Navigating SS17 Style When all you Wanna do is Wear Black

I love black. I never had a goth phase, or even an emo phase, when I was at school, instead choosing to be an insufferable arty/indie girl who only dated boys in bands who weighed less than me; only listened to jerky, jangly music and bands who I discovered via boys’ t-shirts (Joy Divison, Sonic Youth, Belle & Sebastian, Talking heads et al); and only dressed in black, because I thought it was representative of my tortured soul, and also because I watched a lot of French new wave films at the time and decided that wearing all-black everything would fast-track me to becoming an honorary Parisian.

Years later, little has changed: I still desperately want to be cool. I still wear a lot of black. The two are linked. Black’s glam. Black’s easy. You don’t need to wash it much because stains don’t show up (handy, because black Topshop Joni jeans are the bomb, but they fade to grey after about 5 washes), and it works in every context; I’ve worn it to both funerals and summer weddings. But the sunnier months are, generally, a struggle for black-lovers, not least because if you want to buy new clothes you have to sift through hordes of floral and tropical prints just to find something remotely dark enough to be palatable… and then you’ll probably find that those black jeans you’ve picked up have floral embroidery or colourful pom poms stitched onto the pockets.

Fret not, because SS17’s trends accommodate a little darkness. Here are some ways to get your wardrobe warm weather-ready without compromising on your tried-and-tested looks.

The corset belt##

As seen at Isabel Marant, Balmain, Balenciaga

Like a bold lipstick or a piece of costume jewellery, the corset belt is a powerful accessory to have in your arsenal, given that you can pull one on over a nondescript t-shirt and instantly have a look on your hands (see Emily Ratajkowski for style notes). For SS17, brands like Isabel Marant and Balenciaga proved that a corseted waist does not necessarily have to scream ‘Kardashian.’

How to wear it Pick one up from Zara or ASOS (don’t worry, they have them in black) and wear it with everything, from a t-shirt to a maxi dress. You could also use one to turn one of your boyfriend’s shirts and into a structured shirt dress.

The 80s jacket##

As seen at Balenciaga, Jil Sander, Lemaire

It was only a matter of time before the 80s came back into fashion, which is worrying for colour-phobes given the era’s particular fondness for larger-than-life prints and saturated hues. However, some aspects of 80s style aren’t all that bad; case in point, the oversized, boxy, tailored jacket, a delightfully frill-free piece which can easily swoop into your wardrobe without freaking you out.

How to wear it Grab a black suit jacket, ensuring that the shoulder padding is thick enough to be used as a pillow. Wear it with black trousers for a smarter look, or go more caj in jeans. If you’re skint, buy some foam shoulder pads and sew them into one of the many tired black blazers that any self-respecting black devotee owns. You’re working on the inside of the jacket, so expert seamstress skills aren’t required.

The lace details##

As seen at Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, Dolce & Gabbana

For those of us emotionally invested in the dark side when it comes to our wardrobes, SS17’s lace love-in is probably the best trend of the season. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you probably already have black lace in your wardrobe. Secondly, black lace is universally flattering, making you feel a bit more like a sexy French lady – a bit more pulled together and grown-up – as soon as you put some of it on.

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How to wear it There are myriad ways to wear black lace, but the look is perhaps best executed in the style of Dolce & Gabbana, with an all-black, all-lace dress. If this makes you look washed out, or like you’re about to go to a funeral, try jazzing things up with a bright, sculptural piece of jewellery. And keep your hemlines short and your legs bare… we know you love your black opaques, but now is not the time for them.

The kitten heels##

As seen at Dior, JW Anderson, Céline

Like many opinion-dividing fashion trends circulating right now, you can blame Vetements for lighting the touch paper. Through his brand’s collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, Demna Gvasalia has turned the fashion press on to kitten heels, and other labels, like Céline, Dior and JW Anderson, have also endorsed the divisive shoes in their SS17 collections. There are benefits to kitten heels, though, like being able to run for a bus in them, or (maybe) being able to wear them for a full working day without spending 8 hours in pain.

How to wear it don’t be tempted to hit up a charity shop to find a vintage pair or steal some from your granny, as it could easily go very wrong for you – you want to ensure that your kitten heels are slingbacks, rather than clunky with closed backs. Black kitten heels can look stunningly Emmanuelle Alt-esque when paired with black skinny jeans, big sunglasses and a leather jacket, or with cropped-leg bootcut blue jeans and a white t-shirt.

Images MTV @emrata Jil Sander Dolce & Gabbana Harper’s Bazaar

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