Black on Black: 11 Style Panel tips for how to wear black in new and unique ways

Black on Black

Black. In fashion, the colour is both a classic and a classic fall back. Black looks good on anyone and will always go with any outfit, so no wonder most of us choose it as a safe and comfortable look on those days when we can’t find anything to wear. However, as is the case, black on black can sometimes look stale and even overwhelming, even if you’re wearing just one black piece. However, leave it to our Style Panel this week to tear down that notion and show us how to wear black clothing in the most interesting ways.

For Fall 2012, many designers showed us how to wear black in a multitude of ways. From the ‘90s-inspired studs at Versace to the more elegant black lace at Salvatore Ferragamo, the darkest shade was used to make outfits stand out with edge and decadence.

The ladies of our Style Panel took cue from the runways, but have done so in such unique ways that no two girls have even slightly similar looks. New Style Panel members Jacquelyn Son of Style Worthwhile, Deanne McRae of Threadbare and Stephanie Sterjovski of all took risks by going for (almost) all-black outfits, but in the end they each looked completely modern and on trend. Black is boring? Not this time.

Question 30: Show us how to wear black in unique and different ways. Read the answers now! »


Black on Black Deanne McRae

Deanne McRae, 22
Mississauga | Threadbare

An easy way to avoid looking like you’re wearing a cat suit when going all black is to pair articles of clothing that have different fabrics or textures. My chiffon blouse contrasts against my jacket and skirt which have a thicker consistency. In the same vein, leather shoes against knit socks will cause the pairing to have an obvious separation. The reason I chose to forego full-on tights to keep the legs warm is because showing skin from the thigh to the knee creates a break in the hue and opens up the outfit, creating distinct lines for the skirt, jacket, and socks through the contrast of the black on white of my winterized legs. Finally, a chunky necklace paired with a stack of bracelets brings a little shine to the outfit and the brown-red leather purse reminds us that there is colour to be found in the world and that winter is only temporary.

Black on Black KD Faustino

KD Faustino, 28
Calgary | The Girl With the Messy Hair

This year black has been reinvented in so many ways–black with pastels, black with acid hues, black with different textures and my personal choice, black with print. Snakeskin was big all season long and what better way to incorporate it with your outfit than to pair it with a fail-safe colour such as black. If you pair a comfort colour with something that is trendier, the comfort colour in itself becomes reinvented and refreshed too. Add some wide-brimmed hat, a nonchalant pullover, combat boots and bam, instant Harajuku street style Punk Lolita look!

KD’s wearing: Shirt, thrifted. Skirt, Flirty Skirt. Boots, Aldo. Hat, Le Chateau. Watch, Michael Kors. Necklace, Forever 21. Sunglasses, D&G.

Black on Black Jacquelyn Son

Jacquelyn Son, 20
Vancouver | Style Worthwhile

Black is clean, polished and definitely a go-to colour if I’m struggling for what to wear. Here, I tried to make an all-black outfit look less boring by paying more attention to unique detailing and materials. I styled an unusual asymmetrical black top over black wax-coated skinnies. To add a subtle dark pop of colour, I threw on a dark green blazer to finish the look.

Jacquelyn’s wearing: Blazer, Forever 21. Shirt, Forever 21. Jeans, Forever 21. Boots, Aldo.

Black on Black Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson, 19
Calgary | Amy Flying a Kite

I’ve always been drawn to playful colors and prints. If a dress has flowers, an animal print, and/or bright colors like lilac or yellow, you’ll probably see me wearing it. Black however is hard to come by in my wardrobe.

This weeks challenge sounds easy enough. Wear black & put some sugar and spice into it! For somebody who doesn’t wear a lot of black, it was trickier than it sounds. I tried to liven up my jumper by pairing it with bright colors. If you’re afraid of black because it’s typically used to mute colors or hide you, fear no more! Even the darkest black isn’t dark enough to keep bright reds from standing out. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and you wear black every day, add some color because it’s fun!

I added the black boots for symmetry and to keep me from appearing like a walking light bulb! (very important to remember when adding brights to your look.)

Black on Black Alyssa Lau

Alyssa Lau, 20
Edmonton | The Ordinary Peoples

Black has been my daily uniform for the past two months or so. I don’t even know what it is about black that makes me want to shut out every colour out there, but whatever it’s doing, it’s working. Back to the challenge, I like to mix up different textures when my outfit is monochrome (i.e., velvet, mesh, faux leather, you name it). It makes the outfit more complicated than it really is, y’know?

