Fashion & Style

How to accessorize black clothing

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Michelle Obama as guest on The View
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Michelle Obama lent Inaugural fame to White House/Black Market fashions

In the world of fashion, black is back. Perhaps it hearkens to the 1920s with Coco Channel's celebration of the "little black dress." Or perhaps it signifies nostalgia for the 1940s and 50s when the color black was truly en-vogue with the beatnik generation. Perhaps it is merely a backlash against the bright, gaudy and even neon colors that permeated fashions designs of the 70's, 80's and 90's. Whatever the reason, in the year 2010, we have come back to black.

This winter, monochromatic clothing designs in the key colors of black, white, ivory and shades of gray, have been all the rage. Even with the hint of springtime weather in the air, the bold trend of black and white clothing styles appears to linger. This Spring, the conversation among fashionistas is how to accessorize black clothing. 

The resurgence of the colors black and white in the current fashion world may be partly due to the splash made by black and white during last year's Presidential Inauguration.

First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on the popular TV talk show "The View" wearing a stunning, breezy, black and white patterned dress by designer Donna Ricco.  Virtually overnight, boutiques nationwide sold out of that particular dress."

This sudden wave of inaugural fame catapulted black and white clothing to a new level. White House/Black Market stores capitalized on the publicity by displaying lines of monochromatic Inaugural Celebration fashion that included handbags, shoes, jewelry and other accessories. In the months preceding Inauguration, the stores also changed their advertising tag line to the phrase: "From our White House to yours."

Ultimately, black and white clothing, dresses and shoes, have proved popular because they are elegant, sophisticated and versatile. Many customers also consider the monochromatic colors to be slimming. Learning how to accessorize black clothing has been a challenge facing fashionistas who have adopted the monochromatic styles.  

Wondering how to accessorize black clothing? When it comes to jewelry, minimal, well placed flashes of vivid color are key. Consider semi-precious stones including amethyst, rose quartz, amber or turquoise. Gems like diamonds, black diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies or opals will be a particularly eye catching and glamorous way to dress up a black and white outfit. Gold or silver jewelry will also compliment black and white clothing, but use caution mixing the gold and silver! A simple string of pearls can pull together a black and white ensemble in a truly dignified manner.

Eye catching belts and scarves can be wonderful assets to accessorize black clothing. For example, add a deep burgundy belt to a black sweater and skirt for a polished look. A matching handbag and pair of pumps will complete the outfit. Alternating all black or all white garments with the opposite contrasting accessories is another classic option for accessorizing monochromatic fashions. Experimenting with gemstones, handbags and shoes is really the best way to learn how to accessorize black clothing and determine the best colors to suit your complexion and style. 

Ultimately, black is back, and monochromatic fashions are in for 2010. This crisp, classic concept of yin and yang has been re-invigorated by trendy fashion boutiques. Whether you plan to dress up or dress down, monochromatic clothing is a simple, versatile, chic and sophisticated trend that promises to stand the test of time. 

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