Thursday, 17 February 2011

It don't matter if you're black AND white

It was the morning of my 21st birthday in early May last year and I was getting ready to join my friends for high tea at a hotel in Oxford.  A few weeks prior to this I had bought a short white Zadig et Voltaire skirt and had been itching to wear it ever since.  Being England, it was of course far too cold to go bare-legged, prompting me to ask myself the following question - can I wear this with black tights?!  I wasn't sure why but I felt slightly weird about doing this, and so I typed 'white skirt black tights' into Google and surveyed the first couple of images that came up.  Most of the girls looked great and so I threw on my outfit and left the house.  And as the saying goes, the rest is history...I have worn black tights with that same white skirt countless times since that day without so much as a second thought...until two days ago!  I was flicking through the pages of Grazia and one article in particular caught my eye - 'Eek or Chic? White Dress and Black Tights' - and it got me thinking.  Why, when I was first forced to team my white skirt with black tights, did something feel not quite right?  Where was the niggle coming from?  And why do people in general feel uneasy about this combination?  (You only have to carry out that same Google search that I did on my birthday to see what I mean...)

Maybe we find the idea at odds with our instincts because to us, the harshness and severity of the colour black corrupts the delicacy and purity of our white skirts and dresses.  These are arguably the two most simple and minimalist colours, and yet the fact that they are perceived as being polar opposites leads us to avoid putting them together in this way.  I find this justification completely nonsensical.  This season is all about being bold and making a statement with 'clashing' colours.  If, like me, you are still terrified of block neon, then why not channel the spirit of this in a more subtle way by wearing your white skirt or dress with opaque black tights?  You only have to look at Kate Moss to see just how unfounded our fear of the mix is, and in all honesty, anything that takes one of my favourite Spring/Summer pieces right through into Autumn and Winter is absolutely fine by me!

How to wear it...

  • Keep your core outfit simple and monochrome.  My advice would be to wear it with a black cardigan and a single long chain necklace.
  • You can be a bit more adventurous when it comes to the coat/jacket...I like to wear my dark green Barbour or a dark/navy blue blazer with it.
  • Make sure the tights are as black as you can possibly get them - sheer does not work.  

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