Fashion & Beauty

It’s Not All Black and White

Details make the difference. Clockwise from left, an abstract, artful scarf from J. McLaughlin, sunnies from Italian brand Glare, J. Crew’s rope tote and a vibrant belt from Lizzie Fortunato.

By Janet Kelly

LAST WEEK I asked if your summer uniform of all black or combinations of black and white had stayed the same over the past several years. I wondered whether you had changed it up and how. The answer from many of you was that it had and it was not, er, all black and white, but mostly white.

Nancy in New Jersey switches to a “predominantly white wardrobe, at least on the bottom, by late spring.”

It’s just a mood brightener, although I have a pair of black jeans on the boat as a staple . . .  This year though, I keep looking at white dresses. There’s gonna be the perfect one for me soon on my feed. I just know it. I already have a great white denim skirt that I’ve had a few seasons, and love. I can wear it with absolutely anything.

Judy in Pittsburgh told us she likes to “make it easy on herself:”

black in fall and winter, white all summer. Especially like white linen, pants and shirts. Not much jewelry. My version of “coastal grandma!”

The only black clothes that Carol in Maryland wears for warm weather is a pair of light cotton black capris with pockets and a couple of black sleeveless tops:

When I went to an office daily, I would wear black pants and a black top with a colorful, lightweight sweater since my office was cold or a colorful top with a black lightweight sweater. I like white pants during the hot days of July and August (and hopefully June) . . . .


But whether you cling to all black, like Maureen in Pennsylvania or consider yourself “clearly colorless” as Christine in Chicago declared with a hint of regret, you do find ways to accent your summer wardrobe. Three of you say you like color in shoes.


I do wear black a lot even in the summer. I brighten it with scarves — silk, cotton, bandanas. And shoes! 


Darn. I’m clearly colorless. My only fondness for color shows on my feet when I’m working out. White-and-pink Hokas.

New Jersey Nancy:

And I find myself drawn to citrus shades for shoes, whether sandals or inexpensive sneakers . . . 


Late Dates’s Grace Cooper doesn’t adhere to any particular summer uniform:

I just bought a cute, inexpensive bucket shoulder bag in an irresistible lime green color. No matter what I’m wearing, people comment on that happy-colored purse!

Caren Sniderman in Pittsburgh prefers to keeps it simple:

Love adding a necklace with red in it, but that is as daring as I get. 

How’s this one, Caren?


Finally, Dasha Karelina in New York City has a busy mother’s take:

I have to admit, I am no help to you on this one. I don’t love brightly colored shoes so it’s usually white converse with all black or white/tan sandals and bright nail polish. 
I have one orange crossbody that I wear for color with any black or white or navy combos.  
No on statement earrings for during the day but am wearing a $12 Ukrainian necklace that I got on Etsy with a black dress.  The color matches my toenails so calling it a win. My destination is orthodontist with kids, so stakes are low.  


Thank you all so much for your comments. And, naturally, we’ve got some suggestions of our own for brightening up your summer style:


Cariuma’s citrus-colored sneakers in canvas say summertime. They sell for $79.


Some like it lime. Each of J. Crew’s Cadiz rope totes ($49.50) is hand-knotted, so no two are exactly the same.



Make an all-white outfit pop with J. McLaughlin’s square Giselle scarf in a 90% modal/10% silk blend. Wrap it, knot it and drape it. It sells for $98.


You’ll have to find a retailer in Europe to buy these, but wouldn’t the trip be worth it for these sunglasses from Genoa-based Glare?



Lizzie Fortunato’s leather Florence belt ($295, Shopbop) with a clover-shaped buckle in cornflower blue makes a striking accent with either black or white. Note on fit: It’s designed to be worn high on your waist.


Uh-oh, you haven’t bought white pants yet? Australian brand Dissh has these wide-leg linen ones available in several sizes for $99.




MyLittleBird often includes links to products we write about. Our editorial choices are made independently; nonetheless, a purchase made through such a link can sometimes result in MyLittleBird receiving a commission on the sale. We are also an  Amazon Associate.

2 thoughts on “It’s Not All Black and White

  1. Carol Lichty says:

    Going to order the lime green rope bag!!! and maybe the white linen pants too. I love bright colors in the spring/summer.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      Both good choices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *