Monday, August 10, 2009

Ebb and Flow

It's interesting how items seem to ebb and flow in my wardrobe. There are things I've had in there untouched for ages and ages, and then suddenly I find myself wearing them all the time again. Such is the case with this bright pink flower clip; I think last week was the first time it's seen the light of day in at least a year, and now here I am wearing it again just a few days later. Such is the hazard of having a huge wardrobe: you often can't keep track of everything in it.

The clip started out life as a pin on a flirty cocktail dress. I thought it had way more potential as a clip, so I took the pin backing off and attached the flower to a hair clip. This way I can wear it in my hair or attach it to clothing, including the original dress. In this outfit, the folds of the skirt created the perfect spot to attach the clip, because it looks like the flower is the attachment point for the drape of fabric.

This outfit was carefully designed to prevent the dreaded 'floating in space' effect that can happen when you wear a bright top over a solid black skirt or pants. First, I chose gray tights over black ones to bring some value contrast and depth to the bottom half of the outfit, rather than letting it be stark black the whole way down. Next, I used the pink flower and burgundy pettipants to add some color to the skirt. Finally, I blended some black into the top of the outfit by layering the black t-shirt underneath the pink top.

Many people think of a bright top with a black skirt or pants as a no-brainer combination, but in reality it's one of the toughest looks to pull off. Black isn't a very well-mannered neutral; it contrasts sharply against most everything else and can easily sap the vibrancy from your outfit, so it's important that the black makes sense with the other color. Here, I brought my bright colors into the bottom half of the outfit and the black into the top. Thus the skirt is no longer just a black skirt, but a pink, burgundy, and black one, because the flower, pettipants and skirt can be considered as one piece. In this way black is used as a vehicle with which to highlight brighter colors rather than allowing it to work against them.

Top and skirt: Attila Designs
Belt: Red Dress Shoppe
Black shirt: H&M
Pettipants: Glam Garb by Gunlis
Boots: All Black

11 comments:

Clare said...

Well you've definitely pulled it off beautifully my dear!

http://betweenlaundrydays.blogspot.com

Sal said...

"Black isn't a very well-mannered neutral." So true! I've become more and more careful about deploying my black pieces ... love how thoughtfully you've incorporated yours here.

bekster said...

Nicely done.

I bought a pair of black shorts at the beginning of the summer and have only now begun to figure out what to do with them. So far, the only thing that works really well is pairing them with patterned shirts that already mix black with other colors. I'm still craving a pair of black jeans, though I don't know why I think they will be easier to pair with things...

Audi said...

Bekster: With the shorts you could also try draping a lightweight scarf around your waist and letting it hang asymmetrically over the waistband of the shorts to bring in another color. Paired with some non-black shoes it would be a relaxed, summery look. Black jeans are great for edgier, rock-inspired looks that are mostly black and white or black and gray anyway. Since moto vests and thigh high boots are also big this season, I say go for it!

Eyeliah SS said...

And it is so nice to see you in Pink for a change (one of my faves!). and I really like the flower, it's one of things that will definitely ebb and flow over many years to come I am sure.

The Writing Instinct said...

So much thought has gone into this detailed outfit, it seems a pity not to wear again. So, please, wear this again soon! I just love it.

Kristen said...

Cute but where is the hair clips or other hair accessory?

Karen said...

Now Audi, you know I love you, but one day you're going to look back at this pic and say, "Yikes! too much goin' on!" Two things I think you could lose: the necklace and the brooch. The pink doodad on the top and the belt and the skirt detail are enough.

This constructive criticism was brought to you by Karen. She will take no offense if you want to bash any of her fashion posts right back. :)

Audi said...

Karen, you're probably right about the necklace; it's not really needed here. But I'm sticking to my guns on the flower! :-)

Emily Kennedy said...

Great point about black. It's great with other neutrals and deep colors, but you're so right about the problems with brights.

Alli said...

Thanks for the great explanation of the vibrancy-sapping powers of black and how to work around them. Great look here!