off, let’s all remind ourselves exactly why the Olsen twins really do reign supreme in the head-to-toe-black dressing department.
OH yeah. They got this. And now, you do too! What’s your favourite way to wear head-to-toe black?