Blame it on the economy, or simply on the grayer, colder days days ahead, but don't call fall's black styles brooding, says celebrity stylist and "My Body My Style" host Sam Saboura.
"These black looks are very sophisticated, very sleek and beautiful," he tells StyleList, "and I think if you choose to mix black with the right colors, you can make it less severe for fall and look totally on trend."
And -- bonus! -- most women already have at least one great piece of black clothing in their closet. So, where to begin on putting together a modern style? Our resident pair of experts (in this case Saboura and designer Catherine Malandrino) offer tips on how to wear black without looking too goth.
Add color, but keep it toned down.
- Save the neon brights for another season. This fall, think dark colors to compliment all the black, Saboura says. Right now, he's loving oxblood red, charcoal gray and hunter green. "Those are the three colors you can incorporate into accessories, into knits, into your handbag, to soften the all-black look a little bit," he says.
- Designer Catherine Malandrino, who showed several black looks in her fall collection, agrees. "I've been thinking about a new way to reinvent black -- with deep shades of dark blue," she tells StyleList. "Emerald, burgundy and distressed fabrics."
Play with texture.
- Malandrino says there are several fall textures that make black feel new. "I am most excited about ... trapunto black leather, layered transparent chiffon under black satin, black trim of Kidassia fur and black leather macrame," she says.
- Saboura says texture is the most interesting thing you can do when you're wearing something all black or monochromatic. "What it does is add lots of levels and dimension to an outfit," he says, suggesting knits, especially big, chunky cardigans, as great layering pieces. "I think a flat, black outfit not only does nothing to break up your style, but it also gives a little bit of a sad, boring quality to your look."
- "You can bring in a lot of texture to an all-black outfit with a great pair of lace tights or textured tights in black," Saboura says. He says layering a textured tight with an over-the-knee sock and a high boot or lace-up bootie is an especially cool look for fall.
- "There are really simple ways to incorporate lace," he says. "You could do a long-sleeve lace tee over your favorite tank top, and then throw a big, chunky black knit over that and that gives you a lot of trend and a lot of style, as well."
- "That adds a lot of dimension, especially with the lower half of your body, which a lot of women don't think about," he says. "Younger girls are probably going to be more apt to wear the tight and stocking trend, but, in general, I think that even though we're seeing lots of black, the looks are still layered, knit-oriented and cozy and sophisticated. So, it's about being a little ladylike and a little edgy at the same time."
- Other lace looks for fall, Saboura says, include beautiful lace tops or lace cardigans.
- "I like black with distressed metal or raw stones -- but not with colorful jewelry," Malandrino says.
- Saboura says lace-up, peep-toe booties, wedge boots and over-the-knee-boots are all huge trends for fall, but you don't have to buy them in traditional black.
- "Look for different tones," he says. "There are beautiful dark grays, beautiful oxblood colors and fantastic dark green leathers and suedes. Those are really cool alternatives to buying a basic black boot and they're still going to be timeless and something you can revisit season after season without looking like you made a trend purchase. That's a great way to break up all your black, and it allows women to wear more black clothing, but still look stylish and not like you're going to a funeral."
- "Black leather and woven fur with a black wool canvas culotte or black trapunto leather and fur coat with a black jersey harem pant," are Malandrino's top black looks for the season.
Whatever styles become your standard go-tos, Saboura says to work with black pieces you already own. "It can be as simple as wearing an all black outfit and choosing to wear gray tights underneath it," Saboura says. "Just do something to break up the body. It makes your outfit look a little more interesting and little more modern."