Celebrating Summer In Black (And White)

how to wear black in summer

Happy Solstice! Even though it’s officially summer, I’m not about to put aside my favorite color…

necklace | necklacesweater (similar) | tank | ring | bag | jeans | sandals

Yes, there are ways to wear black in summer and a) not fry and b) look seasonally appropriate. One of the easiest is to look for fabrics with a loose weave in natural fibers like linen. Lace or eyelet insets will lighten the look of a black piece, and provide some ventilation. Cuts that don’t cling, and float away from the body look lighter and will be more comfortable. Pairing a black piece with something lighter (as I’ve done here) also keeps the overall look from being too oppressive. Or if you’re comfortable with sleeveless, off-the-shoulder, or short-sleeved styles, showing a bit of skin will lighten the look.

French Kande necklaces, layered necklaces

Clare V leopard clutch, French Kande ring

Stuart Weitzman sandals

Here are a couple of previous Summer Black outfits:

Too Darn Hot

Street Style, Beverly Hills Edition

How do you wear black in summer?

Linked up: #iwillwearwhatilike, Visible Monday

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43 Comments

  1. sybes1
    June 20, 2016 / 3:33 am

    Love this look! Nice to see you in black….

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:16 pm

      sybes1, thanks! Always feels good to wear a bit of black. 🙂

  2. Yvonne
    June 20, 2016 / 5:05 am

    Love this outfit on you! I too wear a lot of black all year round and in summer usually in cotton and fancy tee type tops. P.S. those shoes are spectacular!!!

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:15 pm

      Yvonne, thank you very much!

  3. Meg
    June 20, 2016 / 6:04 am

    Very elegant looking, I like the way you put the white on top and bottom, so the base layer is elongating. I am vertically challenged and always trying to stretch my figure. I personally have to shelve jeans for several months due to the heat and humidity here, but I like to wear black and white with stripes for a summery pizazz!

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:15 pm

      Meg, thanks very much! I love the heightening effect a column of color gives.

  4. June 20, 2016 / 6:15 am

    I wear a ton of sunblock all the time. It makes certain fabrics stain or turn yellow. So the safest color to wear is black. I tend to wear white if we go out in the evening–I’m not going to apply sun lotion–and black during the day.
    Your outfit is cute and cool!

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:14 pm

      francetaste, that’s a really good point about the sunblock. Thank you!

      • June 20, 2016 / 1:18 pm

        I asked this on a beauty blog last year, to no avail. Do you have any recommendations for sun block that doesn’t ruin white clothes? Maybe they all do and we need to wear black by day. I know it depends on the fabric. I have things that are unperturbed, and others ruined. Even the high-SPF rash guard for swimming, in white, is now a gross, uneven yellow.

        • Susan B
          June 20, 2016 / 1:37 pm

          francetaste, I’m not sure whether it’s chemical sunscreens that are the issue, but if you’re using chemical sunscreens you might want to try switching to one that’s 100% mineral (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide). I use this one from Clarins on my face (as it works well under makeup) http://bit.ly/28J3UXd and I’ve begun using Drunk Elephant on my neck, arms and decollete http://bit.ly/28J3SyJ

          • June 20, 2016 / 1:46 pm

            I’ll take a look. I have a mineral sun block from Avène, but I can only wear it for skiing. It looks like Kabuki makeup, even though it’s tinted. It passes in the dead of winter, but now? Both my parents had skin cancer, also an aunt, and a good friend has melanoma (OK, not genetically relevant to me, but a wake-up call). It’s depressing trying to keep up with protection.

  5. Maria
    June 20, 2016 / 6:28 am

    Looking fabulous! Love this this outfit!!

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Thanks so much, Maria!

  6. June 20, 2016 / 7:39 am

    Just bought two black summer dresses — one’s linen, a just-above-the-knee short-sleeved shift, which I find cool enough for our temperatures here, not often above 35 C (96F?), and the other’s midi-length, silk with a cotton lawn short slip layer. Both are loose enough for a breeze.
    Love those sandal tassels — I was going to say they’d go well with the pom-pommed hem on my black linen dress (Madewell), but might just be overkill

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Frances, thanks, and if it’s the same Madewell dress I’m thinking of, might be fun having the two sets of tassels play off each other…

  7. June 20, 2016 / 8:39 am

    I have a black linen dress and a bamboo dress that are cool for summer. I love the Eileen Fisher linen tank top that I bought over two seasons ago…it looks and feels so good and goes with my white jeans. Keeping cool in the heat saves my energy….I just need to keep hydrating so that I don’t melt!
    Your Kande accessories really make this look.
    Hope you are enjoying retirement!

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:12 pm

      Hostess, thank you! Bamboo is a lovely fabric for warm weather, and so soft too.

