Black and White … All Over Paris

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I’m a very black and white person. Things are either wonderful, amazing, spectacular…. or they suck. I’m either rapturous or (as Anne of Green Gables, my childhood hero, used to say) in the “depths of despair.” I either love something, or detest it. Books, places, people, haircuts… certainly haircuts… and particularly outfits. And with respect to fashion, it’s no surprise that I love pure, crisp, snowy white, and luscious, velvety black.

So the fashions featured on the runways this spring, and in the magazines, and on my favourite blogs seemed right up my alley. White, white, and more white. A white jacket was the very first item on my spring shopping wish list.

All white, head to toe, seemed to be everywhere. Like this beautiful Armani suit I saw in Vogue.

Giorgio Armani white suit

And I also noticed lots of monochromatic black on black looks. Like this one from IRO, also pictured in Vogue.

IRO black leather jacket and black pants

But, you know, I’m not sure I like all white or all black… at least on me. But I love, love, love black and white together. Like this simple, elegant outfit from

Vince black and white blouse and black trousers
And the timelessly chic, black and white look in this Fabiana Filippi ad in Vogue. I love the long, loose tunic with the long jacket. This would look great with jeans as well.
Fabiana Filippi black suit with white tunic
Or this outfit Kristen Scott Thomas wore to the Giorgio Armani Haute Couture SS15 show in Paris this past January. Scott Thomas is really working the white on white with this crisp, tuxedo-style shirt and elegantly cut jacket. But I love that, on the bottom, it’s black leather trousers and black cut-out heels. She’s great isn’t she? And at age fifty-five (almost), she’s a fashion icon for all of us over-fifty types who aspire to simple, polished, “not over the hill yet” style. Or as Patti calls it in her blog… “Not Dead Yet Style.”
Kristin Scott Thomas in Armani jacket and leather trousers at Armani Couture SS15 show        Kristin Scott Thomas in Armani jacket and leather trousers at Armani Couture SS15 show

So, naturally, since it was on my spring shopping list, I bought a white jacket. And it was actually quite similar to Kristin Scott Thomas’s jacket… except mine was NOT Armani. Still, it was long and silky, tuxedo-style with a single button closure, and would have looked divine with a white tee shirt and black pants. Or with jeans. I really liked it. But I also knew that I would NOT be packing it for our upcoming Paris trip. Too crushable, and stainable, and definitely ruin-able to risk taking it on our trip. Ah well. I could wear it when I got home.
But then….I called my friend Liz at Nordstrom to see if she could find me something a bit dressy to wear out to dinner in Paris. I wanted a long, loose, silky top preferably in black.
When I showed up at Nordstrom a few days later, this is what Liz had ready for me to try on. Shazam! Were we on the same wave-length or what? This Rag and Bone, crew-neck tank was exactly what I had in mind. It’s cut like a tee shirt at the neck and shoulders, and long enough to hide the middle age middle. And the layers make it kind of floaty and lovely and light. Great with black pants or white jeans, and with a jacket and loafers, or without the jacket and with sandals when the weather warms up a little….or a lot. Perfect.
black Rag and Bone tank, white NYDJ white jeans, black Stuart Weitzman loafers
And then, while I was oohing and aahing over the top and how well it looked with my white cropped jeans, Liz disappeared and came back with a beautiful, black Helmut Lang jacket. And said…”I know you just bought the white Theory jacket, and you don’t need another one… but just try this on.” Oh my. It slipped on sooooo easily and fit me perfectly. Beautifully cut, with sleeves like a sweater….so soft and stretchy…and…. wonderful. Now… I had a problem. The retirement budget would definitely NOT stretch to two new jackets. But a black jacket would be so much more practical and versatile. And I could take this jacket to France. And I sure did love it. Even more than my new, white Theory jacket. And even though I had taken the Theory jacket home, it was still hanging in its garment bag with the tags still on…. I teetered on the edge between rapture and despair. “Just bring the Theory jacket back, Sue,” said Liz. So I did.
See. My new Helmut Lang jacket looks great with the Rag and Bone tank, and my white cropped jeans and black loafers. I know heels might be better with this outfit, but I’m not planning to bring heels on our France trip. Loafers will be so much better for navigating over cobblestones. I learned my lesson in Edinburgh years ago, but that’s another story.
Black Helmut Lang jacket, black Rag and Bone tank, white NYDJ jeans, black Stuart Weitzman loafers
And see. My new jacket also looks great with a striped tee shirt and sneakers.
Black Helmut Lang jacket, white NYDJ jeans, striped A&G tee shirt and Addidas Stan Smith sneakers
And with sunglasses…well… I’m just so darned Parisian I can’t stand myself.
Black Helmut Lang jacket, white NYDJ jeans, striped A&G tee shirt and Addidas Stan Smith sneakers
So, yeah, I know that this spring it’s white with white, or black with black…. all over. But I’m partial to mixing them up.

And as far as being a very black or white person….well… I know I can be a bit of a drama queen. But, I do strive to be a bit more balanced these days; I try to curb my mercurial nature, by attempting to inject a little white into a black mood. Or in this case a little black into an all white season. Or vice versa.

So that’s me all fixed up for Paris. My shopping is finished. I’m not packed yet. I still have to try on outfits and decide what items make the final cut. I know I’ll be in raptures over how great my new jacket looks….with everything.

And it may not be a Kristin Scott Thomas white jacket… but it’s very Ines de la Fressange… don’t you think?

