black + blonde

all black with nude shoes
sunglasses | earrings | sweater | bag (similar) | ring | jeans (similar) | shoes

Perhaps it’s because we recently watched the entire three seasons of Wallander, with all that moody Swedish light and those sparse Scandinavian interiors. Or perhaps I just need the occasional visual palate cleanse. Either way, I was in the mood for a very pared-down look.

Kenneth Branagh in "Wallander"
Kenneth Branagh as “Wallander.” Still not too hard on the eyes.

This ring is a perfect simple, bold accessory for the outfit.

Wendy Brandes Clemence ring, Clare V. bag
Clemence Ring from Wendy Brandes. Nails: Chanel Le Vernis in “Ballerina”

Ever since I pinned this all-black-with-nude-shoes outfit, I’ve been obsessed with trying to recreate it for myself, but just couldn’t get the look right. With a pointed toe pump (the only nude shoes in my wardrobe), my feet looked disproportionately small. I decided a shoe with more visual volume was needed, but hadn’t found the right ones until I saw these block-heel sandals sitting on the shelf at Eileen Fisher. They are perfect, and so very comfortable.

on the toes: Chanel Vernis in "Rouge Noir"
on the toes: Chanel Le Vernis in “Vamp”

While I like the concept of this outfit, and shoes and accessories, I think I can put together a better version with a bit more of the softness and movement I prefer. And we did enjoy Wallander, despite the occasional credulity-stretching plot conveniences, and frequent “two degrees of separation” between the main character and either victims or perpetrators.

Does the mood of a movie or TV show ever inspire your outfit choices?

Linked up with Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, “Shoe and Tell” at Style Crone and Style Nudge.


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  1. OOoh, could you change it to black and beige? or black and neutral? As an Irish girl, black and tan always has such negative connotations…

      1. British Military in Ireland. Cruel, violent, and bitterly hated. It kills me that a perfectly good drink can remind some people of such terrible times.

        One of the nicest things about you is that you’re so open minded!

  2. Beautiful shoes! They bookend your hair perfectly and an all black outfit gets full marks from me 🙂 Very elegant. I am also a Wallander fan! Easy on the eye indeed 🙂 And I quite like his style!

  3. This is beautiful head to toe. I watched a movie called Be Cool years ago with Uma Thurman and I was so obsessed with her wardrobe that I actually sketched out each outfit so I’d remember.

  4. I love black and tan, if not the “black and tans” or police force created by the British to fight IRA and pretty much loathed by the Irish people…I think I have that correct. Thanks to Adrien McKinty novels.
    Love Wallander as well. The long shots of flat countryside where everything seems to look like either a wheat field or the sky…are what I remember. Brilliantly shot. But you’re right sometimes the plots are a bit iffy.

    1. susan, thanks for the background. I was unaware of that association. Yes, the cinematography in Wallander was outstanding and really set a mood.

  5. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head as far as movies or TV, except maybe Lady Mary’s recent haircut and sleek clothing. I do like the color combination of this outfit. The colors of your hair, skin, and accessories are a great contrast to the black. I really love a crisp unfaded black. What you are showing here is just right, to me.

  6. Yes to a mature Kenneth Branagh – I find him so watchable. Love your black and nude look, and I agree – wearing all black is like a rest for my spirit.

    1. Patti, thank you! It’s interesting how black feels so serene to some of us. And Kenneth…he’s always been lovely to watch, more so now than ever.

  7. I have a vintage vicuna coat that I think of as my Downton Abbey coat. And a couple Spencer Alexis outfits, one has a grey lace skirt & fringed top. When I want to go all out, I wear it with pointed-toe lace-up boots and a reproduction Victorian hat.

    1. I too have what I think of as a “Downton Abbey” coat – with a distinctive fold-over collar. I love the sleek (no waist), lace trimmed dresses, the “mary jane” type shoes, the cloche hats.

      1. Elle, the coat sounds lovely. I like so many of those early 20th century styles. Have you ever watched House of Elliott?

  8. I just bought that exact sweater a few days ago!
    Am also a Wallander fan, but enjoyed the swedish version even more than the Kenneth Branagh ones.

    1. DK, it’s such an easy sweater to style, isn’t it? Have added the Swedish version to my list to find and watch.

  9. I am fairly new to you blog and love it! It’s the first thing I look at when I openly computer. Please tell me how you arrived at your current hair color. It’s fabulous, as is the cut, and such a difference from your earliest blogs.

    1. Arlene, thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. I’m very fortunate to have a GREAT colorist/stylist. A couple of years ago I got tired of how quickly my red color faded and roots showed, so showed him a picture of a very platinum style (might have been Agness Deyn) and he loved the challenge. We’ve tweaked just a little over the last few months, going cooler with the base color over time, and I’m very happy with the color right now.

  10. Another vote for Swedish Wallander but , unlike some ,I’m happy with subtitles . I found Branagh rather over emotional . I do like your pared down look as I’m not keen on too many fussy bits now .

    1. Wendy, now I’m going to have to track down the Swedish version! Thanks, I’m also in fuss-avoidance mode.

  11. I really like the shoes. I have tan shoes left over from other days and will try them with black. I haven’t seen the Swedish Wallander but I did enjoy Branagh.