  8. June 20, 2016 / 8:44 am

    My ALL time favorite color combination 🙂

    Monica.

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:11 pm

      Monica, mine too! 😉 Thanks!

  9. marsha calhoun
    June 20, 2016 / 9:35 am

    As you prove, the crispness of black and white is a most refreshing summer combination.

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:11 pm

      Marsha, thank you!

  10. June 20, 2016 / 10:35 am

    Love this outfit and I wear black in the summer as well. Just ordered your sweater in the black and the natural.

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:11 pm

      Thanks so much KPL! I think you’ll enjoy the sweaters, and the weight is perfect for LA too.

      • June 21, 2016 / 7:12 am

        I agree – trying to stock up on summer sweaters for the winter. No more heavy knits!

  11. June 20, 2016 / 11:38 am

    I honed in on two things in this photo, 1) the length of your white jeans is perfect, letting your cute tasseled shoes have their “moment”, and 2) I think your short hair style, is very pretty and relative on you. I believe it takes courage to go short like this — and it’s working!

    • Susan B
      June 20, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      Kande, thanks so much! I’m really enjoying my shorter cut.

      • Turner
        June 21, 2016 / 7:15 am

        I agree, your hair looks great! So chic.

  12. Duchesse
    June 20, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    I too wear black in summer but like it best in evening. In daytime heat it feels and looks hot, even in air-conditioning. Black linen is my favourite but often needs to be re-dyed to stay that inky, true black. Your leopard clutch is so much fun.

    • Susan B
      June 21, 2016 / 11:52 am

      Duchesse, thanks! I’ve found if I’m going to be in direct sun for extended periods, sometimes black can be too warm, but otherwise doesn’t bother me.

  13. happinessatmidlife
    June 20, 2016 / 8:22 pm

    This heat wave is sure crazy. I agree with your tips on staying cool in this heat.

    Alice
    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

    • Susan B
      June 21, 2016 / 11:51 am

      Thanks, Alice, and yes it does seem odd to have this kind of heat in June…

  14. June 21, 2016 / 5:47 am

    You wear black beautifully, Sue. I wear a lot of black tanks and tees all summer too, choosing lightweight cottons and linen. xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

    • Susan B
      June 21, 2016 / 11:50 am

      Thanks, Patti!

  15. June 21, 2016 / 7:34 am

    I love wearing black & white, black w/ neon on the bottom, black with whatever! I’m a native NYer and it’s my birthright. As far as white & sunscreen – I tend to buy the white items in natural fabric and that I can bleach and spot clean… I’ve tried blueing them (for extra whiteness), not really worth the effort. They become rags eventually.

  16. Pamela
    June 21, 2016 / 9:04 am

    That high contrast look is so good on you!! A question – I have that same EF tank and it’s very comfortable in the summer, although it’s not opaque and find I must wear a white tank or cami underneath to boost the solidness of the white color. In your photo, it looks so perfectly white, but no visible cami or other outlines underneath. What’s your secret?

    • Susan B
      June 21, 2016 / 11:50 am

      Hi Pamela, thanks! I find that with this tank, if I wear it on its own I prefer something underneath to add opacity, but when I wear it underneath a cardigan or jacket, it feels opaque enough. Maybe the lighting in this photo or the contrast with the black makes it appear more solidly white?

  17. Carol Frey
    June 24, 2016 / 5:55 am

    I’d like to purchase the same EF organic linen tank and wonder if yours is a petite size or a regular size as it seems longer than the description would indicate? Also, do you “size up” in this to allow for shrinkage? Thank you for answering my questions … your style is spot-on for us shorter girls!

    • Susan B
      June 24, 2016 / 6:38 am

      Hi Carol, thanks. I don’t size up on these, and I’m wearing a Petite Small. I don’t find they shrink as long as I don’t put them in the dryer. They line dry nicely in a few hours.

      • Carol Frey
        June 27, 2016 / 8:48 am

        Thanks!

  18. shelbeeontheedge1
    June 28, 2016 / 8:23 am

    I love an all white outfit with black accessories and other splashes of black. So classic and chic. This outfit is so pretty and flattering! I love it!

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

  19. christine
    July 15, 2016 / 1:13 am

    Thank goodness that it’s not de rigueur to wear my beautiful (and tres comfortable) white linen pants in Paris. They fit me like a glove. All the other blogs I’ve read say ‘black, black and black’. Yours is the first blog that fits with my wardrobe. Thankyou!

  20. Jackie Ruffoni
    April 1, 2017 / 4:17 am

    Do you have a section on elegant casual beach/pool to bar/restaurant for the over 60’s please?
    I find this area so difficult. Thanks.

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