This ensemble is based on one of my own outfits that inspired some clients to put together a similar look. I combined a silky and flouncy black embroidered dress with dressy black cropped flares, and finished off the look with white loafers, white bag, pearls and denim jacket.

It’s unusual for me to wear this much black in an outfit, but the bright embroidery, shiny fabric, green specs and white accents temper the flatness of the black and make the outfit less dark. Here are the exact items of the outfit from my wardrobe. 

A few things upfront:

  • The combination is an acquired taste. Fab to some, and odd to others. Horses for courses, as always. 
  • If you sport the cropped pants at two or three inches above the ankle bone, you can absolutely wear flats. 
  • Think of the dress as a tunic
  • Personally, I’m a long-time fan of the dress-over-trouser vibe, and feel elegant and arty when I wear the combination. It has a ‘70s integrity that appeals to my love for Modern Retro.

Clients were eager to create the outfit formula at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which we did with these exact dresses and cropped pants. Super cute. 

Here are the components of the ensemble. Feel free to choose any colour palette: 

Flouncy Frock or Tunic: Think sensual ROMANCE. Choose a soft dress or tunic with flounces, frills or ruffles in a solid or pattern. Just above the knee is a good length. High-low hemlines work well. 

Cropped Pants: Choose a pair of cropped straight or flared trousers in a colour that works with the frock. Cropped straights flare less dramatically at the hem and are easier to style so that you feel longer in the leg. 

Optional Topper: I’ve found that keeping the topper low contrast to the dress creates a lovely vertical line. So I chose a dark denim jacket with waxed black sleeves to wear over the black dress.  

Footwear: There is no need to wear high heels if the lengths of the dress and pants are right. In fact, to my eye the outfit looks more on trend with flats or low heels. I wore low heels once, but preferred flat white loafers when I repeated the outfit. 

Accessories: Choose a bag that pulls together the outfit, and finish off the look with a scarf, jewellery, eyewear, and watch as desired.

Ensemble: Flouncy Frocks over Crops