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61 thoughts on “Black and White … All Over Paris”

  1. I like all the examples you have shown but I'm far too messy to ever consider a white jacket . The black one is lovely & fits you perfectly. I'm a little concerned that you are planning to wear the black blouse top on it's own with only sandals , that's a step too far for me ! As you pack for France I am packing for three weeks in the wilds of Scotland , so no Helmut Lang jackets in my suitcase . Have a great holiday & give me a wave as you go by
    Wendy in York

    1. Uh oh… I meant I'd wear the tank on its own without a jacket. I'd better edit that sentence, huh? The wilds of Scotland sounds wonderful…don't forget your fleece and hiking boots. Some of the best places we ever stayed were in northern Scotland…once we got a bit used to the "single track road with passing places". I wave as we fly over, for sure.

  2. I am sitting here in white pants, black tank, and blue jacket today…B & W is my go to style this spring! I love both your looks but particularly the top with the sheer bottom..a great top! Enjoyed the post, Susan!

  3. Hi Susan – you look fabulous in everything! (And I say this with certainty, because I went to Aritzia and tried on those Harvey pants – looked nothing like they did on you! But I did like them … maybe if I go back wearing my black loafers?) Like Wendy in York, I just couldn't deal with a white jacket. Your friend Liz is a gem – if I ever need a special outfit, I should definitely go seek her out.

    1. Thanks Patricia. I know what you and Wendy mean about the white jacket…I'd be constantly worrying that I would spill something on it, brush up against a dirty car, whatever. Dry cleaning bills would be steep! If you're in the Rideau Centre, you should definitely drop in to see Liz Timlin. Even just to introduce yourself. She's fab. About my age, great eye for clothes, and doesn't try to "sell up"… I trust her judgement totally. She hangs out in the "Collectors" area on the second floor. Btw..the services of the personal shopper are free.

  4. Hi Susan! Good choice! You look so stylish in the black jacket and will definitely get more opportunities to wear it than the white one. I love the black top too … Great length! All together the outfit works well with flat shoes. When I was in Paris recently I m not sure I saw anyone in heels. Odd though it seems most woman I saw looked great in flats …. Whatever their outfit. No one looked frumpy or staid! Rosie.

    1. I hope the weather improves for you!! As I mentioned previously I expected cool rainy weather and it turned out to be hot and sunny. I so hope this happens for you too. Whatever the weather though I m sure you'll have a marvellous time 🙂 Rosie

  5. Susan,Just finding your blog through Jen and Heather's link up today. I love these looks! Perfect for Paris and isn't it wonderful sneakers are very chic right now? They make it all look young, but still comfortable! Have a wonderful time! Looking forward to reading more of your blog. Kim

    1. Thanks for clicking over, Kim. I am loving the sneakers too…although, as with most things, it took me quite a while to find the pair that suited me best.

  6. Two great purchases and I love the ways you have styled them especially the shades shot! Black jacket way more practical and versatile and ultimately a better buy in terms of CPW. Your innate sense of style and your friend's knowledge of stock in store are a winning combination. You're looking more french than the French themselves!! Iris

  7. Gorgeous! The chiffon layer of the black top is SO pretty and flattering. I too love black and white, and also Kristin and Ines! Found you over at Heather's Linkup… have a fantastique trip to Paris!

  8. Hi Susan,
    Just visiting from the #STYLEfocus linkup. That tank top is wonderful, I love that it has that transparency to it, I think that always adds a bit of twist to basic black. Btw, your writing is too funny, I laughed out loud at the anne of green gables comment. I'll be interested to read how your trip goes. Last time I was in Paris was in the summer, and I had a really difficult time trying to find footwear that wasn't hideous, but didn't cripple me. Love both the loafers and the sneakers. Looking forward to visiting your blog again soon. xx Nancy

  9. I love the black top, and have ordered it in two sized just to be sure. Did you have to have any alterations done on the length of the sheer part of the top? I am 5'5" and I am afraid it will be long. You look to be at least as tall as me…..are you taller? Many thanks for the easy outfit suggestions. The rest I had in my closet.

    1. I'm a little bit over 5'7"…and no didn't have any alterations done to the top. Mine is a "Medium." Good luck with the sizes…hope it's not too long for you. Don't think it will be. Let me know how you make out.

  10. Fabulous!!! I adore Helmut Lang jackets. And that will be a PERFECT look for Paris. Love Kristen Scott-Thomas. She has fabulous style. (And we get to see KST as QE in the play "The Audience" when we're in London in June!!)

  11. Love love love this look!!! My style for sure. Ok, heading over to Nordstrom this week. You look great in each outfit, and yes, the white thing is certainly all over Paris this year! nice……

    1. Thanks Libby. Good luck at Nordstrom. They have just opened in Ottawa and so far I have nothing but good to say about the store. Well…they could maybe stock more jeans of the high rise variety. I'm so over low-rise and so is almost everyone I know.

  12. What fun examples you put together. I'm kind of with you, I enjoy a little mix of black with white and white with black. Both your looks are wonderful for this spring time weather.

  13. Susan, I received my black tops today and one is a perfect fit! I love it….so flattering , yet so comfortable. Our Nordstrom, in the States, only had the white ( maybe sold out or they never had it in black). I found it at Saks and most sized are sold out! I'm so glad I ordered both. The length is perfect, just as you said. I usually don't wear sleeveless but this one is so great I'm making an exception. I almost hate to cover it with a jacket. Thanks again to you and your LIZ! Now, I ordered the Gap shirt, too. You are a great role model!

    1. So glad that you liked your top…and weren't disappointed. Phew…what relief. I passed your message on to Liz. Thanks for the follow-up and the kind words.

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