Fashion Matters: Black or Vehemently Not Black

No matter how much you pay for your clothes, shoes and accessories, you can’t buy style. Sorry, ladies (and select gentlemen), but if style can’t be bought, that means it has to be created.  To have style is to wear clothes that represent your Self and wear them in a way that gives (shocked) passers-by an idea of who you are. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s face it, we all do. So if you know you’re going to be judged by what you wear and how you wear it, why not let your style make a statement?  Whether you like color-blocking, mixed prints, earth tones or basic black, even the most mundane wardrobe decisions, like those regarding color and texture, can provide a wealth of information about a person.

This is my first post, so I’m going to take you inside (a small portion of) my closet and use some of my favorite outfits to tell you a little bit about myself.  Let me start by establishing my credibility a little bit—I grew up reading fashion magazines and watching the (runway) shows with my mom on Full Frontal Fashion and every other NYC-TV network. I worked in fashion marketing for Teen Vogue and Levis and most recently, I created my own line of art-jewelry (you’ll soon learn that I hate most jewelry).  I love art and art history, and have formal training in the latter. I believe that these fields are completely intertwined with fashion. I also believe that you don’t need to establish credibility to have style. You do, however, need to be self-aware. For me, that means working with a mantra and reminding myself of what I want to achieve when I get dressed every morning.

My personal fashion mantra is: black or vehemently not black.

As you can tell by my name, I’m a New Yorker, and true to my heritage as such, I love the color black.  Great artists from Vermeer to Rembrandt to Goya all appreciated black as the richest and most unstable of colors. Whether you appreciate their art or not, you can follow their lead (and mine) and always go for basic (but not boring) black.  It’s versatile, flattering and acceptable in every social situation. Very dark colors, in solids, such as chocolate brown and navy blue, as well as neutral shades, such as heather gray and winter white, count as black for me. Black is the only color I feel I can get away with wearing from head to toe, but these quasi-blacks come pretty close. I have styled some great looks that are mostly blue, brown or gray. But this is where your personal style comes in. You can do head to toe navy blue, with the exception of bright red lips and turquoise shoes. (That actually sounds like a great outfit—someone please do it, and post a picture! I don’t have turquoise shoes…)

Maison Scotch Fitted Blazer: http://www.sereneorder.com/womens-c2/jackets-c35/maison-scotch-blazer-fitted-p41674

Crochet Zip Dress: http://www.peacocks.co.uk/product/index.jsp?productId=4908871&cid=awin

Marc by Marc Jacobs High Riding Boots: http://www.ssense.com/women/product/marc_by_marc_jacobs/high_riding_boots/39440

H & M Cable-knit Tights: http://www.hm.com/gb/product/93964?article=93964-A

 

Black Phobia:

Listen up ladies, especially my lovely West Coasters, the color black does not equate formal.  I know that when it’s spring/summer all year round, you’re used to wearing spring/summer clothes all year round—bright colors, pastels, florals make me cringe, but they’re more than acceptable between April and August, in fact they’re trendy (especially here in Amherst). But black is in all year round. If you feel like you’re going to a funeral, that’s okay—we can ease into black slowly. How about incorporating some navy blue, forest green, rust and burgundy into your wardrobe? Once you tackle the autumnal earth tones, you’ll be ready for basic black, gray and, gasp, winter white, but we’ll conquer these nuances in later posts…

And now, for the “vehemently not black” part of my mantra. If I’m not wearing black, then I’m not wearing black- I will wear every other color of the rainbow, but not black (well, maybe as an accent, but never as the focal point of my outfit). If you’re not going basic, go bold! Wear mixed prints, neons, four different variations of flannel & varied textures! Anything in between is just boring. If boring is your personal style, that’s great, but why not kick it up a notch? Take boring to a whole new level of boring—then it’ll be ironic and interesting, and inherently, not boring, anymore!

Here’s a sample of a very basic color-blocked outfit, inspired by pieces in my closet. There are a few options for you to decide on:

Cobalt Mustang Blazerhttp://www.dorothyperkins.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=33053&storeId=12552&productId=3239087&langId=-1&viewAllFlag=false&sort_field=Relevance&beginIndex=1&pageSize=20&categoryId=229998&parent_categoryId=208600&refinements=category~[270997|229998]&noOfRefinements=1

 Costume National Dress Pants: http://store.costumenational.com/item/store/COSTUME+NATIONAL/tskay/B9BA1227/rr/1/cod10/36267531NI/areaid/sts/

 Equipment Daddy With Jewel Bright White: http://www.oxygenboutique.com/product/equipment/daddy-with-jewel-bright-white/3602/

Mulberry Fabulous Finches T-Shirt: http://www.mulberry.com/#/storefront/c6227/6644/moreviews/

H & M Black Tank: http://www.hm.com/gb/product/91163?article=91163-C

All Saints Twins Vest: http://it.us.allsaintsarchive.com/women/graphic_t-shirts/allsaints-twins-vest/?colour=60&category=465

 Zara Patent Leather Ballerina Flats: http://www.zara.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/us/en/zara-us-W2011/118154/386619/PATENT%2BLEATHER%2BBALLERINA

 Marc by Marc Jacobs Women’s Love 615120 Jelly Mouse Flats: http://www.endless.com/Marc-Jacobs-Womens-615120-Jelly/dp/B004AYCPN2

 

Here’s a sample of a mixed-print outfit, inspired by Jia Mizell ’13:

 

J.Crew Striped Jersey T-Shirt: http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/172819

Wool & Cashmere Blended Sweater Skirt: http://www.brownsfashion.com/Product/Focus/Focus/Clothing/Skirts/Wool_and_cashmere-blend_sweater_skirt/Product.aspx?p=3211111

TOMS Classic Stripe Rope Sole Slip On: http://www.toms.com/womens/classics?view=all

FENDI New Silvana Leather Shoulder Bag (Yellow): http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446414014&afsrc=1&site_refer=GGLBASE001&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=8034164524487

Daily Candy Shoulder Bag (Red): http://www.modcloth.com/Modcloth/Womens/Accessories/Bags/-Dandy-Candy-Shoulder-Bag