Black. We all wear it. Our sports heroes are defined by it and there is much commentary as to how much we covet. That said, there is no escaping that black clothing is easy to style, a blessing for travel and effortlessly chic.
So, if like me, you need an industrial torch to navigate your wardrobe, try these tips to give your black wardrobes an energy boost.
Embellish me: This is the season to turn up the bling. Jackets for winter are being encrusted, embroidered and emblazoned with decoration like little works of art. If you were ever a closet embroiderer - let this is your coming-out party. Raid your children's cupboards and layer up their badges with your own mother's finest to create some serious jacket zing.
Bridget wears Paula Ryan Bling Bomber, $840
(Photo by Jane Usher for NZ House & Garden magazine).
Brighten up your lipstick. Head to the cosmetics counter in search of red and fuchsia. Blue-based reds look best with black. To prevent colour bleeding, moisturise your lips first before applying red pencil over the whole lip. My new go-to colour for everyday is Lancome Rouge Absolu Lipstick, $60, in Rose. This cream based formula is easy-to-wear and won't dry out your lips.
Add gold or silver accents: Choose your base metal and match it accordingly.
Gold accessories come different shades so keep within your metallic limits. Avoid mixing brassy golds with champagne golds etc. A stylish silver or gold belt on an all-black outfit will pull you together in an instant. Hold on to your good belts as they will always come back into fashion should they go out of style.
Paula Ryan Hook and Oval Belt in Gold, $215
Paula Ryan Calzere Boots, $550
Make a statement with bright reading glasses: The perfect pair can add so much personality to your look, you would be forgiven for wanting a library of glasses to create a different mood for every day. Have fun with your frames and choose the quirkiest pair that your confidence will allow. If in doubt, think of 90+ year old Iris Apfel - the New York socialite whose incredible look was defined by her glasses.
Trelise Cooper Red Velvet Readers, $69.95
Develop a wardrobe of scarves: Like coats, buy the highest quality you can afford. Avoid acrylic scarves at all costs. Go for wool, silk, cashmere or nothing at all. Acrylic won't keep you warm at night and will only make you perspire under the collar. Consider matching your scarf exactly to your coat it makes the look complete especially when worn with an all-black outfit.
Luxury Cashmere Company grey marl medley scarf, $235.
Join the navy. You will have noticed shades of navy and indigo creeping their way back into fashion. After years of being the colour of conservative, navy is making a stylish comeback. Softer against the skin than black, it comes with added benefits as we age. The only clunker is that it requires a complete wardrobe shift. No matter what anyone tells you navy and black do not belong together. Navy requires tan, chocolate, navy or other coloured accessories. So once you cross that bridge a the world of navy so too will your handbags, scarves and shoes.
Bird and Knoll 'Shades of Navy' scarf, $250.
First published in Metropol magazine, April 27, 2017