Back to basics with black and white

Black and White Casual Style (3)The basics of every wardrobe should be strong structured clothing that you can embellish to fit your mood and style. But being basic doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can still pack a ton of style and energy into a black and white outfit! With autumn upon us a well-planned black and white outfit can provide structure and a pop of variation to make your look memorable. For my play on black and white I choose a white turtleneck and a pair of black stretch pants. Yes that sounds basic and downright boring but with the play on color gone the focus can be on fit and silhouette. In order to get a focus point I added a long flowing vest to the mix which really highlights the brightness of the white turtleneck. Paired with my favorite casual knee boots the look was classic yet still very modern.   What I like best about this black and white look is that it can work pretty easily in a range of settings. I took the look from my grandmothers birthday party to dinner in a look perfect for both because it was less about the clothes and more about what was in them…Me!Black and White Casual Style (1)

Making black and white fun and chic

IMG_9767You don’t have to define fun in color when it comes to apparel.  Truth is that black and white can offer just as much fun and sassiness than its more colorful counterparts when you take a play on cut and textures as opposed to colors.  When done correctly black and white can pair to have a striking effect on your look and still give some of the fun that gives life a little zest.  At the event Art of Conversation I play the role as mastermind and moderator as we welcome an open forum to discuss some of days most interesting and challenging issues.  IMG_9765As with any outfit, I like my look to be an expression of not just the occasion but the part I am playing in it.  In wanting to evoke both power and openness I chose strong contrast such as black and white commanding fabrics like leather combined with the airiness and freedom I found in a cropped blouse.

IMG_9762For the base of the outfit I started with a black pencil leather skirt from BCBG.  Pencil skirts are a great way to elongate the figure at a length that gives the coverage to allow me to be comfortable to sit at the front of an audience.  The pleats in the skirt help break up the straight lines of the skirt and give a little leeway in problem areas that might arise giving an overall smooth and sleek look.

IMG_9766The blouse was a great balancing act as it took some of the structure of the skirt and turned it on its heels.  The softness of the material made the blouse free flowing and soft.  With contrasting black trim on the collar and arms made the look a lot more striking that a regular white blouse.

And to finish off the look of course there are the shoes.  In my nod to something old and something new I pulled some Gucci patent leather peep toes out of my closet.  The white piping was a great match to my color palette choice and the throwback shape and design of the shoes made the shoes modern day classics.

How do you think black and white pair for a chic classic?

NM Cusp Trend Insiders with Caroline McGuire

NM CUSP Director Caroline McGuireNeiman Marcus CUSP did it again with another great style show to provide insight on this seasons trends.  The NM CUSP Fashion Director, Caroline McGuire, styled the looks impeccably to produce the great balance of fun and classic that defines the CUSP style.  What I love about the CUSP department is the opportunity to building your work and fun wardrobe without neglecting either dimension of your life.  By adding in pops of color and classic shapes you have an assortment of options that can be mixed and matched to easily move from work to play and back seamlessly.



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Pink, pink and more pink

Pink and white skirt Pink and white skirt back Hot Pink JacketPink rules supreme this season and the combos are fabulous.  For me pink is classic but the classic becomes new by mixing up the patterns and shades.  This season’s options allow you to really turn up the pink if that is a color that works for you or turn it down to add a sprinkle of fun and color.  My top picks are this hot pink jacket and beautiful pink print skirt.  What is great about either pieces is the flexibility to apply to different environments.  You can take a rather drab look and add a real punch of color that adds life and fun, while remaining professional.  It is a lot easier to splurge on an outfit when you can wear in different environments.

Fun Prints

Just Cavalli print jacket Just Cavalli print jacket back Leoprint SuitPrints still reign supreme and the do a lot to balance shape and fun.  As with pink they can be paired down or turned up.  Fun prints can be a bit distracting in the office but are the perfect pairing when you want to do a quick change for fun after work.  Take a look at this stellar Just Cavalli Romantic Nature Print Jacket or Veronica Beard Leopard Print suit.  The prints are fun and bold but by breaking it up you can keep your foundation of elements that work in different occasions fully stocked.

Mix it up!

Printed accordian skirtStretching out a full wardrobe to cover your entire life can overstretch your budget.  Being able to repurpose pieces so that you define the occasion lets you splurge on the things you really love, that express your own style, but also avoid keeping things from collecting dust in the closet.  Caroline styled several lux pieces with CUSP staples to produce looks that were unique but had the ability to sculpt into different settings.  The repurposing of the pieces prevent the tag from defining where you should wear the piece.  Just as outfits can be dressed up, then can also be dressed down.  A great example is this pairing of an evening ball gown skirt with a crop top or casual jacket.  Adding fun pieces can break up the formalness and give you more uses out of items you love.

Black and white are still classic 

Black Robert Rodriquez DressBlack and white always goes back to the must have foundational pieces of your wardrobe.  This is the things all other outfits are built off of and when you are in a rush they are the easiest pieces to grab and go. Prints assist in making the black and white pop.  Both the dress and skirt used in the fashion show point out that black and white does not equal boring.  Try mixing up the shapes to add some extra intrigue.