08/24/2015 12:13 EDT | Updated 08/24/2016 05:59 EDT

How to Incorporate the Colour Black into Your Look

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close portrait of an elegant business woman staring thoughtfully away to the left in an urban scene

Black is slimming and the go to colour in many of our wardrobes, so it's easy to wear, right? Not so fast. If your clothing is ill fitting then it won't look good, no matter the colour. In addition, black can easily wash you out and (gasp!) make you appear older and even (insert another gasp here) make you look frumpy. Think of all the famous women in history who really made the little black dress. Close your eyes for a second, can you picture the dress exactly or rather was it the whole ensemble including accessories, hair and attitude that made them a classic?


image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub


The Cut. Let's give black the respect it deserves. Black is, after all, a colour that exudes drama, elegance and mystery. This is a colour that protects us from the outside world (think hiding a little bit of weight gain) but because of this we need to learn to master its strength and use it to make ourselves feel fabulous. The key is to show some skin. Be honest with yourself, if black washes you out then it's probably a good idea to wear pieces that aren't directly next to your face. Also, a black on black on black outfit can look boring and drab. Don't be afraid of mixing textures and looking for soft fabrics that drape beautifully on your body and accentuate your best features. Give yourself shape. Instead of reaching for over-sized pieces define a waist with a belt or opt for an off the shoulder top or an open neckline.

Accessories. Since black is the absence of light and white is associated with light, a string of pearls, a la classic Coco Chanel, will always make a statement. For a less formal but just as sophisticated look try wearing a dramatic statement necklace. Drop earrings will bring more colour to your complexion and are also an excellent choice. Of course, jewelry isn't your only option as tying a scarf around your neck or in your hair will also have that brightening effect, as will a beautiful hat.

Shoes. An all black outfit paired with black shoes can be a little much and you risk looking like you are on your way to a funeral. An eye-catching pair of heels or flats can change all of that. There's nothing more dramatic than a pair of red stilettos with a LBD or an expertly tailored suit. That being said, any colour will do, just make sure to add some glam, think sparkle, for night.

Hair. Black is an elegant colour and both your hairstyle and colour should reflect that. Of course, we can't all be expected to get a professional blow out every day (wouldn't that be a great treat) but we can make sure that our hairstyle is flattering. If you colour your hair then take the time to ensure that you aren't going too long between salon visits or at home colouring. There are so many amazing products that will help keep your colour looking fresh and shiny that there really isn't any excuse.

Makeup. Just like you would adapt your make up for an occasion, you will need to be selective with your makeup choices. You will want to start with a luminous light reflecting foundation and concealer if needed, so that the intensity of your outfit doesn't draw the light from your face. Play with colour by using deep plums and greys when creating a smokey eye. When wearing all black, don't forget your lips as they need some colour and shine. For day, a pink lip is ideal and for night you can't go wrong with a bold red.


image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub

So go ahead and wear black, just remember to mix it with different colours and textures and a whole lot of attitude, because as they say, "black is the new black".


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