When women wear long black trousers, be it fashion forward tapered pant styles, leans, jeans, or classic bootcut slacks, I prefer to see the colour black repeated above the waist. In this way the outfits look more balanced.  This is by no means a rule, just my subjective preference for outfits with black trousers.

You can bookend black trousers in many ways. It will happen naturally if you have black or very dark brown hair. You can also achieve the same effect by repeating black in the top half of your ensemble. You have many different options:

  • Black tops, jackets, camisoles, cardigans and waistcoats
  • Black in the pattern of a patterned top or scarf
  • Black belts, necklaces or eyewear
  • Black buttons or black piped trim

You can substitute black above with another very dark, low contrasting colour like charcoal grey or ink blue. Sometimes it takes only one of these ways to successfully bookend an outfit, but you might also use several at the same time.

Looking at the examples above from left to right:

  1. The black pants are bookended with a low contrasting, dark grey top.
  2. The black pants are bookended by the model’s jet black hair.
  3. The black pants are bookended both by the black camisole and stripe of the model’s top.
  4. The black pants are not bookended, since the model has light hair and is wearing a light coloured top. It’s not a bad look, but I would have preferred the outfit with a black camisole, jacket or belt.

Short black skirts, shorts or cropped trousers don’t need to be bookended in the same way as black trousers because they are broken up by another texture, like skin or hosiery, which automatically balances things out.