BY VIOLET MOON GAYNOR, SENIOR FASHION AND ACCESSORIES EDITOR, ELLE.COM
Black and white are my personal staples. As a New York City girl, black has always been part of my uniform (for work and play). If you were to take a peek inside my closet, these two colors would stand out more than any other. They’re an integral part of history (books have been written about the legendary chicness of Truman Capote’s 1966 Black & White Ball), and fashion right now (I adored the first ten looks at Riccardo Tisci’s spring 2010 Givenchy show). But it’s the cool combinations and unique twists you can give these shades that really bring them to life and make them feel modern.
Cut is everything
Black and white are two of the most versatile colors. They always look crisp, and can easily go from fancy (the classic LBD) to laid-back (white oversize tee paired with basic black mini). With simple pieces, it’s all about the cut. Select well-tailored pieces to pair back with more relaxed (yet still refined) separates. A perfectly cut white button-down can completely elevate the look of your favorite jeans.
Add-ons are key
My advice for adding your own twist to stark black and white: Accessories! Pile on your favorite bold necklaces and bracelets to make the look feel wholly your own. I love to layer long necklaces with shorter charms for a personal touch. And, to off-set the starkness of black and white, I’ll throw on my Mom’s old red Chanel bag for a pop of color.
Keep it current
Graphic black and white prints – from stripes to tribal – looked modern on the spring 2010 runways. Givenchy’s fitted blazers and voluminous minis are on the top of my list. Also on my must-have list: Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCullough’s chic surfer girl looks at Proenza Schouler. I’m loving the pieces I hand-picked for the ELLE Black & White Boutique (the Valentino lace blouses are among my favorites) because they’re all un-basic basics – essentials with a twist that add a bit of freshness to your closet.
From fashion legends like Coco Chanel to current muses (remember Melanie Laurent in a sleek white Yves Saint Laurent pantsuit on the red carpet in Cannes last year?), the limited palette of black and white has the ability to achieve unlimited chic.