STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK: Black and White and Bold All Over

There are clothes that we have that we wear all the time: the little black dress, the white top, those dark skinny jeans we’ve worn to shreds because they just look so good on. These pieces sit in the front of your closet because they just work so well with everything. And then there are clothes that we buy that we absolutely love; they’re trendy, vintage, unique, awesome, or all of the above. Sometimes though, as much as we love them, they’re just not as compatible with everything else in our wardrobe. They might be bold pieces that feel a little too bold to wear on a daily basis, or maybe you just don’t have the right pair of shoes to balance out that awesome vintage Spanish Moss dress you knew you had to have. Either way, it’s important when shopping for the latest and greatest to always consider all the questions first: when, where and how? If you know you can pair a cool standout piece with anything else in your closet, then you’re good to go.

This Fashionista pulls off a potentially difficult top with style and grace by keeping the rest of her outfit simple, yet complementary.  Her black and white vertically striped loose sweater is bold and eye-catching. She keeps it casual and down to earth by pairing the top with easy-going black leggings.  To keep things from looking too monotonous, she tones the look down by adding greens and browns to the mix with her worn-in lace-up boots, classic olive Barbour jacket and quirky polka dot book bag.  The neutralization of the black and white paired with chic accessories makes this Fashionista's look totally cohesive and cool for a day of classes in less-than-lovely weather.

So, to give you another example/idea for working with bold pieces in everyday-wearable ways, let's start with our standout piece.  Taking inspiration from two of my favorite 2011 collections, Stella McCartney resort and Versus spring, we'll start with something bright, flowery and difficult to mix.  Take this colorful, sleeveless Topshop shell top.  Unlike popular floral ditsy print clothing, which usually has such tiny patterning that it practically looks solid from far away, this flower graphic is large, impossible to ignore and a challenge to work into an outfit.  So, with a top like this that has a black tone throughout, you could match it with a pair of rock star chic black skinny jeans from the new Georgia Mae Jagger for Hudson collection that I'm in love with.  Since the top also has a touch of off-white in it, this ivory Silence & Noise boyfriend blazer or Staring at Stars open-stitch pullover both work nicely to complete things, depending on whether you're going for more of a night or daytime look.  Pull it all together with some neat black flats for a cool and stylish ensemble.

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