Ebony and Ivory: Wearing Black and White

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse
I don't normally do big cheesy smiles for my blog photos but I was so entertained by the reactions to my outfit at Greenlake for our photoshoot I couldn't contain my amusement. It was a sunny day at the lake, a popular place for walkers, joggers, moms with strollers and those who love to get outside and exercise. Which means I had to park a million miles away, then walk on the busy path to meet Krissi at our designated meeting spot for photos. So there I was, strolling in Chanel flats, piles of pearls swinging away as I tried to hurry out of the way of the Nike clad crowd. I do love standing out in a crowd, but perhaps not this one? It was pretty funny.

Which brings me to the topic of what to wear this time of year...not over winter but not quite spring. The weather can swing wildly between snowstorm and sunny day, and even if that big round ball of warmth comes out, it still is quite chilly around here. Which is why I am more often that not reaching for my black and white pieces.

I mentioned on my recent segment (shameless plug ahead here) on KING 5's New Day Northwest, wearing white in the winter is not only ok, it is super chic. That old rule about "no white after Labor Day"? Forget about it. What you should know about wearing white jeans in the winter is this: it is all about the weight and the fabric. Lightweight cotton or linen whites? Yes, leave those for the warmer months. But a good regular denim in a white, especially when paired with a cool black...so good.

The Current/Elliot The Stiletto white jeans I am wearing were pretty with heels, but I also loved just a pair of classic ballet flats. The fashion gods have proclaimed that ballet flats are "back", but I am fairly sure they never went anywhere. That's the beauty of investing in a beautiful classic piece, be it a coat, a set of pearls, or a perfect pair of Chanel flats. You will have them forever.

As far as accessories go, I got inspired by a Neiman Marcus runway show I attended where I saw long ribbons attached to necklaces that hung down the back. I decided to make my own, so I went to Nancy's Sewing Basket up on Queen Anne and bought several yards of beautiful black and white ribbon. I also bought a velvet flower to make a choker necklace, then attached it to the ribbon. I also added all the pearls I could get my hands on because there is nothing more chic than a pile of pearls. The J.Crew Pearl Twisted Hammock Necklace adds the perfect pile of more, more, more pearls!

My sweater is a beautiful Claudie Pierlot piece that I bought in Paris a couple of years ago. It is a black cotton cardigan with a accordion silk blouse back sewed into it, giving it the illusion of having a blouse underneath it. You could easily achieve this by layering a silk blouse underneath an open back sweater, or layer a crisp white blouse underneath a black cardigan.

I think what I love most about this look is it seems a bit Parisian, wearing classic black and white but in a decidedly unclassic combination. Yes, I am wearing pearls, but with distressed denim. The messy bun and mixed together accessories make for an undone look that isn't the least bit stuffy, just like me. Can't figure out what to wear this time of year? Mix your black and white pieces to create the perfect chic look, straight from your own closet.

Have a great week! xx