Black top and ladylike trousers in white

Cartoon-bright hues may remind us of our childhood, but for sophisticated elegance nothing can beat black and white. In our complicated world, there is something reassuring about that simple and eternal combination.

When we think about color psychology it’s not hard to see why, as black and white are the literal yin and yang of the color spectrum. Black is associated with prestige, seriousness, elegance, and magic, while white is the color of wedding dresses, the symbol of purity, perfection, and innocence. Black is the old and the secret, and white is the new and the good. If black is the darkness of deep space, white is the light of the stars. The soil that brings plants to life is black, but the minerals of the earth and the snow and ice that fall on it are always white.

It’s almost impossible to mess up when you pair black with white, and the high-contrast effect will give you a look that is as timeless as it is modern. Future posts will explore ways to add flourish to this look by bringing in graphics, layering, and playful accessories, but for now we’re going to keep it simple with a roundup of basic outfits. Take a look at the black and white pieces in your closet and prepare to get inspired.

Cropped black top and white pants

Black deep-v top with white pants

Black top and white culotte pants with white flats to make a casual elegant look

Turtleneck black sweater and white tutu skirt

White tunic shirt and black leather pants with black bag and shoes for a simple street style

Off-shoulder white top and fishtail black leather skirt and in perfect proportions

Black tights with floaty white top

White flowing shirtdress and black jeans

Streamlined look with a minimal white top and sleek black jeans

White cape jacket and black leather pants

Funnelneck white tank and black wide leg pants

White top and pleated skirt in black

White tank and black satin and slouchy pants

White tank and black satin and slouchy pants

Black trousers and white jumper with black patent loafers

Black and white in boxy proportions

Young look with white top and black shorts

Black lace cropped top and white maxi skirt

White tank top and black jeans with black pointed toe booties and black bag

White ruffled blouse with black pencil skirt

Masculine black-and-white look