How To Wear All Black Without Looking Boring

You may think wearing head-to-toe black is a snooze, but the look can actually be pretty badass (see: Johnny Cash, Catwoman, ninjas). It’s just a simple matter of styling.

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  • To that end, we rounded up some of the best celeb ensembles to help show you the ropes.

  • Nina Garcia
    Photo credit: Stockholm Street Style

    Tip 1: Push For Peplum

    Use the subdued color palette to play with interesting silhouettes like Nina Garcia’s tailored Balenciaga peplum jacket. We also particularly love her Alexander Wang mules, which feel like a fresh alternative to classic pumps.

    Image courtesy of Stockholm Street Style

  • Olivia Palermo
    Photo credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

    Tip 2: All For Furry

    We love how black allows you to go a little over-the-top with your ensemble. Why stop at only one furry piece when you can wear two? For example: Olivia Palermo doubled up with a Club Monaco Kenzie Faux Sweatshirt ($120) and Felder Felder coat at a Club Monaco store opening in New York City.

  • Emmanuelle Alt
    Photo credit: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

    Tip 3: Put A Belt On It

    Black is already slimming, but why not multiply the effect by belting your onyx-hued ensemble to define your waist? Vogue Paris Editor-In-Chief, Emmanuelle Alt, had the right idea outside the S/S 14 Balenciaga show, when she wore a cinched quilted leather jacket. Get more tips on belting your outerwear here.

  • Tip 4: Get Graphic

    A graphic tee like the floral Givenchy top Doutzen Kroes wore to an Interview magazine party is an ideal way to add a dose of cool to your monochrome outfit.

  • Nicole Richie
    Photo credit: Stefanie Keenan/WireImage

    Tip 5: Fringe Benefits

    Nicole Richie is no stranger to an eye-catching outfit. At a David Webb luncheon, the designer and actress paired a Maison Martin Margiela vest with a Wolford Merino Luxe Pullover ($340), Rick Owens coat, David Webb choker, and Celine oxfords for a look that was anything but boring.

  • Gisele Bundchen
    Photo credit: Splash News

    Tip 6: Edgy Is Your Middle Name

    An all-black ensemble lends itself nicely to a downtown look, a la Gisele Bundchen. Copy her off-duty outfit with a graphic sweatshirt (she’s wearing Kenzo), ripped skinny jeans, and a pair of zippered boots.

  • Poppy Delevingne
    Photo credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for ELLE

    Tip 7: Sheer Advantage

    If all-black feels a little too heavy, take a page out of Poppy Delevingne’s style playbook. At ELLE’s 20th Annual Women In Hollywood Celebration, the model tucked a sheer Victorian-inspired blouse into an Andrew Gn skirt for an airy effect.

  • Amber Le Bon
    Photo credit: XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM

    Tip 8: Accessorize With Abandon

    To jazz up an all-basics outfit, simply pile on the accouterments. We’re quite taken with Amber Le Bon’s combination of a scarf, layered necklaces, and statement purse.

  • Tip 9: Bejeweled Is Better

    The Christopher Kane suit Alexa Chung wore to the 30th Annual Night Of Stars event came with jeweled accents, but the idea is easy to imitate by adding your own sparkly pins, such as Kenneth Jay Lane’s Silver-Tone Crystal Beetle Brooch ($32).

  • Tip 10: Add A Statement Piece

    Bondage-inspired leather leggings like Karolina Kurkova’s GLAW Berlin pair would look costume-y in any other color, yet as part of an all-black ensemble the effect is utterly sophisticated. An H&M Dinner Jacket ($50) and Alexander Wang tee completed the model’s look for the Mademoiselle C premiere in New York City.

  • Zina Charkoplia
    Photo credit: Fashion Vibe

    Tip 11: Play With Textures

    The beauty of all-black? You can mix textures without fear of creating an overly busy ensemble. Notice how Zina Charkoplia of Fashion Vibe blended fringe, leather, and suede in one uber chic outfit.

  • 3.1 Phillip Lim Quinn Loafers With Stones ($695)

  • Diane Von Furstenberg Dahlia Stretch-Crepe And Lace Dress ($425)

  • 3.1 Phillip Lim Laser-Cut Crepe Shorts ($395)


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