A black suit, like a little black dress, is one of those timeless essentials in any woman's wardrobe. However, don't be put off by the fact that nearly every woman has one. Fortunately, infusing this ensemble with a dose of your personality is as simple as choosing a top that reflects your own cultivated style. Whether you're looking for a top that evokes a modern and office-appropriate look, or you want a shirt that lends a feminine, dressed-up appeal, you've got options to fit nearly any occasion.
Whether you're tired of a super-sleek monochromatic look or you're simply looking for a way to add some cheery visual interest to your ensemble, a pop of color in your all-black suit is what you need. For dressier occasions, reach for a button-front blouse in a bold, saturated hue, such as vivid fuchsia or aqua. Or, for more laid-back events, add a knit top in a soft color -- think lavender, pale pink or antiqued green.
For a sleek, chic appearance, go tonal. A tonal top is simply a garment in a color that either matches your suit or is some variant of that shade. In the case of a black suit, going tonal means wearing a black matching top or any gray-hued top. Pull on a black top -- think crew-neck or V-neck lightweight knit with metallic fibers for extra shine while remaining tonal. Or, reach for a pale gray round-neck blouse for a kick of interest while retaining your polished appearance.
Add a dose of femininity to your otherwise menswear-inspired look by opting for a highly embellished shirt. One take on this styling idea is to go with a little bit of shine or other visual interest. Opt for a black knit top with allover black sequin detailing, or choose a black button-front shirt with embroidery along the placket. You can also look for a blouse embellished with ruffles instead of or in addition to the other details.
When the experience calls for a sophisticated, no-frills look -- or if you just happen to have an aesthetic that leans toward the preppier side of fashion -- reach for a classic top. A white button-down blouse is as classic as it gets. Look for a crisp white shirt in either all cotton or a cotton-poly blend. Make it your own by looking for subtle yet interesting details, such as a tall stand-collar or extended cuffs with multiple buttons. Or, if you're looking for an even more streamlined approach, opt for an invisible top. Imagine you're wearing a suit with a double-breasted jacket that boasts a high neckline. Add a black scoop-neck knit top that dips below your jacket's closure for a black-suit-only appearance.
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Tarah Damask's writing career began in 2003 and includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum and articles for various websites. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.
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