Kimberly's Neutral Look: How to Wear Black Into Spring


The Cherry Blossoms are blooming in San Francisco signaling that spring is on its way. However, stores are not quite ready for the season and our chilly temps are keeping us layered up.

Megan and I both have been keeping our winter sweaters out, but wearing all black right now feels too somber. We currently have enough in the world that is heavy, and I don't feel like living into that with my wardrobe. How can you lighten your mood and look while still wearing black? Read on for our cure for early spring wardrobe blues.

Add Tension With Texture


Whether you are trying out true monochromatic dressing (wearing one single color) or playing with neutrals, it's important to keep your look interesting. As Megan wrote in her last blog, finding the same shade of any color can be challenging.

Even if you shop at the same store for every piece, the version of black or navy will read differently depending on dye lot and fabrication. Work this problem into a solution and make it look intentional with variations in texture. For example, in my look here I paired a flat black turtleneck with my black waxed jeans. It's a quick way to shrug off exact color matching and trick the eye to recognize different elements while keeping visual harmony.

PROTIP: Be intentional when layering on a monochromatic look and add contrasting textures. A chunky knit (waffle weave or cable) scarf is a quick and easy element to add interest.

Pack Some Punch With A Print

I feel like a blog quite a bit about print. For most clients, it's new and frightening territory because people often associate prints with bold large-scale graphics. You do need a little extra panache to pull off a print, but pay attention to color palettes. Neutrals can quickly turn down the volume of a print and keep it from overpowering a look. Because it's still technically winter, a softer color scheme is easier on the eye. However, come April this same look would work well with a bright and bold saturated print.

To soften my all black base, I layered a printed cardigan from Anthropologie I purchased a few years ago. This piece was actually on my chopping block to give away. I hadn't worn this piece in a while but I still liked the print and colors. I decided to keep it another year and wear it without its belt. I'm glad I did, it has been a staple with black or cream jeans this winter.

ProTip: When considering letting a once beloved piece go--think about why you haven't been wearing it. If its environmental or you haven't explored different ways to wear it try holding it for another full season.

Lighten Up Your Accessories For Spring

While my clothing choices are still wintery, my accessories can help point the way to a brighter season. Swapping out your black bag for a lighter version in grey or tan will immediately help perk up a look and keep it from becoming too heavy. I found this tote on clearance at Nordstrom Rack for a steal. Although the quality won't last many seasons the look and size are perfect for days on the go when you don't want to bring everything with you. Following the lighter shade of bag, I swapped out darker booties for my tan to help break up the black.

Now that both Megan and I have shopped our closets for fresh neutral looks, it's your turn. We have a feeling you have a great piece ready and waiting to be worn. If not, check out below for a few of our favorite neutral pieces on the market.

Stay Stylish,


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