The Most Stylish Ways to Wear Black and White

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Here's How to Wear Black and White With Style

three women in black and white outfits
Kirstin Sinclair, Merilyn Smith, Don Arnold/Getty Images

The black and white combination is both the easiest and the most timeless color pairing in fashion. There's no end to the ways you can wear this combo—and we've got the chic street style images and style tips to prove it. 

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Wear a Black Top and White Bottom

Getty Images: Kirstin Sinclair

The easiest way to wear black and white is to pair a black top with a white bottom (skirt, pants or jeans will do). Also, note that this is a great look if you are top heavy because the black de-emphasizes your top. Tie the whole look together with understated accessories—black ankle boots, a wide-brim hat, or a small clutch should do the trick.

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Wear a White Top With a Black Bottom

woman wearing white shirts and black bottoms
Don Arnold, Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

The best way to make the white top and black bottom look work is to choose interesting silhouettes and textures. If your pieces are too basic you'll end up looking like a waiter. (Yikes.) Try funkier cuts and elements—a statement skirt, embroidered details—in solid black or white because this palette is a natural for experimenting (i.e. a bubble skirt in black looks fresh—in fuchsia it's scary).

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Play With Proportions

woman wearing white coat and black boots
Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

The point of playing with proportions is to add some visual interest to the black and white color scheme by changing things up with shapes and cut. You can try long over short, full over fitted (like a voluminous chiffon shirt over skinny white jeans), or any interesting combination that feels like a break from the norm.

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Add Texture

woman wearing white skirt and black shirt
Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images

Solid black and white can look a little bland, even if it is classic. So, why not spice up your look with some texture. The texture can come from finishes (like patent leather or suede), fabric treatments (like pleats, ruching or ruffles) or from embellishment (like sequins or embroidery). Go wild with your texture if you want and mix up two totally different textures for maximum effect.

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Layering Prints and Solids

two women wearing black and white outfits
Kirstin Sinclair, Caroline McCredie/Getty Images

No need to be shy about mixing black and white prints with solids. The simple hues are ideal for taking on layers—a blazer, color blocking pieces, interesting knits... You name it. When it comes to black and white prints, the bolder, the better. Just make sure to scale the print to your frame (smaller for smaller frames, larger for larger frames).

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Try a Look With Bold Lines

woman wearing black and white outfits
Merilyn Smith, Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

Add a mod touch to your black and white looks with strong, geometric graphics mixing black and white; or try something subtler like contrast borders or banding. However you choose your bold lines, you must embrace them fully. The key to this look is making sure you wear it, not the other way around!

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All-Over Print

woman wearing black and white dress
Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images

This is by far the most fun way to wear black and white. Really, there's no need to add solids to a bold print to balance it, especially when it's something fun like polka dots or windowpane plaid. Pair printed separates with simple accessories in either a bold color or you know, black or white!

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Black and White After Five

Meryl Streep wearing black and white
Jason Merritt & Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Take a cue from the men's tuxedo and go with black and white combos for special occasions. It's a timeless look that takes great to sexy, glamorous fabrics like satin and silk. We love how Patricia Arquette and Meryl Streep wear black and white on the red carpet.

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Break the Rules

woman wearing black and white graphic tee
Timur Emek/Getty Images

Above all, remember that fashion is meant to be fun, and even this classic color combination can be wild and playful. Mix sequins and cotton, denim and silk. Whatever feels right to you and makes you feel confident and beautiful when you wear it? That's what you should wear.