Spring Fashion 2013

For spring, black and white can be seen all over

CorrespondentApril 3, 2013 

  • How to do black and white with panache • Choose your white carefully. Many people don’t look good in stark white because it overpowers their complexion and makes it look ashy. Try on a cream or off-white top to see whether that suits your skin tone better than optic white. • White pants can’t be too flimsy or they’ll show every bump and bubble on your stomach and legs. Try a heavyweight denim or pants with an athletic stripe to keep legs looking long. • Pops of color can keep a black and white outfit from looking boring. Think primary or saturated colors like red, yellow, royal blue or Pantone’s color of the year, emerald green. • Add texture or shine for interest. Lace, tweed and metallics will keep the palette from looking flat. Sheon Wilson

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    Models: Bianca Harris and Katie Marshall, NCSU students

It doesn’t get more classic than the black and white trend for spring.

Ebony and ivory hit spring runways hard. Lela Rose placed black lace panels on the waist, shoulders and side seams of a white pantsuit. Marc Jacobs mixed polka dots, stripes and sheer panels on a maxi dress. Louis Vuitton showed bold checkered dresses, pants and tops. Nigerian designer Duro Olowu’s line for JC Penney includes a black and white leaf-print trench and playful renditions of the animal print cardigan

Now the pairing is everywhere in stores and online. Odds are you have some.

“Everyone has black and white in their closet. It’s a good mod look,” says Liz Johnson, owner of Revolver Consignment Boutique ( revolverboutique.com) in Raleigh.

For instance, a simple black cigarette pant and white button-down or more fashion-forward black leather pants and white sequined top make a graphic statement, she says. “You can mix and match,” Johnson says, “and if you want to make it more interesting, you can throw some texture in there.”

The black-and-white palette is the backbone of White House Black Market, but other retailers are heavily invested, too.

“We do strongly believe in the graphic black-and-white story for spring and even moving forward for summer and fall,” says Amy Riordan, vice president of marketing and spokeswoman for Doncaster ( doncaster.com), a high-end clothing company based in Rutherfordton.

“When you have a time that has high-voltage color like we see for spring, you need some black and white to balance it.”

Doncaster’s take on black and white includes a geometric color-blocked pencil skirt and a white crewneck top and skinny skirt with delicate black piping.

Some say the graphic look defies fads.

“Actually black and white isn’t really a trend,” says Rashon Carraway, a Charlotte-based stylist and creator of the blog Mr. Goodwill Hunting. “It has been around for quite some time in fashion, especially for those who are conservative in their style.”

Fresh Boutique ( facebook.com/freshboutique) in Charlotte has lots of black and white because the palette appeals to its customers, from teens to age 80, manager Katie Tippett says.

“Black and white was an easy one for us to pick up on it,” Tippett says. “You will always see little bits of all the trends (in our store), but black and white is a good fit for our customer because it’s so timeless and stylish.”

Her own take on the trend is her favorite black leather skirt. “I wear it all the time,” Tippett says. “It’s a classic basic I wear with a white shirt to kind of color-block it. That keeps it cute.”

Sheon Wilson ( sheon@SheonTheStylist.com) is an image stylist and writer.

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