Once you go black…

If you sit down with me on the couch and look through some Heather photo albums from, say, 2003 through 2010, you will find numerous photos of me wearing a certain black v-neck jersey top from Express. I bought this top, on Ebay of all places, when I was a mere 24 years old. It has seen me through many a job interview, many a day at work, as well as many a drunken night at the Nutty Irishman in Bay shore.

The top is beloved to me; it has seen me through both size 12 and size 6, always seeming to magically conform to my body-of-the-moment. Its like the Giving Tree, but in shirt form. There are many elements about this shirt that make it a timeless chink in the armor of my wardrobe – its jersey, its washable, it has a flattering cut – but most of all, the thing that makes it a staple that I keep going back to is one that I’m sure you can all identify with me on: its black.

I have a series of basically the same pair of black dress pants, from the Limited or Loft, in sizes 12, 10, 8, and 6. Oh, these pants have been on the journey of life with me. They’re one of the few items that I keep, despite the fact that they might not fit me anymore. Recently, a beloved pair of black pants from the Limited finally admitted defeat – its zipper, even after having been replaced twice by the tailor, finally zipped its last zip. They’re pants that I had faithfully worn to work once a week for years, as well as dressed up many times for holiday parties and the like. Did I pack them up for the Goodwill? Oh no. I folded up the pair and placed them, ceremoniously, into the bottom drawer of my dresser, where old clothes go to have their final rest. You’ve served me well, little black pants soldier. Now rest.

Black = slimming. Black = flattering. Black doesn’t show your thigh topography. Black slims your legs, arms and mid section like no other. Hell, even black underwear makes your bottom half look not-so-bad in the bathroom mirror. There’s a reason why fashion lore dictates that you should own a little BLACK dress. Its a classic for a reason.

From time to time you’ll hear people allege, “brown/gray/red/leopard print/etc is the new black.”


There is only one black.

Especially during this holiday time of year, which for me is a Roman-Style-Orgy eating fest on most nights, I turn to staple items in black to get me through. They make me look good, which, in turn, translates to making me feel good. Isn’t that what’s important, after all? Diets start on New Years Day. Until then, I say, break out the black wool gabardine and rich black velvet.

This top, from Loft, looks like you were digging through your attic, and you came upon a secret trunk. When you opened it, you discovered a whole pile of well-preserved clothes that your Grandma wore to the Copacabana in 1931.

This drapy top, from Banana Republic, is very elegant. However, I hate the models hair cut. It reminds me of my hair circa 8th grade. It was a bad hair year.

I’m likely going to order this black top, from Anthropologie. Its stylish, yet loose, so I can feel comfortable eating that extra dozen cookies. I’d love it with gray skinny trousers and big dangley earrings. Perhaps a maroon velvet shoe would tie the whole look together. Great, now I have to go and find all of those items as well and purchase them.

You know I’m a huge fan of the one shoulder top, here from The Limited. Again, the loose fit of the top is great for hiding the holiday pooch. Or just a really ugly belly button. Either one.

I saved this photo, from Loft, because I thought that a simple black cardigan was a must have for every woman, but to be honest, I love the whole look here. The black lace overlay skirt is a great holiday item, and if you throw it over black tights, the overall look will be very slimming. Plus, the flowered belt/cardigan/pencil skirt look reminds me of my good friend JPS.

This slouchy cardigan, from Tinley Road, is deal for hiding a muffin top.

If there’s one thing we learned from the 80’s, its that nothing hides a little extra belly bloat, and creates an hourglass silhouette, like a good structured blazer. This one is from Loft. Thanks Crocket and Tubbs, thanks.

A classic wool blazer, from Jcrew, will be hiding your holiday weight gain for years to come.

We all know that everyone must own at least one little black dress. This one, form the Limited, is a good option because it is a thick cotton pique knit. Its forgiving, but the fabric is thick enough so that you won’t see any of that pesky cellulite. Pair it with patterned tights and a brightly colored sweater, and you’re all set for work.

This model looks like an ugly giraffe, but I like her dress, from The Limited.

You need not spend a pile of cash to add a great little black dress to your wardrobe. This one, from Old Navy, is a classic baby doll shape and costs like $2.

Ah, the black pencil skirt. Can you live without it? I vote no. This one, from Loft, is a classic shape that will never go out of style.

When I was 5, I would have thought this skirt, from Anthropologie (who else?), was the greatest thing ever. I might have even worn it on my head. Now, I’m not sure how I would wear this item, but just looking at it makes me feel like a big, festive, holiday ballerina.

I’m sure you all have your favorite brand of jeans. Mine are Long and Lean from the Gap. This year, they’re offering them in black. A great alternative to the standard blue on a casual Friday.

The go-to work pant of 99% of American woman – the black trouser. I prefer mine to be in a nice wide leg cut, like these from Ann Taylor.

I’ve been told that Gap tights are the Cadillac of hosiery.

If you wear these Nine West/Boutique 9 platform heels with black tights and a black skirt, your legs will look eight miles long, and no one will suspect that you ate an entire plate of struffoli last night.

Does your back hurt because you’ve been lugging around an extra holiday ten pounds? Wear these wedge shoes, from Chinese Laundry, as the wedge redistributes the weight and relieves the pressure on your toes.

What are your holiday colors? Red and Green? Blue and Silver? Nay! I say ’tis the season to be sleek in black. Like a cat. Meow. I’m a black cat. Kinda like Halle Berry as Cat Woman, but better and not furry.

1 thought on “Once you go black…

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