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Anya Meyerowitz

Guest Luxury Lifestyle & Travel Writer



How to Wear Black in Summer

Black is the sartorial stalwart of wardrobes country-wide, a forever friend of the fashion-forward and immortalised by film fashion icons the world over (not least Victoria Beckham in the Spice World film), but come summer, we’re suddenly expected to shun our inky attire and slip into neutrals or dialed-up hues. However, the well-heeled are pushing back against this warm weather crusade on Stygian garbs and for good reason. Black absorbs heat which is in fact, despite what we might have been led to believe, more cooling than white garments, and switching up your fabrics - brushed cotton to linen, say - can do a lot for keeping darker outfits light and breezy.

In short, black clothes and accessories needn’t be abandoned in the summer months; some of the best pieces on the market, from dresses to jumpsuits, come in elegant, polished black and with elegant effortlessness, also keep you cool. The result: an ultra-contemporary approach to summer dressing that delivers a dramatic style statement.

Eye-catching, effortless and easy to wear, inky ensembles are some of the smartest sartorial investments you can make this season. Here’s exactly how to wear black in the summer, join us on the dark side…

How to mix black with other colours

Karen Millen Sheer Long Sleeved Jersey Top
Sheer Long Sleeved Jersey Top

Traditionally, red, white and gold hues have always been thought as the easiest colours to match with black and typically elevate and brighten the entire outfit - think black jumpsuit with white blazer or a black shirt and shoes with a golden metallic skirt - however, supposed style rules have changed over the last few years and an upsurge in colours like blue (typically a no-no for darker shades) and

To play it safe but timeless, layering neutral tones on top of a black base - like a dress, trousers or jumpsuit - is a simple but sophisticated way to add tone and texture to your inky ensemble. Though if you’re looking to stand-out or feel confident enough to play with more contemporary colour-blocking, then layering an open blue linen shirt on top of a black playsuit or pairing a darker top with a bright lime green trouser is a bold but on-trend summer look.

Focus on the fabrics

Karen Millen Tailored Linen Blend Sleeveless Belted Jacket
Tailored Linen Blend Sleeveless Belted Jacket

When thinking about how to wear black in the summer, it’s not all about the type of pieces you wear but also the fabrics you’re opting for. Choose incorrectly and you might end up looking more moody teenager than elegantly elevated, and the difference between the two is all in the fabric. Of course leather is a no-go in summer, anything too heavy or clingy is going to make you look and feel uncomfortable, and you’ll want to avoid textures like brushed cotton too, as it tends to retain heat. Instead opt for cotton, linen in lightweight finishes such a super-summery broderie anglaise, and wear them with your favourite chunky black heels. Don't be afraid to tease a little shoulder or leg either to add more of a summery, lighter feel to your ensemble.

Embracing head-to-toe black

Karen Millen Ponte Wrap Front Tab Detail Jersey Dress
Ponte Wrap Front Tab Detail Jersey Dress

Of course for some, head-to-toe black is a sartorial uniform that doesn’t bow to climbing temperatures, and we hear you, if a colour palette works for you, then work it hard. If you are opting for all-black, then you want to think about choosing floaty maxi dresses or midi dresses with statement sleeves to play into more summery trends in terms of shape and style. A pair of culottes and a loose t-shirt can also help to give a cooler, breezy vibe to an all-black outfit, and playing around with varying shades of black can help to make lighter tones of the shade feel more striking and summery, as well as add texture and interest to your daily attire.

Keep accessories white or gold to lift the rest of the outfit and add timeless tricks like a belt for a cinched-in waist or open-toed black sandals to eliminate any ‘bulk’ that black can sometimes bring with it.

Looking ahead to autumn

Satin Crepe Wide Leg High Waist Trousers
Satin Crepe Wide Leg High Waist Trousers

The good news is, as with everything in fashion, layering is still your best friend when it comes to transitioning your black pieces from summer through to autumn. Adding neutral, warmer tones to an all-black outfit can give it a cosy quality - think a rust woolly cardigan or a deep cream jumper - and means you’ll still be able to adjust your outfit depending on how the weather plays out.

Adding a pair of dark black or skin-tone tights to a skirt or dress ensemble moves it away from out-right summer, as does swapping strappy sandals for boots or closed-toe mules. Even small tweaks switching gold accessories for silver can give a look a cooler tone that ties in with the dropping temperatures, or think about mixing metals to add more interest to offset the addition of more layers to your outfit.

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