Black and White Reboot: Classic or Boring?

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I admit, when in doubt about what to wear, I fall back on my old favourites. Combinations which I know look good on me and… well… just look good. And one of those combinations, especially for summer, is white jeans and a black top. The reverse restaurant waiter look, I guess you could say.

I’ve had a pair (or three) of white jeans hanging in my closet since the seventies. From my first pair of Levi’s five pocket white jeans in university, to Howick high-waisted, wide flares in the late seventies. Anyone remember Howick jeans? And more recently skinnies, and cropped skinnies, boot cut, and now my newly refurbished, DIY cropped flares.
This is only the second outing my white DIY unfinished-hem jeans have had since I “created” them with my trusty scissors. You can read about that here  if you haven’t already. I’m liking them with my new Paul Green black suede flats. And my summer workhorse black Helmut Lang jacket and Rag and Bone tank, staples in my closet since 2015. And my black Mackage cross-body bag. The small cross-body bag is a necessity since I’m going to a party where I will need to be hands-free: one hand being required to hold my drink, the other to provide one-armed hugs, and for waving around and gesticulating as I am wont to do when I get into animated discussion.
Black Helmut Lang jacket, black Rag and Bone tank, white Hudson jeans, black Paul Green flats, earrings from Magpie Jewellry, necklace by Anne-Marie Chagnon, bracelet vintage
Here I am, below, trying to get some out of doors shots, showing off my Anne-Marie Chagnon necklace. I really like the combination of black, gold and silver/pewter in this necklace. It goes with everything. The small black and gold watch I bought for ten bucks in the Vancouver airport a decade ago. Funnily enough I hadn’t worn it in years, and not too long ago, when I decided to see if it needed a new battery, I was amazed that it was still keeping perfect time. Wow. Pretty awesome for a ten dollar watch. I popped it on my wrist and hustled out the door. Ironically I had checked it at 8:30 that morning and was a bit chagrined to see it was still 8:30 at noon. Ha. Maybe not so amazing after all. Still I like the look of the watch, and now that I’m retired, who needs to know the exact time, eh?
Black Helmut Lang jacket, black Rag and Bone tank, earrings from Magpie Jewellry, necklace by Anne Marie Chagnon.
Black Helmut Lang jacket, black Rag and Bone tank, white Hudson jeans, black Paul Green flats, earrings from Magpie Jewellry, necklace by Anne-Marie Chagnon, bracelet vintage
White Hudson jeans, black Helmut Lang jacket, black Rag and Bone tank, black suede Paul Green flats
I feel great today. It’s summer, almost. The weather is beautiful; the rain has finally stopped. And I’m wearing an outfit combination that has always worked for me. In one form or another. White jeans and a black top: sweater, or tee shirt, tank, or tank and a jacket. Classic… yep. Maybe a little boring, somewhat predictable, I’ll give you that. But with a bit of a reboot, updated jeans and a new pair of shoes… it’s not entirely beyond the fashion pale. I know I’d committed to being more adventurous this season. But jeans and a structured jacket, especially white jeans and a black jacket, is too deeply engrained in my fashion DNA to entirely jettison it from my wardrobe. Like an old friend… who knows me so well that I can let down my hair, and say whatever I want… this outfit always makes me feel good. Like myself.
So off I go to my party feeling good. But not before I stop off to visit Carmen for a hair cut and colour. I can tell you folks… my hair will look a heck of a lot better than this by the time I get to the party. What would I do without my old friend Carmen? She tells it to me straight. And gently nudges me away from pictures of cuts which will not work for my hair. Will I ever learn? Maybe. Someday. Perhaps.
And then… with newly coiffed hair and my classic/boring/been wearing it all my life outfit… I’ll be yakking up a storm with my old buddies from school. The party is in honour of the retirement of two wonderful ladies who have run the office at John McCrae Secondary School for years. What will they do without them? Gad. I hope they don’t have to close the school down.
So you see, it’s an old friends day all round. And old friends… my lovely readers… are never boring. Right?

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38 thoughts on “Black and White Reboot: Classic or Boring?”

