How to Put Together a Outfit in Black That Stands Out

blue top black pencil skirt 2

Confession: I love black.

I think it started in high school when my 21-year-old drummer boyfriend told me that brunettes didn’t look good in black. My rebellious heart said, “Oh, yeah?” and promptly considered changing my name to Jet (I did, at least, get wise and dump him).

blue top black pencil skirt

I definitely don’t have the stomach for the multiple-piercings-Hot Topic-angstiness or the corporate mausoleum look that often accompanies black, so I’ve learned to get creative with wearing head-to-toe black.

Mixing different textures and cuts (I adore black sequins at any hour of the day), adding analogous colors like charcoal or navy, or injecting a shot of bold color like the cobalt here adds dimensionality to black and keeps the look refined but intentional and  creative.

To add a finishing touch, rock nearly any shade of lipstick you damn well please (I have yet to see one that doesn’t pair well with black) and give a mischevious wink to your ex.


Cobalt Silk blouse, Elie Tahari.

Black (leopard-lined!) pencil skirt, Express.

Sequined jacket, Banana Republic Heritage Collection.

Heels, Cole Haan.

Black pearl necklace, T.J. Maxx.

Shades, The Loft.




How to Get Rid of the Back-to-Work Blues

When I’ve had a particularly lovely long weekend with my family and friends, it can be difficult to head back into the office (and consequently, part with the men in my life). To ease the pain, I like to wear the pieces in my wardrobe that make the day feel a little more special and fun.

black with taupe blouse

I bought this skirt in Belgium earlier this year and have nearly worn it out already! I don’t know how such a voluminous skirt can look slimming, but it somehow manages to make me feel sleek every time I put it on. The ballet pink silk lining doesn’t hurt, either.

Also, there’s something about a V-neck blouse that falls at just the right point. This one has enough beading and bejeweling that it renders further bedecking unnecessary (but not necessarily unwelcome, depending on your taste). I couldn’t resist adding my two currently favorite bracelets to the sentimental wristlet I always wear (with charms bearing my family’s fingerprints).

black skirt with taupe blouse2

I don’t know why moms even try to buy groceries for themselves. I hardly ever get to eat all of my own food anymore; I’m such a sucker for the eyes this kid makes at me.



Bubble-stamped Scuba Skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Satin Jewel-encrusted top, Banana Republic Heritage Collection.

Waxed Denim moto jacket, Mango.

Berry pumps, Cole Haan.

Stainless steel chain bracelet, Kohl’s.

Leather and metal square bracelet, Boondock Studios.

Shades, The Loft.

Work it, Girl!

bows and culottes

Being relaxed for work doesn’t have to mean looking sloppy. I break out these roomy culottes with loafers on days when I’ll be on my feet for 8 hours. They’re comfortable, but a refined fabric reads more “office appropriate” than “pyjama.”

I (still) love a black and blue color combo-très chic. And in my opinion, it’s impossible to go wrong with a Chanel-esque jacket; it’s appropriate in the workplace and polishes up a weekend outfit.


Black crepe culottes, Banana Republic.

Bow-tie tee, Holly Bracken via 5th and Hall.

Jacket, Ann Taylor.

Silver Loafers, Calvin Klein.

Adorable photographer’s assistant, self-made (with a little help ♥).


Ode to Pockets

If you’re a man, pockets are such an innocuous commodity that it may surprise you to learn just how strongly women feel about them.

I’ve heard designers malign them as the great ruiner of the lines of women’s garments, and when I dropped into the tailor’s before a recent trip overseas and asked her to create an internal pocket in a coat I had just purchased (a luxury that comes standard on men’s coats but seems conspicuously missing from women’s coats), she looked at me a bit askance. Indeed, sewn-in pockets seem to have long been the sole proprietorship of men, with women resorting to exterior bags tied to their petticoats, which eventually morphed into the modern day handbag, according to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

So when my friend Jessica recently took to Facebook with an appreciative post about pockets, I was barely surprised at the flurry of comments that ensued. Complaints about  faux pockets (“fockets,” as one friend dubbed them) and musings on their mysterious purpose mingled with invectives against the desperate among us who have resorted to storing life’s ephemera in our bosoms, along with teary exclamations of the joy experienced upon discovering that a garment had the type of hidden pockets men take for granted in their clothing. It was finally determined that women are so pocket-starved that we’ll buy any garment with pockets regardless of how well it fits (a sentiment echoed in multiple friends’ messages over the next several days), and I can’t say I disagree.

Years ago, I read about an exceptionally elegant woman who had a series of pockets sewn into all her coat linings so that she could forego carrying a bag (brilliant!). That started me on a quest, snatching up garments with what I had been terming “bonus” pockets (a naming practice which shall cease immediately; equal pay for equal work and equal pocketing practices, I say). When the pockets I wanted didn’t come standard in a garment (almost always), I whisked them away to the tailor’s to be retrofitted (often much to their chagrin–see above lament about ruining of garment lines).

With the tenuous hope that useful pockets continue to resurface in women’s clothing, here are a few current examples of my love affair with pockets.

Elie Tahari blazer pocket

Barely discernible in tweed, I love having pockets on a blazer when I meet new people. My business cards go in the left pocket, so that I can discreetly slip theirs into my right pocket.

blue trench with hand lotion

Outer pockets on a trench allow me to go for a walk in cooler weather while still keeping my phone and lotion handy.

trench with passport

Often overlooked in women’s outerwear, an inner pocket is perfect for preventing wallets and other valuables from being easily stolen. I was so excited when I found them in this and the blue trench above–I usually have to take my jackets and coats to the tailor to have them added.

catepillar in pants pocket

All pants have pockets, right? Nope. I need more pants pockets for important things like dancing caterpillars.

camel leather pockets

To me, it’s not a real moto jacket unless it has pockets. The more, the better. and bonus if they’re zippered.


black moto pockets

Exhibit B: Even the more polished version I wear to the office has zippered pockets (REAL pockets, not “fockets”). Of all the clothing items I wish had pockets, moto jackets are the ones I’m most particular about.


black skirt pockets

Seriously–I get texts from the dressing room all the time about skirts and dresses  exclaiming, “It has pockets!” Designers, please take note.

chambray pockets

I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I love pockets for no other reason besides looks. I rarely keep anything in shirt pockets, but I still want them to be functional, just in case (I know, I’m so demanding!). I love the look, and am always searching for great camp shirts and tees with pockets.


Unpacked (in order of appearance):

Tweed blazer, Elie Tahari, similar style here.

Trench Coat, Samuel Dong via Ooh! Ooh! Shoes!

Trench Coat, Gallery, purchased at a shop in the Nashville airport.

Wide-leg cropped pants, Banana Republic, similar style in white here.

Camel moto jacket, Michael Kors.

Black moto jacket, Ann Taylor.

Bubble skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Chambray camp shirt, Girl Krazy via TJ Maxx.