    1. Madame Là-bas, I’ve seen so many great outfits using tan shoes with black. Hope you’ll share on your blog. And thanks!

  12. Matthew Branagh is lovely, as is this outfit. I tend to steer clear of movie-inspired outfits after I overdid the safari look in high school. A friend took one look at my long green skirt, khaki blouse and scarf, and said “I had a farm in Africa…”

    I do lust after some of Katniss’ sweaters in Catching Fire, although the one worn over the jacket seems impractical.

    I also like Tea Leoni’s outfits in Madame Secretary, except for her tendency to wear long-sleeve blouses with 3/4 length blazers, which just looks weird. What do you think about that look? (If you’re not familiar, there’s a pic here:

    1. Joan, weren’t we all inspired by the lovely costumes in Out of Africa? I think that movie launched a thousand safari jackets. 😉 I kind of like longer sleeves underneath 3/4 sleeve jackets, but more so for tees or sweaters. And thank you!

      1. I agree with Joan about the 3/4 jackets. I much prefer the outfits that Juliana Marguiles wears on The Good Wife.

  13. Ever since we watched 3 seasons of Borgen, I have wanted a watermelon pink wool coat like the one Birgitta wears!
    Love the black outfit with light shoes!

    1. Murphy, I’ve never seen Borgen, but now am intrigued and will have to check it out. Thank you!

  14. Wow, your ring and your beautiful hands are stand-outs! Also, Kenneth Branagh never fails to fascinate. Found him a bit mopey (but eminently watchable) as Wallander– hubby and I love whodunits, and the Scandinavian settings were refreshing. I think of him as a Spring or some other “light” entity though, so like him better in, say, blue oxford cloth or maybe a yellow v neck sweater, ha.

    Movie clothes and settings are an endless source of inspiration. Loved Kim Novak’s dove gray suits in “Vertigo”, Joan Bennett’s suburban California outfits in “The Reckless Moment”, and so many more. Film noir is my biggest sartorial influence!

  15. Very chic…love the shoes and the ring with that leopard clutch.
    We have seen several episodes of Wallender but right now we are watching Land Girls on Netflix…set in wartime England. Quite good and the setting and sets are gorgeous.

  16. I have a question about the EF sweater. Really like the way it looks. Do you find that it is lightweight enough to 1. work for summertime indoor air conditioned environment, and 2. skim the body curves when you move to show hint of waistline?

    1. Pam, thanks! I do think this sweater would be too heavy/warm for summer. It’s cut straight up and down, but I think it’s soft enough that it doesn’t look boxy. You might check out some of the linen sweaters for warm weather options, plus they drape very nicely.

  17. I love this colour combination. You look so casual-glam in it to my eye. And I love how you’ve slipped in that photo of Ken (on a first name basis doncha know?). At first I thought it was your husband with the similar photo vibe. Woody Allen spoiled my image of Ken since the movie Celebrity, not in a bad way; it’s just harder to take him seriously now. Do movies influence my personal styling? All the time! I recognized Wendy Brandes’ ring immediately. Great piece!

    1. Melanie, I figured we could all use some Friday eye candy. I haven’t seen that movie, but I’ve heard he’s rather a handful to work with IRL. Still…
      And thank you!

  18. Your sweater is great! In fact, it’s exactly like my sweater except that the color of mine is denim. I love your blog and have been addicted for about six months. You’ve converted me to Eileen Fisher. I’d never tried her before and now I just can’t stop. Your style is perfect, simple and somewhat feminine. Please know that you’re an inspiration and keep up the good work!

    1. amidprivilege, thanks so much! I really like the block heels that are trending now. Easier to walk in too!

  19. You do “pared down” to perfection. Your ensemble makes the leopard print bag and your gorgeous Wendy B ring pop. It’s all about the details.

  20. This neutral colour combination is one of my favourite! Always in love with animal prints.
    Although we had a wonderful spring weekend, it is yet too early for open shoes but I love your open booties!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  21. Definitely those days of Sex and The City was inspiring for me, but now that I watch Games Of Throne, how inspiring can that be? 😉 I always think that black outfit compliments blonde really well. The pin inspiration is cool and I too wish I could find my perfect nude pump soon…

    1. Cherie, I’ve tried linking a couple of times but keep getting an error message. Will try again later, thanks!

  22. You look fabulous in your Wallanderette outfit! Very chic,very sleek, very broody, so Nordic looking … I agree. (Branagh improves with age, I agree.) Delicious Wendy ring, too! I’d love to have the style-smarts to consider how my foot proportion figures into style equations … gotta consider this in future. And you’re talking about a subject that I’ve been thinking a bit about this very week. I fell into three very good deals on three pairs of pale tan/nude spring sandals, in varying-degrees-of-dressy sandals, a pair each of Gianni Binni, Vince Camuto and Alex/Marie. I’m determined to learn how to get the most out of nude shoes this spring, but even though they theoretically go with “evertything”, I suspect there’s a trick to make them really work well. What, pray, are your thoughts on this?

    1. Jan, what I’ve found is that light or nude shoes work best when there’s something light on the top half to balance them out. A light blouse or top, a jacket, or in my case, hair. 😉