Tuesday, 4 October 2016

How To Wear Black and White without Looking Boring | Polka dot Bandana, Eyelet Top & Denim Trench

Do you like the idea of a black and white outfit but find the reality a little boring?


I must admit that I fall somewhat into this category.  

Black and white can be a tad on the severe side, especially if like me, you're a lover of colour and patterns.  Now don't get me wrong, there are some bloggers who do black and white brilliantly.  Only last month a blogging pal, Jill of Grown Up Glamour, out did herself with her stunning Black and White Overload post.

Bouyed by Jill's black and white brilliance and ever willing to experiment myself, I gave myself a wee challenge; how to add some fun to a monochrome outfit.

Now before you all go er, but Petite Vix ... you're wearing denim!  Yes, I do know this outfit isn't totally a monochrome one! Don't worry, my glasses don't need a change of prescription.

The denim's actually intentional. Besides, denim is an honorary neutral, rather like leopard print and snakeskin are.




With the absence of bright colours to catch the eye, we have to employ other sartorial tricks to make the outfit stand out.

Tips to lift your Black and White Outfit from Stark to Stylish


1. Think about the silhouette you want to create.  Although I'm wearing a loose trench, underneath, the outfit is actually very sleek and slightly tailored with the ankle skimming trousers.  Once you've decided the shape, then decide the ratio of black to white.

2.  Play with fabrics.  Without the contrast and vividness of colours, fabrics and textures will avoid the outfit looking flat. Here, my embroidered eyelet top, is a contrast to the silk feel of the bandana.  

3.  Eye catching accessories or details: a scarf or bandana, unusual jewellery or detailing on one of the key pieces.  Or as Jill did, layer your black and white pieces to create depth.

4. Finish with funky shoes!


Back in the summer, I did a black and white pattern mixing outfit of checks and florals but that had shades of graphite grey and flashes of turquoise.  This time, I wanted to do an Autumn outfit that was a conversation of black and white.

With my black and white pattern mixing outfit, my starting point was the two key pieces of joggers and jacket. But with this outfit, it all started with the polka dot bandana.

I absolutely adore polka dots, spots and dots.  There's just something about the dottiness of them that makes me smile.  My black and white polka dot bandana definitely adds the necessary pizzazz to my outfit.

And heaven knows we all need a good dose of pizzazz in our lives!


There are a few ways I could've worn my bandana; around my bag, wrist or in my hair.  However, it really had to be the obvious one of round my neck, as the polka dots highlight the eyelet top I'm wearing beautifully.  I like the visual play the closeness of the two pieces give.  The bandana is white spots on black and my black cami under my white top gives the illusion of reversing the pattern. Clever huh?

As another blogging pal, Melanie, from a Bag And A Beret said, when she saw a sneaky peak of this outfit on Instagram

'So cool - playing with the dotty positive and negative.'

I liked that phrase so much, I had to use it.  Thanks Melanie!

And as the scarf and top are perfectly complimenting each other, there's really no need to add anything else to the body of the outfit.  It would simply detract from it.  Less in this instance, is decidedly more. 

I'm not going to tell you how long it took me and Tall Brown Fox to get that darn bandana positioned just so with the ends fanned open enough!  

tweak, pull, twist, don't move, right click before the wind blows, oh darn it, start again!

But worth it in the end.  It does look rather spiffy.




Next up was choosing a fun bag and funky shoes.


The suede fringe on my bag adds another texture to the silkiness of the bandana and the embroidery of the top.

My Topshop ghillies from last year are perfect for this outfit.  The criss crossing laces provide visual interest and a pathway to take the eyes up the body.  The openness of the shoe on the instep, breaks up the black on the lower half just enough.


Final Piece


So, that's the black and white part neatly taken care of.  Now why the denim trench?

Well, we're into October now, which for me is when Autumn really starts.  In September I'm still basking in the warmth of the Summer but there's been a subtle change in the air since we've slipped into October, so out came the denim trench.

With the overlay eyelet top and cami I'm warm enough in the torso: the trench is really just for my arms.  Its unfussy design feels just so in keeping with the outfit.  It compliments without distracting.



