There’s a reason so many women wear all or mostly black. Audrey Hepburn, Louise Brooks, Norma Kamali, and Chanel, to name a few. Black always looks elegant yet modern, and with so many choices of styles and fabrics, you never get tired of black.

Why Consider a Summer Black Wardrobe?

There are always new ways to wear black, and an all-black wardrobe lets you get away with more than any other color. Nothing is more slimming than an all-black outfit. Your pieces from 10 years ago still work, layered with newer pieces. Not to mention, it saves time. When you wear all black, you don’t have to worry about matching.

Black is appropriate for every event at any time of day, and it’s hard to look under (or over) dressed in black. And if you want to feel and look confident, wear black. According to a study done in the U.K., a conclusive 56% of respondents in their survey favored black as a color of confidence.

During the winter, I tend to wear a lot of black clothing, not that anybody sees me, because I typically wear a coat and hat. And while black can wash you out if you’re fair, when we get a bit of a suntan (picked up poolside or chemically-induced) in the summer months, it can be more flattering with a black wardrobe.

Summer also allows us to show a little more skin. Show some bare ankles between cropped trousers and sandals, a thigh split on a dress, or a blouse that shows your shoulders. Black is also great for downplaying bigger busts, and having a low-cut bodice neckline in black can be more subtly sexy.

This season bohemian style maxi skirts are making a comeback. They come in a wide variety of patterns and colors, but black is the color that works best, and it would look great paired with a black bodysuit or a crisp white cotton shirt.

How to Start Your Summer Black Wardrobe

First, take stock of what you already have in your closet that’s black. Get rid of anything that looks worn or overly used. An all-black look demands sleek and chic pieces, and nothing says the opposite like a black shirt that has a stretched neck or has been washed so many times it’s gray. Then find where the gaps in your closet are and fill them in. You don’t need to wear black top to toe. You can keep some of your color and print, but temper it with black. 

To get started, everyone should have at least one of every item we list below, although it never hurts to have more options! And when purchasing, buy the highest quality you can afford. Look for quality fabrics, like wool, silk, and 100% cotton. Because these items will never go out of style, you can wear them for years and years to come. Think of anything you purchase for an all-black wardrobe as an investment in yourself.

The Basics for a Summer Black Wardrobe

THE LBD

Every wardrobe needs an LBD – a little black dress. Coco Chanel invented the LBD in 1926. Chanel wanted to create a dress that would be appropriate for any occasion and look different just by changing accessories. Of course, nothing looks better with an LBD than Chanel’s signature pearls, which help you to perfect that summer black look.

Chicos Easy Chic Sleeveless Maxi Dress
Easy Chic Sleeveless Maxi Dress, $129
Chicos Tiered Linen Sun Dress
Tiered Linen Sun Dress, $159
chicos pleated shift dress
Pleated Shift Dress, $89
Daily Practice by Anthropologie The Madeline Midi Dress
Daily Practice by Anthropologie The Madeline Midi Dress, $89.60
Wearever Relaxed Two-Pocket T-Shirt Dress
Wearever Relaxed Two-Pocket T-Shirt Dress, $89
Anthropologie Somerset Maxi Dress
Anthropologie Somerset Maxi Dress, $168
Yummie Mock Dress
Yummie Mock Dress $88

BASIC PANT

Buy a quality pair of basic black pants, and they will last you for years. A straight leg is the best and most versatile. Look for a wool blend or high-quality knit. A chic pair of cropped pants or capris will add style to your summer black wardrobe while staying cool enough for warm summer nights. 

Spanx The Perfect Pant
Spanx The Perfect Pant, $138
Mara Skinny Knit Pants
Mara Skinny Knit Pants, $395
Alfani Modern Straight-Leg Pants
Alfani Modern Straight-Leg Pants, $49.99
Mott+Bow black jeans
Mott + Bow mid-rise skinny jeans $128

If pants are a turn-off for you, consider a high-quality pair of black jeans. 

THE JACKET

Dress it down with a pair of jeans, or dress it up. Pair with trousers or wear over your LBD. Nothing is more versatile than a good black jacket, especially for summer evenings out with friends. Make sure it’s long enough to cover your rear and that the fit is impeccable.

Organic Terry Blazer
Organic Terry Blazer, $178
The Woolf Jardigan
The Woolf Jardigan, $245
MM Lafleur The Woolf Jardigan in a summer black wardrobe
MM Lafleur The Woolf Jardigan, $195

TEES

Have a stack of tees in black with a variety of color accessories to add pop. Wear it alone or layer under a jacket or sweater, and buy good quality tees that won’t stretch out or fade over time.

Northside Vintage Tee
Northside Vintage Tee, $18.50
Chico's Button Detail V-Neck Tee
Chico’s Button Detail V-Neck Tee, $39.50
Tiny Tee in Organic Cotton
Tiny Tee in Organic Cotton, $75
Washable Stretch Silk Tee
Washable Stretch Silk Tee, $49.90
 
Organic Cotton Jersey Fitted Crew Tee
Organic Cotton Jersey Fitted Crew Tee, $27.20

THE HEEL

They lengthen the leg and make the arch of the foot more defined, giving you a sexier look than flats. A good pair of comfortable black heels are indispensable for the summer black wardrobe. Buy the best pair of black pumps you can afford. Take care of them, and they will last for years.

Hazel Pointed Toe Heel
Hazel Pointed Toe Heel, $140
Paily Heels Black Stella
Paily Heels Black Stella, $125
Theyaa Black Suede Square-Toe High Heel Sandals
Theyaa Black Suede Square-Toe High Heel Sandals, $40
Nine West Girlie in a summer black wardrobe
Nine West Girlie, $85

COMFORTABLE SHOES

If the occasion doesn’t call for a heel or you just don’t wear them anymore, a polished flat black shoe can still elevate any outfit. Pointed toe-flats will always be in style, or try loafers for something a little more professional.

Bestru Mule
Bestru Mule, $59.99
Sienna Ballet
Sienna Ballet, $188
Minnie Travel Ballet Flat
Minnie Travel Ballet Flat, $228
Romy Flat
Romy Flat, $625

THE WRAP

This is a versatile piece that can take you from a sophisticated wedding guest to a cozy traveler. We recommend getting two – one for warmer weather in linen or cotton for your summer black look and another for the winter months.

Solid Boucle Wrap
Solid Boucle Wrap, $68
Mongolian Cashmere Wrap
Mongolian Cashmere Wrap, $99.90
Cotton-cashmere wrap
Cotton-cashmere wrap, $39.99
Georgette Wrap
Georgette Wrap, $138

THE BELT

Accessories can add a pop of color to an all-black wardrobe, but there are some staples you should still get in black, like a good belt. Avoid belts that are too trendy and opt for classic shapes instead.

Medium Perfect Leather Belt
Medium Perfect Leather Belt, $48
Betty Buckle
Betty Buckle, $135
Skinny Leather Belt
Skinny Leather Belt, $39.50
Horseshoe Buckle Leather Belt
Horseshoe Buckle Leather Belt, $95

While I’m all for color, sometimes it’s fun to mix it up a bit. Consider trying a summer black wardrobe this year to add a fashionable and slimming touch to your closet. With your summer tan, you can get away with an all-black wardrobe, adding pops of color with accessories and fun fashion pieces. 

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