  1. Classic and beautiful! Plus, gold,silver or pearls around the neck,always in my case. And you look amazing and happy,beautiful photos.I like the hair,too.
    Hope that you'll have a lot of fun
    I don't know how would I survive summers without white jeans :-),sometimes I opt for all white,silk tee, and black jacket. Cross body bag is a necessity for a party-clutch could be good for diets,no food or drink,one-hand hugs only! I never get bored by black and white
    And than, the day could come,when I feel the need for a lot of colours. But, I'll be always "back to black " and the classic

    1. Thanks, Dottoressa. It was nice to put a face to the name on Frances' blog. Glad you two had a lovely visit. I'm going to remember that line about a clutch bag being good for those on a diet. Same goes with talking too much, actually. I don't think I ate a bite at the party. Too busy talking:)

    2. Let me just say that Dottoressa was wearing white jeans the day she met us at the train station, and she looked great in them, although she was "feeling the need" for colour that day and her top was turquoise. . . Your white jeans with the black top look very good on you too, and they're not boring at all, especially given the updated (un)hem and new shoes.
      And of course, even a broken watch tells the time correctly twice a day 😉

    3. Thanks, Frances. I still laugh about checking that watch at 8:30 in the morning when for one whole minute it kept perfect time. Ha. But as you say it will do so that again at least one more time in the day.
      It was fun to see Dottoressa in your shots. Loved her chic dress which matched your chic dress. Such intuitive coordination.

  2. You look lovely, Sue, you have such beautiful long legs to showcase white jeans. And as your say, the classic look requires little tweaking to bring the look into the teensies. Longing to see your post-hairdresser look.

    Weirdly, I went from the 60s onwards without this classic combo. In fact, I only got into white jeans about 6-7 years ago. Now I have many pairs! I discovered the black top combo even more recently, saving a pic of a Scandinavian lady wearing it and noting how lovely their typical look is … with the ubiquitous scandi tan, of course! Now I'm a big fan of the b+w summer outfit and also like it with a white skirt as the bottom element. I think the combo sends out a message, don't quite know what it is but it makes me feel good.
    So I'm unfashionably late arriving at this party; I hope you had a fab time at yours!

  3. Definitely not boring , you look great & I love the necklace – so unusual . ' Not too dainty – not too clunky ' as we say 🙂 Hope you had a good time .
    Wendy in York

  4. Oh, I remember Howick jeans! In the early 70s they were the cool jean of choice at my high school and only available from one store in Ottawa, on Rideau Street. Loved those jeans. You look fabulous Sue – enjoy your party!

    1. Thanks, Kim. We bought our Howick jeans at a small boutique on the university campus in Fredericton. That is until Orientique came to town. Do you remember the Orientique store on Sparkes St. in the seventies? We thought it was the epitome of cool.

  5. For most of my life black and white made me look like a corpse, but now that my hair is greying, I find that I can finally wear them! I love your look today… your shoes, accessories and cut off hem take it from classic to chic while looking entirely comfortable. Enjoy your day!

  6. Wasn't that Helmut Lang jacket a fantastic investment? Black and white combination is great and of course it's the shape and style of trousers etc that make the outfit stylish and modern. Love that necklace and your watch anecdote. Hope you had a lovely time and no doubt the sight of you rocking up looking fabulous would be an inspiration to anyone embarking on retirement! Iris

    1. You are right, Iris. That jacket was a great investment. I had a great time at the party. And us retired folks all looked so much more rested than those still teaching!

  7. Black and white is always what I reach for when I'm either feeling a bit stuck in a style rut, or just need something that feels crisp and pulled-together. I love this look on you, and the Paul Green shoes. Will have to hunt those down and give them a try!

    1. I think it's the crispness that attracts me. Like wearing fresh white with navy. I saw your post with the shot of you in lovely black and white in Paris. You always look pulled together, Sue. And Paris makes for a much more romantic backdrop than my deck!

  8. Was just going to mention the white with navy too! I love white jeans, but also white linen crops and even white cotton casual crops. Hmmm: guess I'm into white since we live in a warmer climate. And yes, any top that is black or navy. And of course, statement necklaces look great with all this.

  9. I was just going to say how great your hair looks a little bit longer. I'm embaressed to say I don't have a pair of white jeans. Must be remedied shortly. Always love black and white.

  10. You looked great at the party, and it was very fun! (Ha – I am a bit braggy I got to attend it with you!) We were all talking so LOUDLY! My husband said (paraphrasing) You teachers – you talk all day and you'd think you'd get tired of it! :-0
    I wish I had noticed your shoes though! I didn't spot them in the crowd, and I love them in the pictures. N

    1. Thanks, Nancy. Great to see you at Helen and Sue's party. It WAS fun, wasn't it? Since I don't talk all day anymore… I'm totally out of practice and was hoarse by the time I got home.

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