Summer’s Stark Choice

Wildfox Two-Tone Sunglasses

While I will always love the bright colors and abstract patterns of summer fashions, sometimes the absence of color packs even more of a punch. Lately, I’ve been seeing the world in a more graphic way which means gravitating towards black and white for my warm weather clothing and accessories. What I find so versatile is that, depending on one’s attitude du jour, black and white, particularly color-blocked or in geometric form, can convey that the wearer is not only fun and funky but also creative and sophisticated, something few other color combos can provide.

For me, seeing things in this negative/positive juxtaposition was a subtle shift, perhaps brought on back in May when I spotted a young woman walking down my street with an unusual and eye-catching pair of sunglasses. Oddly, I saw her on multiple days, each time provoking me to do a double take at the “Twiggy-meets-Anime” specs. Round, thick and black-and-white cookie-ish, I craved them in a way usually reserved for a sugary treat.

Online I found that the item tempting me with its “Siren song” was available, not in the Bermuda Triangle but at my port of call aka Bloomingdale’s. They were from Wildfox and under $200, a label formerly known for its baggy, faded, oversized beach sweatshirts and other articles of clothing more appropriate for Millennials. Although I felt particularly unglamorous that day, when I donned the sunnies somehow my perspective changed. Seeing the world through blue tinted lenses, as long as the frames are so interesting, stark and transformative, may have much the same effect as the proverbial rose-tinted ones. Funny how I’ve not seen the original wearer, or anyone else in these glasses, since becoming the proud owner of a pair. Was she a mere spec-ter (ha) of my consciousness or is she perhaps vacationing in the Hamptons?

Fendi Runway Cat-Eyes glasses

Soon after the Wildfox purchase, I spied a pair of Fendi Runway Cat-Eyes in an optical store window.  These feature a black and white almost cartoonish, very exaggerated cat-eye face, red arms and a much higher price tag ($475). Under the guise of curiosity I keep meaning to go in and try them on, however, since curiosity killed the cat-(eye); my wallet and I are resisting. Even my super powers of shopping rationalization are not good enough to convince me that I need two pairs of black and white shades.

Though not consciously seeking to match my eye-wear to my overall look, more days than not I seem to be clad in some sort of black and white mix, generally involving a graphic patterned piece and a solid. Perhaps I am being influenced through my emails including this shot from Opening Ceremony featuring their Teva sandals.

Oliver Rousteing for Balmain is another source of inspiration for a swinging ’60s mod take on black and white fashion. This is a statement making jacket if ever there was one.

Didier Parakian coat and Diesel jeans

Diesel has an intriguing pinstriped pair of coated jeans that fill the bill without going overly “Beetlejuice.” Though not as linear a look, I actually own this Didier Parakian linen coat and have gotten many compliments on it despite the feeling that I’m channeling a modern day PETA friendly
Cruella DeVil in a modified Dalmatian print.

Sandra Bullocks Minion pumps by Rupert Sanderson

Black and white, since it covers the color spectrum, is always inclusive. A pop of color such as the touch of red seen on the Fendi sunglasses is always welcome and can lend a Mondrian-ish effect. I like the approach taken by Sandra Bullock on the “Minions” yellow carpet. Her Minion yellow, black and white shoes by Rupert Sanderson not only match her Roksanda dress (is it just me or does the top resemble crime tape or an errant Post-it across her chest?). It’s nice to know that these custom painted pumps will do some good: ten pairs, signed by the actress are being auctioned off on to benefit Art + Practice, a Los Angeles based non-profit supporting foster youth.

WSJ Frank Miller’s favorite things

Not surprisingly, Frank Miller, legendary comic book and graphic novel creator of “Sin City” and “300,” is inspired by linear black and white. Last week’s WSJ magazine featured his “favorite things” which included a pair of slightly clown-like Chuck Taylor All Star Converses, his “favorite tennis shoes to wear and draw.” “I go for that combination of red, black and white a lot” he remarks in reference to the distinctive kicks. All the more proof that black and white linear prints “play well with others,” stimulate one’s creative powers and, as polar opposites, convey a dramatic visual message.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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