Alyssa’s wearing: Top,, Leather jacket, ASOS, Leggings,, Boots, Doc Marten.

Black on Black Cara McLeay

Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair

I love wearing black.  As a colour I used to shy away from, it has now become a staple in my wardrobe. You can almost always find me with a black purse, and when I am in a rush, I love tossing on a black leather jacket–it makes getting ready that much easier and it literally goes with everything. By adding a sparkly necklace or a fun printed top to the look, you can keep from looking dreary and have fun with it!

Cara’s wearing: Leather jacket, Muubaa. Top, Gap. Necklace, Free People. Bag, Marc by Marc Jacobs. Heels, Zara.

Black on Black Stephanie Sterjovski

Stephanie Sterjovski, 22
Toronto | Stephanie Sterjovski

It’s hard to consider black as a trend, as it is such a classic. With the whole colour craze, I am pleased to get back to black, and love that it has become refreshed. The best way to achieve a monochromatic look is to introduce different textures. I love this jersey peplum top, juxtaposed against the leather leggings; two trends that look very flattering together. I played up this clean look with some gold accessories, a mix of rose and yellow gold.

Stephanie’s wearing: Top, Topshop. Pants, Forever 21. Sunglasses, Prada. Heels, Zara. Clutch, Tory Burch. Watch, Michael Kors. Bracelets, BFREND, Stella & Dot.

Black on Black Kristin MacDonald

Kristin MacDonald, 27
Fredericton, NB | Doll Parade

With neons gracing the forefront of street style blogs and patterns coming into play on every runway I see, it can be easy to forget about the classics. Dabbling in and out of trends is piles of fun, but I have always come to find that there is nothing more flattering and eternal than an all black outfit. Wearing all black never fails to make me feel polished and put together, as well as confident that I’m doing something by keeping it simple. Classic, well-crafted pants paired with a simple little black peplum seemed like a great start, but the small little embellishments are what made this outfit feel just perfect. A bright fuschia lip. A tried and trusted pair of sunnies. A spiked headband. A searing hot latte. Pairing those classic blacks with what feels most perfectly you is a recipe you can trust time and time again.

Black on Black Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

I love wearing black, and not just because it’s slimming, but also because whether it is a high or low-end item, black always looks expensive. Black clothing can be a go-to for events, and Christmas parties, and rightfully so because black always looks elegant and is effortless to pull off. I like to mix things up a bit, as I love wearing my American Apparel open back body suit with printed skirts for an updated LBD look. I refresh the look by layering coloured socks with my shinny black patent leather peep toe shoes, and then I mix and match various coloured cardigans and/or leather jackets on top depending on the event.  I like to break up black items by wearing different textures, so that it doesn’t all look the same even if it is all the same colour.

Kayla’s wearing: Body Suit, American Apparel. Skirt, Gap. Socks, American Apparel. Pumps, Marc Fisher.

Black on Black Krystin Lee

Krystin Lee, 26
Toronto | Suburban Faux-Pas

Black isn’t a colour I often resort to. While I’ve certainly gained an appreciation for its understated power in recent years, I’ve always gravitated towards bold hues and patterns. This week’s question really pushed me to assess the amount of ‘black’ in my wardrobe and to appreciate how well each item can work together. While my clothing items and accessories belong to the same colour family, I mixed materials with rocker accents including a studded belt and my Rocco bag for a dash of personality. I added a smidge of colour to an all black ensemble with a pair of oxblood tights to break up a complete monochromatic look.

Krystin’s wearing: Jacket, Danier. Dress, BCBG. Belt, Forever 21. Tights, Joe Fresh. Boots, Aldo. Bag, Alexander Wang. Watch, Michael Kors.

Black on Black Barbara Solomon
Photography by Trevor Negin

Barbara Ann Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog

When in doubt, buy it in black; that’s how I’ve always looked at shopping, though I find myself attracted to prints and colours more often than black clothes. Styling an all black outfit is a great way to keep it safe for any event this holiday season. This season is all about textures like velvets, knits, and furs. Wearing all black also is a great time to wear some beautiful jewellery, like a statement necklace, or some amazing earrings.

Barbara’s wearing: Sweater, Vintage. Fur, Vintage. Unitard, American Apparel. Belt, Rudsak. Skirt, Urban Outfitters. Shoes, Jeffrey Campbell. Necklace, Vintage.