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How to Build a Stylish Wardrobe with Black and White

Updated on February 20, 2018

Every woman needs a wardrobe foundation consisting of black and white separates. Don't overlook shoes, accessories and a few funky surprises for good measure. If you are lacking several black and white pieces in your closet, here are some sure-fire tips to help you ease into this timeless and versatile look.

This clothes rack has all the essentials.
This clothes rack has all the essentials. | Source

The Essentials

As you find yourself mindlessly gazing into your closet convinced you have nothing to wear, consider picking up black or white basics to stretch your wardrobe. These essentials will give you the ability to pull a classic look together in the blink of an eye. Black and white will also eliminate color coordination issues. You'll always look pulled together and elegant.

Little Black Dress

You probably know the importance of the LBD. Coco Chanel introduced this concept in 1926 and has since become a staple. The little black dress holds its own in a world that is full of ridiculous fashion trends. Purchase at least one basic black dress that can effortlessly go from business meetings to cocktail parties.

Pair your LBD with a cropped white jacket and black-and-white spectator pumps for the office. After work, ditch the jacket, add a red patent belt and black stilettos for a night on the town.

Remove your jacket after work and this dress is ready to hit the clubs.
Remove your jacket after work and this dress is ready to hit the clubs. | Source

Classic White Shirt

Is it a blouse or a shirt? Whatever you call it, it is a must-have for your black-and-white wardrobe. Whether it comes in the form of a crisp button down or a feminine number with billowy sleeves and a peter pan collar, you can pair it with a skirt and throw on a black blazer or wool cardigan for a conservative daytime look.

Wear it untucked with a pair of boyfriend jeans for a casual weekend vibe. Cinch it with a couple of thin black belts, tuck in the front or tie it up at the waist. Slip on a pair of black leggings and ankle boots for a day of shopping. Make sure you purchase a quality fabric—it may be a bit of an investment but with proper care you’ll have it for many years to come.

Black Skirt

A simple black skirt is as indispensable as the little black dress when selecting the components of black-and-white style. Purchase a skirt and jacket set and you have automatically extended your wardrobe by two pieces.

Choose a cut and length of skirt that flatters your body type then you can wear your APBS (all-purpose black skirt) with a solid white or black-and-white print top. Pick a black skirt made from worsted wool or a medium weight synthetic for year-round wear.

A black skirt is almost as essential as a LBD.
A black skirt is almost as essential as a LBD. | Source

White Tees

You can never have too many solid white tee shirts in your closet. Dress ‘em up or dress ‘em down—they are your best friends. Find styles and cuts that show off your curves and stock up when they go on sale. Sleeveless, cap-sleeved and long sleeved white tees come to the rescue in almost any fashion emergency. Tees work with skirts, leggings, shorts and jeans.These chameleons of the black-and-white fashion world can also take on the business world when worn under a suit.

A simple white tee can take on a sophisticated look with the right outfit.
A simple white tee can take on a sophisticated look with the right outfit. | Source

Wild Cards

Every fashionista needs a few of these aces up her sleeve. Give your black-and-white essentials a fresh perspective with these wardrobe wild cards. You don’t have to spend a great deal of money to add a few fashion forward items to your stylish repertoire. Think tunics, tees, skirts, shirts, shorts, sweaters, scarves and even leggings in bold geometric designs, animal prints, stripes, polka dots and florals.

This great striped tunic is the perfect match for shiny Lycra leggings.
This great striped tunic is the perfect match for shiny Lycra leggings. | Source

And don't forget the accessories! The sky's the limit when you go on the hunt for just the right handbags, shoes and jewelry to complete your black-and-white wardrobe.

How about a peppy polka dot belt to finish off your black-and-white outfit?
How about a peppy polka dot belt to finish off your black-and-white outfit? | Source

What Do You Think?

Which do you consider the most important piece in your black and white wardrobe?

See results

© 2010 lindacee

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    • lindacee profile image
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      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Bravo, Jenny! You brought my Hub to life with your excellent real world example! These are exactly the points that bear repeating. Just a few deftly selected pieces can give one a pulled together look no matter the time of day. There is no excuse for sweatpants (black, white or otherwise), short of exercising (even then, I'm not too sure)! I once had a neighbor that was quite amazed that I would look nice when I was doing yard work. I didn't realize I had even gone out of my way to look so presentable, it's just what I always do. Jenny, I vow to NEVER wear sweatpants outside the house and I will spread the word! Again, thanks for your delightful input. Greatly appreciated!

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      jennyinfrance 5 years ago

      Great advice here, as on all of lindacee's hubs. I've only just caught up with her, and she reminds me of something my Mum always said: "Common sense is NOT so common". The more I read of her wise words, the more I realise that Lindacee is proof of that.

      Simplicity, as every French woman knows, is the key to elegance. However, it is just that - SIMPLICITY and NOT NEGLIGENCE. Forgive me for going off topic here, cos I'm not talking exclusively about a black and white theme, but I had to nip to the boulangérie at 6.00am. Here in France, that means making a minimum of effort. So I popped on dark denim jeans, a breton top, my black suit jacket, and black patent ballet flats. Since I had a hair appointment later, and didn't feel like doing a blow-dry at that time of the morning, I simply brushed my hair and used my black-framed Jackie O sunglasses as a hair band. It couldn't have been simpler, but to my mind, at least, it was more effective than going out in sweatpants. It also wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't had the black essentials in my wardrobe. So, fellow followers of this hub, let's make a pact shall we? NEVER to leave home wearing sweatpants!!! PS, it was a cold drizzly morning; had it been warm and sunny, I would have worn my white shirt instead of my black jacket, over my breton stripes, open almost to the waist, with both ends knotted over the waistband of my jeans. Sheer simplicity, sheer chic!

    • Klena profile image

      Klena 7 years ago from England

      I feel there's no time like the present, plus the added incentive of New years :)

    • lindacee profile image
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      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks so much, Klena! That sounds like a great new year's resolution! Very ambitious!

    • Klena profile image

      Klena 7 years ago from England

      What a fantastic hub - this will definitely help the New Years clean-out that I'm starting!

    • lindacee profile image
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      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you for checking out my Hub on B&W wardrobe style Guy Foxe! I can't take all the credit for the sleek & smooth style -- the clothes get all the credit on this one!

    • lindacee profile image
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      lindacee 7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for the comment travelespresso! The LBD is a very important wardrobe staple. Doesn't hurt to have a couple of them in your collection -- they've rescued me countless times!

    • Guy Foxe profile image

      Guy Foxe 7 years ago from SF Bay Area

      I love your sleek style in this article--very smooooooth!

    • travelespresso profile image

      travelespresso 7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      Nice work Lindacee. I love my LBD and my black skirts. The skirts especially can be easily jazzed up or down as the mood takes me.

      I love your comment about wildcard!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      You can't go wrong with black and white. Everyone looks good in black and white and the look is classic!

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