2017 Summer Fashion Trends: Black & White Done Right

Summer Fashion color trends are tough for me.  I have olive skin, dark brown hair, and hazel eyes.  My optimal palette involves rich jewel and earth tones that you see in Fall runway collections but rarely at a July pool party. Pistachio, bubble gum pink, and sky blue tend to make me look muddy (like I slid into home plate on my face– in the rain), so I turn to white as my summer wardrobe’s base color and work around that.

In 2017,one summer fashion color trend is black and white, a combo that can be tricky to pull off.  Here are the top challenges to wearing black and white combos and strategies that solve them. The beauty of black and white is that it’s classic and versatile enough for work attire, date night, or a pool party.

I’ve done the work for you and put together black and white outfit searches for Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale’s in this Black & White Catalog.

Challenge: “I look bottom heavy (or top heavy) in black and white.”

Solution:  Light, bright colors make an area appear larger, while darker colors make an area recede.  If you are bottom heavy, wear black bottoms with a white or black and white patterned top.  Do the opposite if you are bottom heavy (wear the black on top and the white/patterned fabrics on the bottom). If you carry your weight in the middle, try a black top or dress under a 3/4 length blazer or cardigan. You’ll look and feel visually balanced.


summer fashion trends

Challenge:  “My face is completely washed out.”

Solution:  Black and white are extremely saturated colors that can make natural skin tones look dull or tired.  Viola Davis naturally rocks black and white because her skin tone is intense enough to absorb and complement the colors. Most women have to create more intensity.  Singer Gwen Stefani utilizes platinum-blonde hair and cherry red lipstick to strike a color balance.  Actress Rooney Mara keeps her skin porcelain white (no spray tans on that girl!) in contrast to her coal black hair and thick, dark brows. Play with your makeup and hair color for similar success. One idea: try a dramatic hairstyle (rather than changing the color) with a bright lipstick.  Or add a pop of color or warm metallic (for warm skin tones) near your face from your optimal color palette by way of accessories.  I wear a killer bordeaux/gold/black chain necklace to warm things up by my face.


summer fashion black and white


Challenge:  “I feel like a man!”

Solution: Black and white is a masculine combination. Think of the traditional power suit or referee uniforms. To combat this challenge, choose outfit designs that are more feminine in nature.  Form fitting, ruffles, floral prints, curved lines, laces and bows, skirts or dresses or flowing pants.   Feminine hairstyles (long and flowing) and visible makeup also help balance the yin and yang.  Gingham and seersucker prints are hot, and there are some exciting feminine twists to the traditional button down. Read “How To Wear Gingham Over-40 Style.


summer fashion trends

Challenge: “I’m sweating to death!”

Solution: Black absorbs heat, which causes you to feel hotter when wearing black.  If you live in an extreme climate or are prone to hot flashes, wear black as your accent color.  A white dress or pantsuit with black accessories is very chic and cool, pun intended.

Do you have other questions about black and white pairings?  Leave them in the comments and I’ll answer as soon as possible.

Contact me to learn more about how to wear other summer fashion trends.


summer fashion trends

Thea Wood

Signature Stylist


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