We don’t always want to wear light or pastel colours in the summer, particularly if like me, you’re very fair-skinned. They can make you look washed out. But black can often drain what colour you have, particularly if like me, you’re very fair-skinned. So what is one supposed to do?
I thought I’d show you how I style a summer outfit where the two main pieces are black. It also gives me the chance to debut wearing a skirt; a first on the blog! I’ve realised that up until now it’s been all trousers and dresses!
I kept 3 key points in mind; light material, one main counterpoint colour to the black – in this case, teal – and chose non-black, non-matching but colour co-ordinated accessories.
Below I am doing my best ‘Angelina Jolie’, red carpet look. Ah, have I got your attention? You didn’t see that coming, did you? A tasteful slit at the side. Not quite as sky-high as Ms Jolie’s was but then she was wearing a sumptious black velvet, floor length number at the 2012 Oscars and I’m just wearing a black linen skirt in my back garden!
As temperatures rise, linen is so comfortable to wear and feels soft
against my skin. This skirt is a dearly beloved one. To show how dearly beloved, I bought it when Anne Brooks Petite was still in existence. When I had my old office job it was trotted out alot so it was good to whip it out of the
wardrobe again to style it with the jacket and hey presto, I’ve an
outfit that will work for many occasions in the summer;
freelance business meetings, lunches with girlfriends, trips to the
I don’t normally tuck tops into skirts or trousers as I’m so short-waisted but the jacket and the skirt are just the right proportions on me as a petite that I can get away with it. Plus, by tucking in the cami top I can show off the belt that comes with the skirt. Ivory discs and black beads, threaded on cord. Along with the slit, they break up the block of black. With fun details like these, you avoid the funereal look that wearing black can evoke.
But let’s move onto the main event of this outfit; this darling Mandarin style jacket. I fell in love with it when I stumbled across it on e-bay. The quality is superb – to be expected from Monsoon – but I sure didn’t pay a Monsoon price. You take a chance online when buying just from a photograph but this had been well looked after and was barely worn. It’s also a quirky twist on the current kimono trend.
Here, black is a great canvas for the delicate, oriental inspired embroidery. Teal, olive green, blush pink and amber coloured threads swirl gracefully over the jacket’s front panels, the mandarin collar and the sleeve edges. The oriental theme carries through to the loop and
knot ties which fasten the jacket.
I like clothes that give you options
and this is a versatile little number. Do the jacket up and pair it with cigarette pants for a sleek evening look. Perfect for a petite. Then hand me a Blushing Dragon Cocktail as we watch the sun set.
All the accessories I’ve chosen are colour accents from the jacket which lightens the overall look of the outfit. I’ve had this necklace so long I can’t even remember where I bought it from. The metallic strands, and coloured beads tone with the embroidery and the cami top. It’s just enough detail at the neckline and doesn’t compete with the jacket’s design. A more ‘statement’ necklace would have felt too fussy and big with the mandarin collar.
Both the bag and the bracelets are thrifted. The centre of the flowers on the jacket are an orange-y/brown so I picked out these two amber bracelets to wear which were bought from a local charity shop.
The bag was a steal at £3.99 and you can bet it wasn’t that price when it was originally sold in Next! When working to a budget, it’s so satisfying buying thrifted items in such mint condition. The bag’s an unusual colour in that it’s not quite silver, not quite gold. I call it metallic blush! The big hoops attaching the straps to the bag, give it slight 60’s feel.
Jacket (Monsoon), Bag (Next) and Bracelets all pre-loved or thrifted
Teal Cami Top: Monsoon (old)
Black Linen skirt: Anne Brooks Petite (old)
I previously wore the wedges (New Look, old) in my Tropical Maxi Dress post here
Easy tips for styling black in summer that work for me are:
mandarin style jacket or kimono
chose a bright or dramatic colour to wear in one or two key areas – here it was cami top and shoes – that co-ordinates with the jacket or kimono.
lighter materials for the bottom half work best – linen, cotton
accessorize with colour or metallics – jewellery, bag, shoes.
Do you wear black in summer? How do you style it in the warmer months?
Finally, did I whet your appetite with the mention of the Blushing Dragon Cocktail?
Ingredients: Vodka + Cointreau + lemon juice + strawberries + raspberries + blueberries + mangoes
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