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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Look book - deliberate black

"Let us say this about black for day: if you are going to do it, do it deliberately, not because couldn't find anything to match that awful multicolor sweater that's been sitting in your drawer for a year." - Stacy London, host of American What Not To Wear.

I agree with Stacy. More people seem to drift to black during colder months, but just because it is ubiquitous doesn't mean that it is always worn well. In fact, more and more mismatched, poorly cut and badly worn black garments appear every day. Let us make this clear: black is not a color - rather, it is a non-color, an absense thereof.

Black does not go with everything and does not look good on everyone. That said, there are ways to wear black that you may not have thought of. While worn with primary colors, black runs a risk of robbing them of their subtlety, depth and dimension, worn with its fellows - neutral colors - it rises to a whole new level. Black can be worn very well with brown for a more casual mood, as well as with various shades of gray for an added touch of sophistication.

I will need to replace this dress sometime soon - I've had it for ten years and it's been one of my favorites. It is a black cashmere sweater dress from Victoria's Secret - not my favorite retailer, but one that does get it right from time to time. :-) It is very soft and comfortable - perfect for the miserable mid-season weather we usually get in North Carolina around this time of year. Sweater dresses usually adhere fairly well to the shape, but because this one is so old, I threw in a brown belt from Coldwater Creek. The belt is my favorite too - it is adjustable, and the buckle is interesting enough to not be boring, but not so big as to be overwhelming.



I have worn it with smaller shoes like pumps or high-heeled Oxfords before, but today I opted to pair it with chunky dark-brown textured tights and knee-high brown boots I bought last year in Paris. Before you gasp in horror, I bought them at a very inexpensive little store on Montparnasse for the equivalent of $35.



While I do recommend pairing black with color carefully, I am not saying that one is not allowed a healthy punch of color. The necklace you see here is one I pick frequently to wear with sweater dresses. The brown cord and wood beads and medallion make it a good match to go with other non-colors, like black and gray. At the same time, the leaves and flowers painted on the medallion combine a variety of colors: white, silver, gold, lavender, purple and mahogany. I can pick another accessory in any of these colors, and it would still work. In this particular case, I went with my new bag I bought for whooping $17 at the local TJ Maxx - because it was soft, purple and all-around fabulous.

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