Marks and Spencer Petite Denim Trench SS16.  There are still a few denim trench coats in the sale such as herehere and here or ASOS Petite Black Trench 
Black cami and Eyelet top (old)
Joy the Store Fringe bag  Boohoo Fringe Bag
And this is the Black Spot Print Bandana I'm wearing, bought only a few days ago
Topshop Ghillies last year.  Seen on the blog here and here with my fringe bage.  Matalan Lace Up Ghillie Sandal or how about Topshop Multi Buckle Shoes

Monochrome Footnote


No more shall I feel black and white is potentially boring. With a pop of polka dots (and a dash of denim), I've managed to magic some of my own monochrome magnificence! 

How do you like to wear your black and white?

38 comments:

  1. I love the way you "made" polka dots with your eyelet top! And the scarf is adorable, and the shoes and denim coat are so chic! You are a master of such fun details!

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    1. Thank you Natalia, that's so kind of you to say that I'm a master of fun details. I usually look for a playful touch in most of my outfits so I was really pleased at how the effect of the real and made up polka dots came out so well!

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  2. This is such a fun outfit, love the little details. Enjoy lovely autumn weather!

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    1. It's so often the little details that seal the deal! It's definitely Autumn now, isn't it? Chilly mornings and all that.

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  3. Well done , with your eye black and white is anything but boring.The black and white polka dot scarf and the eyelet top are such fun elements of this look.I am a big fan of spots they always make me smile.You are right about denim being a neutral. Thanks so much for the mention, glad I got your creative juices flowing.

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    1. You certainly did get my creative juices flowing Jill, your outfit was an utter delight! We're sisters in polka dots you and I! It's lovely that someone else loves them as much as I do!

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  4. You created your own polka dots! love this and yes, denim is always appropriate xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Well, Patti, I'm not that good at cooking but at least I can create my own polka dots! Hee, hee.

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  5. I like the whole "inverse polka dot" you've got going on, pattern play is always a great way to add interest to an outfit.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. I was surprised at how effective the inverse polka dot is. I'm definitely getting more creative on the old pattern play front - all you long time bloggers are such inspirations! I'm just following where you've stepped.

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  6. What a fabulous way to wear black & white Jacqueline!!
    I love the stylish pieces and am truly fond of the neckscarves at the moment!!
    Bravo, bravo to you!!
    jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. Oh, so sweet Jodie, thank you. I don't wear neckscarves like this nearly enough. It's useful to have another trick up your sleeve for those times when a necklace isn't right.

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  7. The bandana is the key here definitely. I'm finding it hard to wear black up top nowadays, it just doesn't suit anymore. I will try a bandana with the black tops in my wardrobe to see if this might work for me.Great look as always Jacqui x
    www.vanityandmestyle.com

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    1. I so know what you mean, Laurie about black on top. I'm always a little wary of black on top myself unless paired with another colour or unless there's some kind of pattern to slightly break up the black, for the same reason. As our skin tone changes with age, it can really drain you. I'd love to see you in a bandana and as you say, it might just be the trick that works!

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  8. Fun prints definitely help black and white from being boring! Love that pretty top and scarf!

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    1. Exactly, a little twist here and there stops it from being boring.

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  9. Love the polka dots! Super cute.


    Xx
    Molly
    www.trendychickadee.com

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    1. Thank you Molly. Polka dots are one of my favourite patterns!

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  10. lovely outfit, and I love particularly how 'the polka dots highlight the eyelet top', yes!, such fabulous textures adding and also fab shoes and bag!. You rock black&White and give great advice too!
    besos

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    1. Thank you Monica, I always stayed away from black and white - probably because I'm more at home in colour but it's good to know that I have it up my sleeve for when I want something a little different!

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  11. Fun look indeed! The eyelet top really creates an interesting effect especially with the neighbouring polka dot scarf!

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    1. Thanks Olga, it was a light bulb moment when I realised that I could create that effect with the eyelet top and the cami underneath.

