Friday, June 13, 2008

Mail Bag: Accessorizing a Black and White Print

Hi Kasmira,

I'm Fiona, a 18-year-old high school senior. I've got this Forever 21 dress in a severe (hmm, how do I say it?) print, the prints are black-and-white swirls/florals. I don't know what to wear with it without distracting from the prints. Colorful heels might be too loud, while black heels are too monochromatic? What do you think?

PS I'm a great fan of your site! I aspire to be like you :)

Like you, the first accessories I think to pair with this dress are either black or bright. Both are valid options. I assume you are going to wear this dress more than once, and would like to try some different styling options.

Safe. Accessorize in black or white. There is nothing wrong with pairing this dress with black heels and a black bag. In fact, that might be the route you’d choose if you wore this dress to a conservative event, like a church service (hopefully with a black cardigan on top!)

Obvious. We’ve all become so style-jaded that adding a bright “splash of color” to a neutral outfit is considered predictable. True, adding red heels is pretty obvious, but also carrying a bright yellow clutch can add a note of originality. What about bright turquoise shoes and a fuchsia shrug? Feel free to accessorize with brights, but add two different colors for a fresh approach.

Browns. It might feel odd to consider, but mixing browns into a black and white outfit can be very chic. Try this dress with a short-sleeved, chocolate brown, safari jacket, a wooden bangle, and woven brown flats. The dress is transformed from sharp and graphic to earthy and ethnic. If you do brown, though, do it thoroughly. If you wear just brown heels with this dress, people may think you dressed in the dark.

Print Mixing. Admit it – if you wear a dress like this, people will be watching you. Why not live up to your inner diva fantasies and pair this with accessories in black and white prints? How about zebra pumps? Or a black and white checked bag? Use caution if you’re adding more than one additional print; you could cause a car accident. I’d choose a printed bag or printed shoes, but not both.

Subtle. As I mentioned earlier, bright colors are the obvious accent choice. However, a more muted tone, like eggplant purple or sage green can add color to your ensemble without screaming, “Look at me! I’m an accent color!” With a toned down color, you can add two accessories of the same shade without looking too matchy-matchy. I’d stay away from pastels, though. Maybe it’s just me, but pastels seem very out of date at the moment.

Perhaps my readers have some more suggestions?


~Tessa~Scoffs said...

How about a metallic belt/shoe/bag combo? I think gold, silver or bronze would work with the black and white dress.
P.S. I know you mentioned brown already, but another "soft" neutral shoe like cork wedges or those raffia-rope wedges would be cute with a small straw hat.

Anonymous said...

I think to be "age appropriate" I would stay away from the red, yellow, turquoise combos as those would seem too flashy and trendy. I would go with the silver or black and white accessories. It would look sophisticated and chic.

Unknown said...

I would say red, but metallics would look great too! Love your blog, Kasmira...

Lil' Puch said...

I may suggest that for classier and evening look you may pair it with black stockings and a cropped jacket with a silver or gold clutch

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to add a super-casual look to your arsonal with this cute dress. White Haviana flip-flops, a white bucket hat (or cute ponytail), a yellow tote (Ann Taylor Loft has cute canvas ones on big-time sale), and a chunky bright-colored bracelet - like turquoise or red (but not both since you are already using yellow with the tote. This is a look you could wear over a swimsuit to a pool party or to the beach. Just make sure your swimsuit has some of the accent colors you use for accessories.

Sock Monkey said...

Funny, I immediately thought of light yellow with this! As in a pale yellow cardigan or scarf and black flats. But I'm not very tuned into trends. :)

Love your blog, Kasmira...what do you do to your hair to make it so pretty every day? Your bangs are always perfect!

Anonymous said...

My instinct would definitely be to add a few solid brights. A mustard cardi would look great, perhaps with a red or blue headband/hat? Or knee socks in a contrasting color?

bekster said...

Cropped denim jacket and yellow (or hot pink) heels/beads?

Rosanna said...

For a very sleek and classy look, I like to pair skin-tone accessories with black & white. I'll either do strappy heels or enclosed pumps with fine detailing that exactly match the color of my skin. Then I can carry either a gold, skin-tone, straw, or colorful bag.

Kasmira said...

Sock Monkey - "pretty every day"? I'm glad you think so. Most of the time I want to yank my hair out of my head. :)

I have to credit my bangs to my stylist. She did a great job cutting side-swept fringe the last time I saw her.

As far as every day hair maintenance...
1. I only wash it every other day.
2. I avoid SLS shampoos and use a super rich conditioner.
3. I avoid all heat - straighteners, curling irons, blowdryers.
4. I use a moisturizing cream and a wave spray after washing to create texture and fight frizz.
5. I try to never comb or brush it (with the exeption of combing through conditioner in the shower).

katenka said...

hello kasmira:

how do you accessorize a chocolate brown dress? what colors should i use? and what shoes?
im your biggest fan. i just love your blog.

Nicoleta said...

hey kasmira:

how could a accessorize a white and balck dress for a wedding a want to look classy and elegant. the top of the dress is white and the bottom black it is knee length

Kasmira said...

Nicoleta - I recommend this Style Bakery post on accessorizing with colorful shoes and wrap: