The Black & White Period


Laura’s Black & White Period

Goal: Curate my capsule wardrobe into a black and white theme while increasing the diversity in potential ‘looks.’ Ideally, with layering, this wardrobe will carry me through all four seasons, and will contain no more than 30 items of clothing.  This count will not include: outerwear/jackets/coats; swimwear; lingerie & stockings or socks.

Purpose: Ongoing experiments with a minimalist capsule wardrobe have been successful.  I save time & money, while reducing stress, and streamlining the process of dressing.  Mind-space is dramatically freed up, as once I have invested the time in developing the capsule wardrobe, dressing becomes effortless.  Having a minimalist capsule wardrobe has stretched my creative muscles, while providing a big dose of fun as I stretch to achieve a wider range of ‘looks’ with less ‘things.’   I suspect scaling back color options will actually expand the range and options in terms of ‘look,’ while reducing the need to worry whatsoever about ‘match.’

Why Black & White?:   This is a timeless color scheme that can be elegant, romantic, sophisticated, edgy, or fun, depending on how you use it.  You can dress it up or down.   I will use the combination, as well as one color or the other monocrhomatically.

Time Frame:  Uncertain.  Until I feel it no longer works.  Ideally I would spend at least a year in this period, to see how it carries me through different seasons, events and circumstances.  Who knows?  If I fall in love with it, this could metamorphosize into a ‘signature look’ I maintain for the rest of my days.  Or not.

Cheat Days:  I am maintaining several ‘cheat items’:  a Purple Wrap dress, mid-weight; a blue multi-colored summer dress; a beige, white, and gold formal evening dress; a green & white top.   I’m also allowing accessories that have black and/or white and another color, as well as gold, silver, and gemstones for formal accent.  I don’t know if I will use any of these pieces, but the formal dress is the only full length gown I currently possess.   The others are remaining in case I find the restrictions too severe.  It is my hope I don’t need to turn to these.  They will not live in the closet with my other items.

Steps Taken:  With a curator’s eye, I relentlessly culled my wardrobe, first of color.  Next I assessed carefully the black, white, and black & white items that remained (including some that were in off-season storage).   I finally came up with the capsule wardrobe, though I have a few ‘wish’ items, if I continue this long term.   Then I donated a handful of items I realized I didn’t love anyhow (not much, as I was already living on a pretty limited wardrobe).   Finally, I packed away a small bag of items I may reconsider once the black and white period is behind me, and organized my closet with what remained.   What follows is what I am working with, currently:

Wardrobe items:

1 pair black cigarette pants
1 pair white capris
1 pair black boot cut slacks
1 pair white shorts
2 black skirts (A-line and pencil)
2 long sleeve black tops (v-neck and scoop neck)
3 white t-shirts
2 black t-shirts
1 white button down blouse, french cuffs
1 black blazer
1 black and white sweater
1 white sweater
2 white camis
1 black tank top
1 black tank top with white lace trim
1 black wrap dress
1 black short-sleeve dress
1 v-neck Grecian dress
1 white bolero sweater
1 black boyfriend cardi
1 silk turtleneck black
1 silk turtleneck white
1 black silk ‘sweater girl’ v-neck cardi
TOTAL:  29 Items currently

All should mix, match, and layer well.  I may well have more than I need, but I live in NYC and feel I need to be able to carry off a wide number of looks.  I need clothing for work, play, and more sophisticated events, as well.  

WISH LIST:  White swing coat; black and white pinup dress; spectator pumps.

NOTE:  Dialing the wardrobe back to solely black and white has allowed me to reduce my footwear as well.   I do still have more than a lot of minimalists, due to my diverse needs.  I have black flip flops, black sandals, white sandals, peep toes, oxfords, loafers, mary-janes, and a classic pump. I also have knee-high stiletto boots, snow boots, ballet flats, tap shoes, and jazz shoes (for dance/zumba).  Additionally, I have shoes I wear solely when I work in the hospital.   This feels like a lot of footwear; for a minimalist maybe it is.  For a woman with a diverse life, living in NYC, it is actually very much on the low side. I reside in a city where women have closets full of shoes 🙂

I am putting together a pinterest page of look ideas to inspire me as I work with this wardrobe.   I will add the link here when I’m done.