How to Level Up a Black & White Outfit

Cheers to Friday, friends! Let’s talk about how to level up a black and white outfit.

You really can’t go wrong with a black and white pairing, but it can be boring unless you know a few tricks. As usual, it’s all about the details!

How to Level Up a Black and White Outfit

My first tip is to choose a hero piece with interesting details. This black lace-up tank from White House Black Market is anything but basic.

If I was wearing a plain tank or t-shirt, I would need to do a lot more in the way of accessorizing to keep the look from being boring. Choosing a black top with fun details already built in makes pulling together an interesting outfit much easier.

This tank runs true to size; I’m wearing the small. It also comes in a bunch of colors, and it’s currently on sale for $29!

How to Level Up a Black and White Outfit

I paired this tank with classic white skinny jeans from Ann Taylor.

They’re a full-length style with a 29″ inseam, and they have a comfortable 10 1/4″ rise. They also have sculpting pockets that are designed to smooth, flatter, and hold your shape.

These jeans run true to size, or size down if in between. I’m wearing my usual 6, but if they stretch out at all, I might be better off with the 4.

They’re also on sale today — use SUMMER40 at checkout to get 40% off!

How to Level Up a Black and White Outfit

Accessories are also super important when it comes to elevating a simple black and white outfit. Because there’s a lot going on in the neckline of the top, I decided to skip a necklace and go for a pair of statement earrings instead.

After rifling through my jewelry drawer, I found these double drop earrings, and then I added this mixed metal cuff bracelet. These two Kendra Scott pieces complement each other without being matchy-matchy.

Honestly, this look could probably use a bolder earring, but I don’t have a lot to choose from in that department. I tend to gravitate to smaller earrings on an everyday basis.

It’s important to keep your personal style in mind when putting outfits together, so while some ladies might need bolder accessories to feel finished, I feel like these are just enough to suit my understated style.

How to Level Up a Black and White Outfit

The other crucial element to leveling up a black and white outfit is your choice of footwear.

While a black or white or nude shoe would certainly look fine and blend in with the outfit, I wanted to add another element of interest so I chose snake print sandals.

A bright color shoe would be another good option, but I like how the snake print adds pattern and texture while keeping a monochromatic outfit.

These sandals are also remarkably comfortable. The 2 1/2″ block heel is very walkable, they have a slightly padded footbed, and the straps are soft against the foot and give you plenty of stability.

The square toe is very on trend right now, and the woodgrain heel adds yet another element of interest to the overall look.

Some of these details are very subtle, but that’s how you keep your looks interesting without looking over the top.

You can find these sandals at Zappo’s and Nordstrom, and they’re 30% off at both retailers.

Finally, I carried a taupe quilted crossbody with gold hardware.

Yes, your bag counts too!

The color of this one coordinates nicely with my snake print sandals, and the gold hardware works well with my jewelry and the gold elements in the top.

Unfortunately, my bag is an older style, and they don’t carry this exact one anymore. It’s the R Minkoff Love crossbody, and mine is the regular size.

This one is the same size as mine in black, and the jumbo size comes in a pretty beige, and the small size comes in a blush. I think all three sizes come in black. I also like this color, and this bag is a different style, but that’s a great color and I like the styling a lot.

Anyway, those are some other options for you.

By the way, R Minkoff is having a Sample Sale, and there are lots of great bags included. I’m drooling over this tote, and this one too, and this satchel. I don’t need any of those at the moment, but if I did, I’d be jumping on them.

I didn’t bother with a layering piece because summer, but you could add a denim jacket or lightweight blazer to this look if you tend to get chilly indoors.

How to Level Up a Black and White Outfit

Outfit Details:

lace-up tank // white jeans // strappy sandals (also at Nordstrom) // similar crossbody // earrings // bracelet

Be sure to visit Cyndi and see the summer look she’s styling today!

For the Pinners…

How to Level Up a Black & White Outfit

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photos: Alison Cornell

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19 Responses

  1. Wow you look amazing! I love a black and white outfit and boy this one is so flattering on you. I know they say black is slimming but this top looks perfect without being too clingy. Cyndi styled a b&w outfit too so I got the back top from loft that she souled but really like this one and I already had the white jeans but had to buy another pair because my pair from last summer were feeling a bit on the tight side, thanks to  COVID 19 extra weight. 

  2. You look great. I love black and white, but your snakeskin sandals and bag really take it up a notch.  We went out last weekend for a SD cocktails and apps evening. Four of the five ladies wore white jeans, I wore my blue jeans. I love my white jeans but don’t want to be one of the crowd. I almost posted to your FB for suggestions to not blend in, now you solved that! Thanks and a have a great weekend.

    1. LOL, I hate it when that happens! I’m with you. I don’t like to look like everyone else. But white jeans are such a summer staple, I’ve been in that boat a few times as well. Black looks great with blue jeans as well, of course. And I also like to wear black on black, but I have to be sure I won’t be outside in the sun or I’ll roast. 🙂

  3. Super, super cute outfit!  I don’t know which I like  best – the tank or the sandals!  🤷🏼‍♀️😊

  4. Oh, I really like this outfit Jo-Lynne, and you look so nice in it!  The black and white outfit that I have worn this spring is one of my favorite outfits I’ve put together.  Now I have snakeskin print sandals to wear with it, which will amp it up a bit.  And I’ve just ordered the W&W white denim Bermuda shorts with my black top in mind.  Hopefully, they will not be see thru nor show lumps and bumps. 😳. I hope that your Friday is being good to you!  How’s that hip doing?  My arthritis spine is giving me fits today.  Congrats on finding someone to spruce up your yard for you!

  5. Love your outfit! Looks great on you. I especially love the snakeskin sandals…do they run true to size? I wear either  an 8 or 8 1/2…depending on the shoe…thanks.😊

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