They say the simple things in life are the ones that count most (true!). But they’re also the hardest to achieve. As shallow as it may be, fashion itself acquiesces to this more than you may be tempted to think. Hasty conclusions aside and prejudices out the window, and there you have it – The Black Bag – a staple for us all. I wonder though, does its simplicity translate to how easy we can style this classic piece? Don’t go D’ohh! on me just yet, cause this Black Bag thing can be a trickier business than you may think. Its iconic trait does not a great style make. To be honest with you, I think a black bag is the hardest to style because of its simplicity trap, which eventually can lead to a boring, plain look, or even old’ish, dusted style as if all you’re wearing is pulled out off some old-forgotten shelf. Yeah, we’ve been taught that black goes with anything, more so a black bag, like how hard can it be to just carry it with a colored skirt and top, right? Truth is, while a black bag worn with just about anything does not look bad per se, it may not look great either. For the past 2 years I’ve tried to stay away from black bags for this simple reason I could not find a classic-edgy balance to the look, and risked channeling Plain Jane all the time, thus misleading everyone on my true personality. So I ditched them completely and found the usage of funky, colored, printed or super embellished bags as pure style gold mines. Whatever I’d choose to wear, a printed bag would fit in in a very awkward way. You’d be surprised to find out how easy it is to incorporate a green or red messenger bag into any outfit, instantly making it look cool. Sure there are a few rules to avoid looking like a clown high on fashion and color, but bottom line is, if it looks good and it breaks an outfit’s monotony it works. Now, how can I do this with a black bag, I thought? As of this year I gave in to this staple, for the challenge if not for the necessity. And though I’m a far cry from a sartorial savvy, I guess I might’ve nailed a style balance. So, the black bag goes with anything. But not anything goes great with a black bag. When styling a black bag the key is to always have the big picture of your look and know exactly what you want to say with what you’re wearing. Otherwise you may end up looking boring, dated, un-interested in fashion. Which is perfectly fine, unless you’re aiming for the opposite. Another black bag majorly important thing is choosing it. Due to its dullness and simplicity, to avoid looking the same, you might want to consider going for quality pieces & classic shapes. Big or small, I’ve always felt black bags looks better in more structured shapes. No need breaking the bank to own one, no need becoming a Celine bag copycat, what matters though is that it looks polished & new. It may be as simple as plain day, if it has structure and a quality material it will look fantastic. Slouchy black bags need a bit more attention in styling but it’s worth a shot. How To Style Black Bags? Balance is the golden rule.
- a glamorous black bag (think golden or silver straps, studs, spikes, or patent texture, buckles… Basically a blinged version of this staple) will always guarantee a more sophisticated cool look, even if you’re going all grunge boots and leather jacket. With heels you can pull off a more posh style.
- a simple cut & design black bag, no frills and thrills involved, is perfect for a clean-cut polished office look, for a minimalist style, or simply to clash with a more sophisticated, even dolled up outfit.
What To Wear With A Black Bag?
- all-black, all-white or monochromatic outfits look best with a black bag, simply because while in the 1st case the bag blends in and pulls the style together, in the other 2 cases (white and mono), it will stand out in a very elegantly understated way. If the bag is structured and slightly expensive looking you can wear it with any outfit. No dusted-wrinkled-look risk involved. A slouchy grunge looking bag will, by opposition, shine best when paired with a more posh style (think light clean colors, statement jewelry, cool shades, rich looking shoes).
- a hint of black in your outfit, pulls it all together, so even a more colorful funky style can be paired with a black bag if it’s all an eclectic mix of old & new, cheap & expensive, colored & basic. The focus may be, in this case on something else, not the bag.
- basic clothes & colors with statement pieces can make a black bag look its best.
- motorcycle boots, jeans (grunge punk styles) look great with big black expensive looking bags or small bling’ish ones (think CHANEL style).
- hot heels, sexy high boots… well they basically can make anything look good so experiment away.
- in case you’re all NO WAY to all the above, yet you’re loving the black bag too much to let it go, when styling it, focus on accessories. Statement fun jewelry will always make an outfit look more chic and sophisticated.