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How to Wear Black in the Summer

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tips on how to wear black in the summer by wardrobe oxygen

Being Comfortable When You Wear Black in the Summer:

Many of you have shared with me that you are uncomfortable when you wear black in the summer. A dark color usually connected to the colder months, black clothing can seem hot and heavy when the temps rise. I’m a fan of the color black all year round, and regularly wear it in summer. Some advice on how to wear black in the summer without looking out of season or being uncomfortable:

tips on how to wear black in the summer by wardrobe oxygenPairing a black sundress with a straw bag and cork wedge sandals.  
See the whole look at this link.  Shop similar: dress | bag | sunglasses | shoes

More Black, Less Fabric

Black absorbs the sun, so it can make you warmer even faster. I find the best way to wear black in the summer is keep it for the smaller pieces in your wardrobe. Camisoles and tanks, shorts that are 5” or shorter, sleeveless dresses that are around the knee. A black maxi dress, capri pants, or lightweight jacket may seem practical but they scream cooler months (and may make you scream with how hot you will feel in it!).

Balance Black with a Lighter Color

My favorite color pairing for summer is black with tan. Pair a black sundress with tan or nude-to-you sandals, a tan straw hat or bag, tan or light brown leather belt or purse. Tan is a summer color, and it lightens the feeling of black while still keeping the look polished.

Black also looks very smart with white. A black top with white shorts or jeans and nude-to-you shoes, a black cami topped with a white blazer, a black shirtdress with a white belt. The look is clean and crisp, and the white makes the combination definitely summery.

I recommend with a black and white outfit to try to have the white be the primary color (white pants with a black tank, white skirt with a black blouse). If the primary color is black, choose a summer fabric (cotton, linen, eyelet) and be sure the shoes are summery (open toe, sandal, etc.) so the look is seasonally appropriate.

tips on how to wear black in the summer by wardrobe oxygenPair black with a pair of low-profile trendy sneakers in a light color.
See the whole look at this link.  Shop similar: jacket | dress | sunglasses | sneakers

Keep Black on Top

Black pants and skirts scream fall and winter. Consider black tops with bottoms in light neutrals (tan, khaki, white, cream, chambray, olive) or watercolor brights (yellow, turquoise, orchid, candy pink, Kelly green) to give a summery feel. Again, if the largest part of the look is the summery color, the black will look seasonally appropriate.

Steer Clear of [Most] Black Shoes

Unless they’re delicate, I don’t recommend black shoes in summer. The effect is very heavy and even if it’s a pair of sandals, the look can skew fall. I highly recommend a tan or nude-to-you color of sandal, which elongates the leg and goes with most everything. For dressy occasions, switch out your black heels for a pair in a metallic. This tip is extra important when wearing a black outfit as a black shoe can make the entire look very heavy and wintry.

tips on how to wear black in the summer by wardrobe oxygenA pair of nude-to-you sandals will summer-ize black dresses, shorts, and cropped pants.
See the whole look at this link. Shop similar: hat | dress | sunglasses | tote | sandals

Choose Lightweight Fabrics

While white jeans will look summery, black jeans scream winter. Same fabric, but the color makes a major difference.  When wearing black in the summer, try to stick to lighter-weight fabrics that will balance the darker color.  Linen, cotton, voile, gauze, and silk all catch summer breezes and give a summery vibe even in a dark color.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. You are so right about the fabric. Today I wore a black polyester dress and a pair of black pleather leggings, and I just felt hot and stinky !

  2. Alternately, from the Ask a Goth archives: put on your summer clothes. 😉 (I do have a really pretty oxblood sundress…)

  3. I agree about black shoes, but I have gotten a lot of mileage out of strapy black patent leather sandals.
    Black/white is a major color group in my warm weather wardrobe and they look better to me than white sandals, which tend to accentuate my pale white legs.

  4. Thanks for the tips on wearing black during the summer! You look great in the sleeveless Aline!

  5. I think black trousers can look good in summer, but generally steer clear of black skirts. I did have a pretty long black dress once, but otherwise I hate the contrast of black skirt with pearly white legs! Anybody else have that problem?

  6. Thank you for choosing this topic to write about. The tip of tan and black together plus the tip of avoiding black shoe is enlightening . I never could quite get rid of that “heavy” feeling when I wore black in past summers. Now I know why and I hope this summer to appear less wintery. Love the hat!!!!

  7. Hi – Love the Trouve dress you recently highlighted and are wearing above with the twist in front…question is sizing…I see it comes in an XLL but as a size 16 or sometimes 18…could I fit into a size XXL in this brand/dress? I appreciate this post…as I wear black often but had wondered if I looked “off” wearing it in the summer.

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