Throughout the eras, from Coco Chanel to contemporary it-girl Jeanne Damas, the French icons of fashion have always known that black on black on black makes an effortlessly chic outfit.
The color of midnight, the union of all hues, and the mirror to our dark, moody souls—black is versatile, practical, and timeless. The most revered French designers, like Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, have all spoken about the classiness and elegance of the color. Modern French fashion icons are often seen in black as well, and without fail, they always look chic! In one way or another, black is a color that speaks to us all, especially the French.
There are particular ways that our favorite French icons make an all-black ensemble look anything but basic. With an abundance of inspiration from chic French women like Caroline de Maigret and French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt, we’ve got five key tips to help you elevate an all-black outfit from funeral to fantastique!
One of the easiest ways to make an all-black ensemble pop is to add your favorite accessories. That can be anything from belts, jewelry, scarves, shoes, or even your hairstyle! The amazing thing about accessorizing an outfit is that it makes it more personalized. It makes it more you. Anyone can put on a black tee and jeans, but who wants to look exactly like everyone else? Wearing your favorite turquoise earrings or red Converse are enough to add a uniquely-you individuality and flair to any black outfit. Pile on the bling if that’s what makes you sing!
The way that Caroline de Maigret accessorizes her outfit here at the Chanel Cruise 2017 in Cuba is exquisite. With an elegant high bun, large gold hoop earrings, suede Chanel purse and strappy heels, Caroline’s black ensemble shows off how classy and stylish she is. Behold the power of accessories!
2. Add some texture
Have you ever looked at a painting and noticed how thick paint and dramatic brushstrokes can make it more dynamic and lively? That’s the effect of texture. Pairing different fabrics like a soft tulle skirt with a tough leather jacket makes an all-black outfit look multidimensional instead of flat. Adding velvet, sequins, satin, denim, or leather-like textures and mixing them together would make any monochromatic ensemble come alive.
In mixing textures, the ever-so-chic French blogger Garance Doré makes anything she wears look beautiful. Pairing a faux fur jacket with leopard-print jacquard trousers, and a leather clutch and gloves, she makes her black ensemble more striking and dynamic.
3. Play with shapes and proportions
As visual creatures, humans gravitate toward anything visually interesting and different. When a black outfit exhibits those qualities, it stands out. Forget about body-hugging apparel—the biggest fashion trends this year and last have lead us away from skinny jeans, and to looser-fitting pants and culottes. Bell sleeves and off-the-shoulder tops were also a recent big hit, especially in the summer. What all these trends have in common is the refreshing play on shapes and proportions.
Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert’s bell-bottom pants and peplum-like blouse gives the look movement, and her a striking silhouette.
You may be thinking, what does makeup have to do with spicing up an all-black outfit? Here’s the thing about makeup: It can set the mood for your whole outfit, or even your day!
Of course, makeup isn’t in any way a necessary step to add some punch to your outfit, and it may not even be for everyone. It is, however, another form of embellishing. Makeup is versatile, and can be anything from a bold smoky eye to subtle touches of peach on your cheeks, depending on your taste.
A classic go-to makeup look that French girls love is the red lip. It instantly elevates any look, adding a pop of color. With an all-black outfit, the red lip would be the ultimate red cherry on top. Take Astrid Bergès-Frisbey’s outfit, for example. Her ensemble is already made effortlessly elegant by the mix of textures; but with red lipstick, the look gains an extra-glam appeal.
5. It’s all about the attitude
You heard that right! Much like why accessorizing and putting makeup on are surefire ways to personalize an all-black outfit, owning your attitude can also add color to your appearance. If you’re into the “mysterious and fierce woman” vibe, a raised eyebrow behind big dark glasses. To seem like a model off-duty and in from Milan, walking like you’re on the catwalk are a few ways that do the job.
Caroline de Maigret always strikes a pose in her pictures, like in this one. Immediately, we can tell that she’s confident, and has a nonchalance air about her. Really, it’s all about the attitude.
Featured image: Stock Photos from Diana Indiana /Shutterstock