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  12. I am with you too Jacqueline! I find that black can be tough with my fair skin and I love color, so usually when I wear black and white I wear an item of color. Love the trench and the texture with your eyelette top , the addition of your scarf and those shoes are awesoem my friend!
    thanks for linking up with turning heads tuesday
    jess xx
    www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

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    1. I do so love those shoes, Jess. I wish I had bought two pairs as I'll be sad the day that they wear out!
      Yes, black can be unforgiving for those of use with pale skin. Partly why I added the trench for just a wee hint of colour!

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  13. Hi, I have subscribed but dont get your post. Can you check with your spam please?

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    1. Hi Nancy, oh that's strange. Thanks for subscribing. I shall investigate.

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  14. Hello Jacqueline,
    This my first time reading and responding to your blog. I was compelled to check you out because of a comment you made on Anna's Island Style. We follow many of the same bloggers so I'm familiar with you from your comments (only).
    I just read through some of the comments that Anna received following her recent "blogging confidence glitch"
    I'm so happy that so many of her followers were supportive and that it looks like she'll continue to do her magic. BUT, when you told her that you would smack her with a fish I was absolutely charmed by your sense of humor. You're hilarious Jacqueline!!
    So, henceforth, you have another follower. I'm also delighted by your cute polka dots, sexy shoes and classic trench. Looking forward to more fashion and fun!!

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    1. Hi Marilee, thank you so much for stopping by and saying you'll be a follower! That is so kind. Yes, we all need to support each other on this blogging lark and give each other a little boost when we have a wobble. Ha, ha, I'm glad you found me hilarious, I do sprinkle it about. I can't bear it when people get too po faced about fashion and clothes. We can definitely be serious about it but not po faced! I hope I can continue to make you smile as much as polka dots make me smile.

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  15. Hello Jacqueline,
    This my first time reading and responding to your blog. I was compelled to check you out because of a comment you made on Anna's Island Style. We follow many of the same bloggers so I'm familiar with you from your comments (only).
    I just read through some of the comments that Anna received following her recent "blogging confidence glitch"
    I'm so happy that so many of her followers were supportive and that it looks like she'll continue to do her magic. BUT, when you told her that you would smack her with a fish I was absolutely charmed by your sense of humor. You're hilarious Jacqueline!!
    So, henceforth, you have another follower. I'm also delighted by your cute polka dots, sexy shoes and classic trench. Looking forward to more fashion and fun!!

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  16. DOtty positive and negative. Ha, that is clever!!! I tend to pair black with my louder print skirts (like the clouds, clocks, buses etc) and wear a brooch with it!!!
    Love this outfit, it is so pretty!!x

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    1. I loved the way Melanie phrased it! Very cool. Yes, black looks really good with loud prints. I'll have to do that next time! Thanks Kezzie.

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  17. So, so cute! I really love how your eyelet top mimics your polka dot neck scarf and your lace up flats are fantastic.

    Thanks for linking up with Fabulous Friday! Hope to see you back this week, Jackie.

    Jennie - A Pocketful of Polka Dots

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    1. Thank you Jennie. It's a neat trick how the eyelet top mimics the polka dot scarf.

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  18. Is it me or are your eyes sparkling a little more brightly wearing this fun, full-of-pizzazz polkadot outfit? This is a great look for stirring some fun into those yin-and-yang colors! That duster is just the denim cherry on top! (How's that for mixing metaphors? I can mix metaphors almost as well as you mix prints, which is to say, I do it well! ha ha!)

    Sherry
    http://www.petiteover40.com

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    1. Ha, ha, Sherry, your finesse at mixing metaphors is truly impressive. I bow down to your skill! I think my eyes are sparkling a little more brightly and definitely at your lovely compliments.

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  19. Are you ok my lovely? Seems a long time since you posted!x

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    1. Hi Kezzie, thank you so much for asking. You are a sweetheart. I'll ping you an email later. It's been a little bumpy but I'm still posting albeit on a ad hoc basis. But there's a corker of a one coming this Friday and I've posted today!

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