The Bravura in Black

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by Leandra Medine
January 8, 2014
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How are you going to stand out in a sea of black garments?

I’m not trying to make you feel worse about the Polar Vortex all up in your shit but because I am a huge asshole, here goes: maaaaaan am I glad to be in France right now. It’s almost…kind of…hot here. So much so that I could very well step out in the above outfit and even sweat if I walk too fast or far a distance.

As a matter of fact, I did do that. Yesterday. And frankly, this is only a point of victory for one streamlined reason, and something tells me you already know what the object of this sentence is going to tell you: that I was confused for a French person not one, not two, but three times (man once, woman twice) thus far. I’m actually playing this really fun game where every time that happens, I congratulate myself with a wheel of cheese — two when mistaken for a penis-holder.

But what I’m more concerned with is the fact that I’ve historically eschewed wearing black yet here I repetitively find myself, blending into the night.

And why have I hated it? Because of how it looks against my pasty-ass January skin and dark hair plus eyebrows and because the color is practically the bravura of all that which is blasé. As far as I’m concerned, the only thing worse than being told you look bad is being told you look boring which is an adjective almost em-black-matic of you know what.

In New York (and, you know, Paris), however, and especially during one hell’uv’a wicked winter, black is a hard default to dodge so what you’re looking at is actually my trying to solicit a little quelque chose épicé for the dark hole by utilizing five unassuming, self-proscribed style tips or cues or credos or what.

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The first and second: Add a pair of white sneakers. Duh. It takes weight off the rest of the outfit and if you have neat striped socks that come in charcoal and black, add those too. Cheat your pants to appear cropped if they’re not so that you’re exercising your proficiency in one of the few predominately male tricks that we can actually, successfully pull off.

The third: Hold a clutch, don’t wear a purse, unless you really need or want to, in which case, deflect your instinct and do the chroma dance. (In order to do the chroma dance you just have to pelvic hump while holding a primary-colored container.)

The fourth: Wear, duh, lots of jewelry. My propensity is toward pinky rings, layered neck adornments and cuffs that are commonly thicker than my eyebrows.

The fifth is sort of the fourth. Wear a neckerchief because while your neck rules, that should remain a sanctity that tethers you to your aorta. Kind of the same way you’re privately married to your vagina. Knaaamean?

Rebecca Minkoff jacket, Acne t-shirt, Nudie jeans (I cut them), Hue socks, Golden Goose sneakers. Chanel purse, Khai Khai and Amy Fortgang necklaces, Isabel Marant neckerchief.

REPLIES
  • Maynou

    Your style is so frenchy-Parisian that I do not get the title of your article

  • Pulseonthego

    Bienvenue a France. Totally kickass! I could so rip the jacket off and run for life!

  • Pulseonthego

    Bienvenue en France. Total kickass! Could rip the jacket off you and run for life!

  • Katharina

    soooo cool. love it! from head to toe.

    Katharina // Katinka

  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    I love this look – especially for a city like Paris!

    Enjoy the warmer weather for the rest of us! We got above zero yesterday, and I was all excited about it until I realized 10 degrees is still stupid cold!

    ps – When I saw the cropped version of the first photo on Bloglovin’, I totally thought it was a photo of a biker dude. So go have yourself some more cheese!

  • Tara Chacón

    In times when I can only dress functionally, I still wait to be saved by a lesson in layering (for subfreezing temperatures).

  • Morgan

    I clicked on the link for the “Nudie” jeans, those are men’s jeans?! Looks like they fit like a glove. The butt is good too.

  • CarlotaLMorais

    The socks give it a sense of humor! Like it very much! And youu know you are doing something right when people actually think you re french soo, congrats leandra!

  • Natali

    This outfit looks insanely good!! Wow! Love it!

    http://lartoffashion.blogspot.com

  • STYLE-SQUARED
  • Barcelonette.net

    Well I do love total black outfits, French style and accessorizing is my favorite sport too. Love today’s look and hope you have fun around there

  • Michelle

    I wore a neckerchief last night but went for the flight attendant look. “Could you show me the emergency exit?” at dinner comments where achieved.

  • claudia
  • isida
  • dupras

    Digging this outfit, that clutch is tah diiie for.

    Blog à la Dupras

    <3

  • Isa

    I love jewelry too…but a lot of yours is generally fairly exy… I know you come from a jewelry family (LOVED your book) so this might come as sacrilege, but do you have any inside scoop on some jewelry at the more affordable end of the scale…..? With love, loyal reader xo

    • Isa

      I just wrote jewelry so many times is short succession my head is spinning

  • Mallory

    Obsessed with everything about this. Perfect.

    http://www.betweentheblondes.blogspot.com/

  • Michelle

    Where is the proper length to cut pants?

  • LusterFair

    This post is soooo relevant!! I wear ONLY black in the winter.. also I have thicker eyebrows than you!! haha and some how I manage to live out of France (i’m Israeli) and people are sometimes think I’m French. this is a great post! LOVE the white sneakers with this outfit.

  • Katja Kozlevčar

    by the time I get to Paris next week it`s gonna get cold :( I˙ll have to layer up in a repelling manner.

  • http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com/ Michelle Panting

    These are some great ideas for adding interest to the basic black. I think you’re also doing a great job of mixing textures here. Haha. privately married to your vagina. Yes!

    http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com

  • Tovah

    I love everything about this look except for the white sneakers. I love that you have that pop of color with the clutch, really love the jacket, the sneakers just remind me of the old men in my neighborhood who get all dressed up and then put on sneakers. The outfit is very adorable on you.

  • SecondStory Loft

    See I would look at this and think the poor thing didn’t have any shoes to go with this outfit.

  • http://www.hauteinhabit.com/ Haute Inhabit

    You know how much I love this. I call it “The Photographer”, when it’s all black and white kicks included.

  • http://afterthe40barfinish.blogspot.com/ Nina Piccini

    Love his! Great tips and inspiration and of course a laugh in the process.

    xo, Nina

  • Gigi

    Re: being mistaken for a penis-holder – I read on hoping you’d elaborate ;) I have to say, as cool as these are, white sneakers in particular usually out a person as being “Le Americain” but you are blending right in with the black, neckerchief and the rest of the ensemble as effortlessly as any Parisian girl. I get why you’re being mistaken for a local. Q: The designer of biker jacket please (anyone?). Looks like a Perfecto – but with embellishments. Thanks..

    • Gigi

      Re: The jacket – nevermind. Just reread the post and not sure how I missed it the first time but there was my answer on the last line: Rebecca Minkoff

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/amatoriaclothing Amatoria Clothing

    Q: do you ever wear your custom Rebecca Minkoff moto jacket from your wedding? I love that thing.
    P.S. love this outfit. xx

  • kdd

    Love the clutch bag but think it would look better in leather !
    http://www.luxurybagsonsale.co.uk