How to Create a Stylish Black Based Wardrobe Capsule

black based wardrobe

There are a litany of reasons why women choose black for their wardrobes, be it consciously or by default.  It’s slimming, easy, doesn’t show stains, wears well, looks chic, is modern, and more.  Despite the fact that I don’t choose black for my wardrobe doesn’t mean I don’t see the merits of this color or appreciate it for those who wear it well.  Given the popularity of a black based wardrobe, I am going to show you how to create a wardrobe capsule using this color as the base.

How to Create a Stylish Black Based Wardrobe Capsule

What may surprise you is, despite this wardrobe being black based, it’s not lacking in interest or variety, even if it isn’t chock full of color.  There are ways to build out a capsule based in this shade without abandoning your favorite color.  If you love your black clothes but are feeling like you need to infuse it with something more, take a look at the capsule I have built and some of my tips on how to do it yourself.

black based wardrobe

Here are the pieces I’ll be using.  You’ll see the main base pieces are all black and I’ve kept the rest of the capsule neutral.  With just these pieces, I’ll be creating a total of 23 outfits for both work and casual.

Before we get into the black based wardrobe outfits, here are some tips to consider first.

#1- Work tonally

If you like your black based wardrobe but fear it has gotten a little staid or one-note, consider working tonally by adding shades of grey.  You will add some depth to your outfits and make them more interesting.

#2- Abandon the black shoes and bags

If your outfits feel too dark, heavy or uninspired, but you’re not ready to ditch your black clothes, consider expanding your shoe and bag colors by adding some fresh shades.   Try beige, grey, metallic or even some fun colors.

#3- Matching blacks is hard

A potential problem when you buy too much black is being able to wear all of your pieces together.  Matching blacks can be nearly impossible.  What do you wear with that black blazer, black dress or black pants if you only have other black pieces to wear with them?  This is why having a little variety in your black based wardrobe is helpful.

#4- Add complementary neutrals

If you want to branch out from all your black but aren’t ready to stray too far from your trusted color, try adding complementary neutrals.  The key is to choose neutrals that work with your black clothing.  For example, shades of camel, cognac, ivory and grey will work with your black whereas colors brown brown and navy won’t.  You want to enhance your black based wardrobe, not make it more complicated.

Outfits

Illustration is always best, so check out these 23 outfits I created using the capsule and tips I shared.

Black Pants

black based wardrobe

Black pants are a staple in most black based wardrobes.  Using this pair from Theory I created these five outfits.

The first, I created a column using this tank from Elie Tahari, almond colored cardigan from MM. Lafleur, a pair of cognac block heeled sandals from Sam Edelman, cognac bag from Rebecca Minkoff, semi-precious earrings from Nordstrom and bracelets from Karine.

The second look I created with the same Elie Tahari tank, a white blazer from Reiss, beige pumps from Sam Edelman, a grey bag from Rag & Bone and bar pendant from Nordstrom.

The third outfit was styled with an ivory sweater from Reiss, the same cognac bag from Rebecca Minkoff, gold flat sandals from Sam Edelman, and gold hoop earrings from Argento Vivo.

The 4th outfit is an all black look I styled with a black blouse from Judith & Charles, the grey Rag & Bone bag,  grey block pumps from Jimmy Choo and Karine bracelets.

Finally, the 5th look I created with a J. Crew chambray shirt, super comfortable leopard flats from Vionic, the cognac bag from Rebecca Minkoff, and Argento Vivo earrings.

Black dress

black based wardrobe

The little black dress is another staple in any black based wardrobe.  I created these three looks using this style from J. Crew.

The first look, I layered the MM. Lafleur cardigan over it and finished the look with the Sam Edelman beige pumps, cognac Rebecca Minkoff bag and Argento Vivo earrings.

Next, I styled the dress with the Sam Edelman block heel sandals, Rebecca Minkoff bag, and bar pendant necklace from Nordstrom.

The last look I styled with the white Reiss blazer, grey bag from Rag & Bone, grey Jimmy Choo heels, and crystal sphere necklace from Banana Republic.

