Another new direction: light lilac complement

I've been wearing white shirts and tees fairly often, maybe once every two weeks, to break up the all-black wardrobe. I'm still very committed to black, but I started thinking it would also be interesting to add in a bit more color. I settled on icy pink and pale lilac as colors that work as an alternative to white. The paler, the better: my goal is really to give the black + white look but a bit softer.

So I'm starting to put together a small lilac complement. I decided tees and shirts were the easiest place to start, but I might also add a cotton pullover if I find the perfect one. The main problem is finding the right shades of pink and purple. Blush pinks look too much like my skin, and I prefer cool shades. Luckily, lilac seems to be the new millennial pink (a color that was too warm on me). As usual I'm several months behind the trend but some of the summer clothes are still in stores.

I have two items so far: this new oversized pale lavender tee (photo 1+2) and the pink oxford shirt (photo 3+4, reposted) I bought a few months ago, both from Everlane. I'd like the shirt even more if it were a few shades paler. I also found a great lilac tee (photo 5) at Banana Republic (photo 5), but the fit is off (ok when it's tucked, though) so I will probably return it. And this Vince silk shirt (photo 6) is a lovely color, just barely tinted, that doesn't come through in the photo - unfortunately it was too big so I left it at the store.

All of these will be worn either with faded black denim or solid black, as shown in the photos. It's important to me to keep a sort of punk edge to the look.

Speaking of light colors - I have also been thinking about bookending, jeans length, and ankle / foot skin. As Angie could have told me years ago, my summertime all-black outfits work best if some skin is showing around my feet, and I always forget this. Eg, flats with an open top rather than boots/sneakers, or jeans that are cropped at the ankle bone. In the same vein, I've been contemplating the effect of a lighter shoe with an all-black outfit.

I'm less interested in bookending to match my hair for my current look. Cognac shoes with black jeans are a great combo, but it's more fall-tone than what I'm aiming for right now. But I am considering a very light pair of shoes, to match my face rather than my hair I suppose. I don't know if I'd prefer lilac, or white, or silver. There are a few shades of Converse low-tops I have my eye on but those summer colors are mostly sold out. Or the Madewell shoes in Finds, also sold out but easily found on Poshmark. Again, I'm going for cooler colors that don't quite match my skin, not pinks / blushes. Or I could duplicate my new favorite Free People flats in silver or a very pale color they call 'dove grey'. Pure white is too stark, but a weathered white like these cowboy books could be nice.

If I were to buy one pair of light-colored shoes, what type of shoe should it be? Flats? Boots? And what color? Simple flats seem the most versatile -- is the slingback trend going to keep going?

By the way, I miss real lilacs! They don't grow in California; I guess they require a real cold snap to bloom. There was a giant lilac in my yard growing up with a sort of cavity in the middle of the bush and we turned it into a playhouse (all furnishings were imaginary, but in my head it was a mansion)

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  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    Nice idea Greyscale - I do like a flash of lightness at the ankle with dark looks - it does look great.  And getting the tone with blushes and lilacs is critical - luckily I can pick it when I see it on me.

    I have had a pair of silver loafers (with a white lug sole) that have been a great all year shoe - or should I say most of the year shoe.  I usually wear them without socks so on the coldest winter days that don't work - nor on the hottest summer days.  But from August to November and again from March to May they are useful.  If you wear ankle boots in warm weather that could also work.  

    I like the slingbacks shown but think their season is a bit shorter - that may or may not be an issue.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    I encourage you to add Icy blue and silver footwear. If you want a lower contrast with your blak, try pewter. a dark rose gold would be the ideal to bookend your hair

  • JAileen replied 5 years ago

    Silver shoes go with everything. I like them because my hair is silvery. Of the pictured shoes, I like the Free People best. I dislike slingbacks because they always come off my feet. But maybe they work for you.

    We had a lilac in our backyard in the bay area. There are some varieties that grow there.

  • jussie replied 5 years ago

    I vote dove grey or silver for the shoes :). Actually I wonder whether some silver metallic tees or tops might be a nice addition to your wardrobe? Sorry I’m a terrible shopping enabler.
    Some nice looks/style here. I especially like the lilac tee on you.

  • Runcarla replied 5 years ago

    Pale grey and silver has always worked for me, even before I started getting white in my hair. It really is a non-colour if YNWIM. There is also a colour between lilac and pink - a mauve or dusty lilac that is magical for red heads - however hard to find. I lump it with millineal pink and when I find it I buy it. Not as obvious as eggplant or plum, it is really very flattering.

    I know you are committed to black, but I would suggest that expanding your wardrobe colours to include grey/silver and items in the pink/mauve family would not be a hard stretch and would give you options to soften your look when you feel the need without being unfaithful to your edgy style. (Think historical period mourning or half mourning colours as your palette -LOL!)

    FWIW, low top Converse in classic white or silver would be a simple addition that would work with your style ethic and wouldn't break the bank. (i love my silver Cons! Some of the silver has worn off to reveal dark grey canvas under and now they look like tarnished silver - even better!)

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 5 years ago

    My grandma loved lilac. I treasure a picture of myself with her in front of the bush in her yard.

    The lilac looks great on you. I like the palest colors best of those here. Too bad about the Vince blouse. OTOH, have you thought about deep purple that’s almost black or this kind of grey purple, like these colors? (I doubt they’re the shirts you want)

    For such fine color gradations, I think shopping in stores (or ordering EVERYTHING and planning to return most) is best. In the right color, this top could have an edge to it. The description says “studded” and this color is called “lilac”—but the picture looks way too soft & sweet. Who knows what it actually looks like in person.

