There is a reason so many women love black. It's flattering, doesn't show stains, wears well, and never goes out of style. As a stylist, I've worked with women who have predominantly black wardrobes and women who have no black in their closets at all.
For this post, I was inspired to create a capsule wardrobe for the woman who loves living in black. It can be difficult to work with an entirely black wardrobe, so I started with black basics and built outfits from there.
When working with a mostly black capsule wardrobe, you'll want to add in other dark neutrals like charcoal grey and cognac brown. If you still prefer to wear all black clothing, experiment with these other neutrals in your shoe and handbag collection. This capsule is double duty. I've created outfits from the same pieces for both work and weekend.
For our "Woman in Black" capsule wardrobe, I've started with these six basic pieces. We are working with a black wrap top, a long-sleeve sheath dress, a black shell tank, leather pants, a pencil skirt, and wide leg trousers.
When you have a mostly black closet, you can easily lighten things up and make a small wardrobe seem much larger by using complimentary neutrals for your accessories. Beige, charcoal, cognac, gold, burgundy and leopard are my favorite shades to wear with black.
For bags, I chose this beautiful Longchamp Hobo and the trendier Charcoal Bag from 3.1 Phillip Lim. For flats, I went with these fun leopard print shoes from Birds of Prey and my favorite loafers from Lucky. I kept jewelry to a minimum, with just two pairs of great earrings--the stone Kendra Scott danglers and the simple gold hoops.
The Other Players
As with the accessories, the completer pieces for this wardrobe are lighter, complimentary neutrals. It can be very hard (almost impossible) to match blacks. You want to avoid looking like one piece is bluer or more faded than another.
To do this successfully, pair the black pieces with other neutrals in your wardrobe. I'm using the same black shell, but in white. I've also chosen this gorgeous tan cardigan from Joseph. The ivory top is from Banana Republic white the white blazer is by Reiss. The Chambray shirt is from J. Crew. The grey jeans shown here are out of stock, but you can find a similar version at Nordstrom here.
For our first look, I've paired the black trousers with a simple shell and wrapped it up in the beige cardigan. The leopard print pumps add personality while that gorgeous Longchamp bag adds a luxe feel to the entire look
For our second look, I kept the same base pieces, but switched out the accessories and jacket. For a dressier vibe, I used the white blazer instead of the cardigan. The grey bag and nude pumps lend authority to this ensemble.
For our third "black pants" look, we've gone classic again with a black and white pairing. In this outfit, I used the white blouse, paired with the tan loafers and the statement earrings. The simplicity of the outfit lends itself well to the use of statement jewelry.
Moving on to the black dress, for our first look I've added the beige cardigan and nude heels. You could use either earring with this look. I really like this graphic because you can see how well all the tones play with each other.
For our second LBD look, we've changed the feel completely by switching out the bag and blazer. The white blazer and grey satchel give this look a more professional, C-Level feel.
Of course, one of the glories of a dress is that you can wear it alone, without having to worry about creating an outfit. I adore this dress because it has sleeves. Many of my clients prefer to cover their arms. It can be so difficult finding stylish dresses with sleeves. Here, I've paired this fantastic dress with the statement earrings and the grey Ted Baker pumps. You can get the silver version here.
Moving into more casual territory, I paired the jeans with the white shell, the beige cardigan, and the leopard-print loafers. While this outfit doesn't actually have any black in it, you could certainly use black jeans instead of grey.
For our second jeans look, we've added heels and jewelry. This would make a great date night or happy hour look. The shell can be worn underneath the wrap top for more coverage, but it's not a necessity. Like with all the jeans looks, you could swap out the grey shown here for a dark blue or black denim. The key to an all-black outfit is ensuring there is clear variation among fabrics.
For a third casual option, I've paired the white blouse. tan loafers and grey jeans. Accessories are kept simple and complimentary. I love this outfit for heading to the coffee shop or strolling a farmer's market. You could easily make this "evening ready" by swapping out the grey jeans for leather pants and the loafers for the grey pumps.
Heading back into the professional world, I paired the white blouse with the black pencil skirt, grey pumps, and cognac bag. Either earring would work. I like the simplicity of the gold hoops with the black and white outfit.
If you have a more casual office place, this looks is polished and professional while remaining friendly and approachable. I've paired the black skirt with the chambray top, the nude heels, and the cognac bag.
In this black skirt look, we have another business casual ensemble that feels pulled together and luxurious. I've paired the skirt with the wrap cardigan, white shell, nude pumps, and cognac bag.
Heading back into our evening looks, I've paired the leather pants with the black wrap top. As mentioned earlier, it can be very difficult to match blacks. To avoid this, I recommend wearing black on black in extremely different fabrics so that there is no way to look like you failed to match. Here, this silky feminine wrap top is paired with the tough leather pants.
In the look above, I've tamped down the sexiness of the leather pants by pairing them with the chambray shirt, the leopard print flats, and the cognac bag.
The above outfit could go from work to weekend by switching out the suede pumps for the loafers or leopard flats. Having a versatile accessory collection is key to getting the most of out of any limited capsule wardrobe.
As with all capsules, these sample outfits are just the starting point. There are literally dozens of combinations you can create from just a few pieces. And remember, if you're suffering from outfit overwhelm, you can reach out to me for style help. Send me an email or reach out over on Instagram or Twitter for a style consultation.
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I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.