Jeans

black based wardrobe

These next denim looks show that even if your preference is black, if you follow my tips, it won’t look like it’s the only color you own.  Using these jeans from Madwell, I created these outfits.

First, I styled the jeans with a tan tank from Theory, the almond colored cardigan from MM. Lafleur, cognac bag, heeled block sandals from Sam Edelman, bar pendant from Nordstrom and Argento Vivo earrings.

The next outfit I created with a grey top and white blazer from Reiss, gold flat sandals, grey Rag & Bone bag and hoop earrings.

I created the next outfit with the ivory sweater, leopard flats from Vionic, grey bag from Rag & Bone, and pendant.

The 4th look was created with the black Judith & Charles blouse, grey Jimmy Choo pumps, and gold bracelets from Karine.

The last look I styled the jeans with the black Elie Tahari tank, white blazer, beige pumps, Banana Republic necklace, and grey Rag & Bone bag.

Charcoal grey skirt

black based wardrobe

Instead of a black skirt, I chose this charcoal grey one from Judith & Charles.  I selected it to add some variety while not straying too far from black.

The first look I created using the ivory sweater, beige pumps, cognac bag, and pendant necklace.

The next look I styled with the tan Theory tank, ivory Reiss blazer, beige pumps, grey bag, and Banana Republic necklace.

For the 3rd look, I added the chambray shirt from J. Crew, cognac block heeled sandals, Rebecca Minkoff bag, gold bracelets, and Argento Vivo earrings.

Using the MM. Lafleur cardigan and Theory tank, I created this softer look that I finished with the Sam Edelman sandals, cognac bag, Banana Republic necklace, and hoop earrings.

White jeans

black based wardrobe

Lastly, the white jeans from J. Crew that I used to brighten up this black based wardrobe.

First, I styled the jeans with the black blouse, leopard flats, grey bag, and pendant.

The next outfit I styled with the chambray shirt, gold sandals, cognac bag, gold Banana Republic necklace, and hoop earrings.

Next, I created the third look with the grey Reiss top, gold sandals, grey bag, and gold hoop earrings.

The 4th look I created with the black tank, MM. Lafleur cardigan, heeled Sam Edelman sandals, long pendant, gold bracelets, and cognac bag.

The last outfit I styled similarly to the previous look.  I swapped out the tank with the grey top, Argento Vivo earrings, and cognac bag.

By sticking with black, but following some of my easy tips, you can keep your black based wardrobe tight while safely branching out to create a cohesive and interesting wardrobe.

 

 

  • tgchi13

    You are brilliant!!! Not that I want a black based wardrobe (rather use grey and olive) BUT – it’s a huge but – I have several quality items in black that are still useful that I’d like to make the most of rather than rehome AND – it’s a huge and – because of how you presented this, I can visually swap out the black for any other neutral (including grey).

    Brilliant.

    • Thanks so much! The beauty of this capsule is that you can swap out the black and create it with other neutrals in your closet, like olive.

  • Pat

    Very well done, Bridgette! An ensemble for every occasion….have a happy, blessed, Easter with Frank and your beautiful family.

    faithful fan,
    Pat

    Incidentally, you look great. Enjoy some new wardrobe items, you worked hard for them👍🏼

    • Hi Pat! Thanks so much and a wonderful holiday to you as well!!!

  • I have olive green eyes so tend to by a LOT of that color to play them up… but it can get one note. If I just swap olive green for the black in this post it was perfect advice for stretching my favorite neutral color! Thanks!

    • Yup! The thing I try to drive home with my clients all the time is that anything you can wear with black you can basically wear with any neutral color. I don’t wear black either but could totally create this capsule using navy, and, in your case, olive. I love olive too. LOVE!

  • Carol

    Thanks! This is brilliant! You have also shown how to transition a black wardrobe to spring. I just made an appointment at MM LaFleur. That cardigan looks like it will work with everything.

    • Hi Carol! Sounds great. I think you will like the experience. My blog post today is a review of my experience visiting the showroom last week.

  • Kelly

    Love the tip about ditching the black bag and shoes! Makes such a difference. Thanks for the suggestions, those are great outfits!

    • Right? Simple. It’s amazing what a swap in shoe or bag color can do.