Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Questions, questions

Last week I decided I was going to defy all of the color laws I have always known and pair a black tshirt with a brown skirt. "Screw it," I thought, "this will look awesome!" And honestly, it would have if the skirt didn't hit me in exactly the wrong place. Which is really a shame because I've loved that skirt for years and yes, it's kind of polyester, and yes, I have to safety pin it closed so that the front will lay flat but... okay, I'm getting rid of the skirt. You convinced me.

I always thought never mix black and brown, shoes/belt/purse must match, black stockings with black shoes, etc. Thank god for Stacy and Clinton and their "color, pattern, texture, shine" mantra. I don't always stick to those rules but when I do want to shake things up wardrobe-wise, I find them helpful.

The first rule I broke was black stockings with black shoes. I think it just looks matronly on me. I am SO TIRED of sheer black pantyhose. In summer, I like a bare leg. In the winter I actually prefer pantyhose that have a little bit of shine or shimmer to them, because that makes me feel like Tina Turner. And honey, when you feel like Tina Turner you can do anything. The next rule to go was shoes/belt/purse matching. I'm now anti-matchy-matchy. It's way more fun to mix metallic[a]s. I only usually wear a belt with dresses or with the curvy jeans I got from the Gap which fit my lovely and robust hips but tend to slip from my waist.

Just as there is no perfect partner, I have found that there are no perfect jeans... for under $60.

Now I am excited to explore the brave world of brown and black together! I am thinking I will try again this week with my brown capri pants (you heard me: capri pants) (I am short and they look cute on me) and a black tshirt. Maybe a patterned black tshirt. ooh WATCH OUT!

But I have a question for you, my dear readers: Seriously? Are we doing navy and black together? Isn't that, what is the word I'm looking for... crazy?! Is it? Or should I just try it and see what happens? Will I hate everything and feel like I'm wearing a sign that says "Cannot Dress Self" all day? Do you do navy and black? Inquiring mind wants to know!


  1. so my navy sweater, black camisole and gray pants are breaking all sorts of rules? damn.

  2. I've done brown and black before, but never black and navy successfully. Go for it!

  3. Navy and black can work together if they're put together very, very, very carefully. That is, if the outfit is simple, if the clothes are well-made and fit you perfectly -- and I mean PERFECTLY perfectly. And are the perfect clothes for your shape. As you cover, this is something you should always aim for, but in pairing things like navy and black there's just no room for error. The clothes should be relatively sophisticated too. It works best if one is an accent color: a beautiful navy dress with a black belt and shoes. Generally, I think, in this case black has to be the accent. I can't think of many ways a black dress can be offset by a navy belt. And they should be the only colors taking part in this outfit. No red or yellow scarf or anything like that.

    The trick for something like navy and black is that the only way it will work is if the outfit reads as chic. Then the color combination will look intentional, not haphazard. If you're wearing black pants and a navy t-shirt, that's probably not chic. Dress that doesn't fit perfectly -- not chic. Capri pants (sorry, Meg) -- not chic. It really needs to be well-done and long-lined to work, and this is most likely with simple pieces in good fabrics that fit well.

  4. Of the color pairing rules that I learned as a child, red with pink is the only one that I think occasionally works. I personally hate brown with black. I think it makes people look like piles of dead leaves. But I get that it's a thing people do now and no amount of my premature old lady rage is going to stop it. Black with navy looks to me like you got dressed in the dark and couldn't tell they were different colors. Or that you like looking like a giant bruise. Neither of which seem flattering. But I am hardly a stylish lady, so people should probably not listen to me.

  5. I have only dipped my toe into navy and black, but here is what opened my mind to it: think about all the colors you don't hesitate to pair with jeans.

    Now, go forth and look at blue/navy in new ways!

  6. In a theater large enough, navy shows up black on stage. I can't tell you how much navy/black combinations I look at sometimes. Before wearing out, let me see it. Oh, and I'm totally buying the blue shoes.