    Have you looked at discount /close out places for the Chucks? I hope slingbacks, not mules, wind up the endurance winner. They are basically the same thing, except one has a strap and therefore a slightly better chance of staying on your foot.

    Lengthening the leg line is usually a big deal around here. I’m curious as to why you’d want to break up the black with a flash of skin. (From a “want to understand” perspective, not challenging.)

  • replied 5 years ago

    I like the new direction, reminds me of so of the Ted Baker florals! Store lighting really plays havoc with color in my experience. Im looking for the opposite, warm and saturated color, but found out once i got the item outside the color was cooler and lighter in the daylight. What works against me may work for you!
    For shoes i think silver is the most versatile, duplicating your black ones if they're comfy, but those pink slingbacks are nice for skirts as a nude to you. Can't hurt to get both :)
    Also, congratulations on the new job!

  • Style Fan replied 5 years ago

    I like the first two tops that you have shown.  I notice both are from Everlane.  Great idea to add lilac/lavender to your wardrobe.  A bit of the unexpected is always exciting.
    I like the Madewell and Freepeople shoes.  Have you thought of the Day Glove by Everlane in Pink or one of the other lighter colours?  It seems to be a very versatile shoe.

  • cindysmith replied 5 years ago

    Like, I love this idea! I've been drawn to some dippin dots type colors lately, so you are totally giving me inspiration on how to wear it without completely changing my style (since I still love the idea of dystopia). You've got a nice hard&soft thing going on, and I love it on you.

    As for the shoes, I love the idea of a lilac shoe, but I do wonder if you'd get more mileage out of a silver or grey? Like, maybe the silver or grey would work even if your style shifts again in the future and lilac isn't your thing anymore?

  • LaPed replied 5 years ago

    I love this capsule! I bought almost exclusively pale/pastel items this spring/summer, and I love the dimension they add to my mostly dark-neutral outfits. They are also very easy to pair with white and light neutrals. I like that these combos are less stark than black/white -- which I still like, especially in winter, but something about summer light and changes in my summer complexion seem to call for slightly lower contrast.

    PS -- if you ever need a lilac fix, let me know! We've got a couple young bushes, plus some pretty epic azaleas... The smell of the lilac bloom is one of the things I missed most about New England summer -- that and wild berry picking (and, you know, rain...).

  • kerry replied 5 years ago

    Great capsule. Nice to lighten up but still very modern.

    I think we’re glasses twins! Are those Anne & Valentin? The light pink accents look great with these new capsules.

  • Joyce B replied 5 years ago

    Lilac is a very nice color on you. Nice complement.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    SO FUN TO SEE YOU IN PINK AND LiLAC, Greyscale. #4 is my favourite outfit you have ever worn. KILLER. 

    As for bookending shoes with your skin - how about rose gold or pale pink? My loafers are the perfect shade. I like the idea of silver - works with the hardware of your black wardrobe. 

  • replied 5 years ago

    Hmm.  You're putting out ideas here that I should be copying .  Nodding all the way along with your thoughts ...

    First off - the pale, pale lilac is a great colour on you, and I love the Everlane t and the blouse in pic2.  In terms of shoes, the slingbacks seem a little girly for you - at least to my eye - but I do like both pair of Fryes.  The lilac Converse are great too.  

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    Kerry, yup, Anne et Valentin! They’re actually what kicked off this pink/lilac quest. I love them and when I got them last year it was sort of a revolution in how I thought about pink. I hadn’t realized before then that it’s a good color on me.

  • AviaMariah replied 5 years ago

    I love the lilac addition to your wardrobe!  I grew up in the "lilac city" and still live in an area that is heavy with the smell of lilacs in the spring.  I would miss them too!

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Lilac is a brilliant addition to your closet. It looks great on you. The search will be ongoing for the correct shades, but that's part of the thrill. :) 

    I'd buy the silver or white Free People and also the lilac chucks! :) Something casual, something dressy. 

    Lilacs grow like weeds where I live. We have to whack them down all the time. I love the fragrance in the springtime. 

  • Greyscale replied 5 years ago

    The 'dove grey' FP flats sold out while I was waffling about the cost (they had one left, and it was my size, but now it's gone). $200 feels like a lot for flats but they're the first flats I've ever worn as daily wear, comfortably. I've bought and immediately passed on multiple pairs of $100 losers so $200 for sure winners sounds like a good choice... Maybe they'll pop back into stock.

  • Chris987 replied 5 years ago

    Lilac is really a great color for you, it contrasts nicely with your hair and compliments your natural lip color. I would miss lilacs too if I lived where they did not, they are so lovely! I'm in a climate like Suz's where they grow like crazy. We have a ginormous very old stand of white ones and a couple of normal sized ones in the more traditional light purple. I adore the natural scent but for some reason don't like it when it's used in perfumes and soaps. Do check out Jaileen's suggestion for lilac plants, these days you can find a lot of plants that have been adapted for alternate climates. I have a ground-cover style prickly pear cactus that thrives and blooms every year in New England, no one can ever believe it when they see it.

    For footwear colors, silver or grey seem more versatile than lilac. In terms of functionality think about your seasons. All the current trendy open sided, perforated, straps all across and down the instep styles might work really well in your climate although they may be too maximal for you. Also think about how large your shoe collection is. Those Free People booties are gorgeous, if they fit you go with them!

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Lovely. Suits you and your style very well.

  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    I love your new style direction. Pale pink and lilac are an interesting contrast with black.  I think silver or grey would be a good footwear choice since you could pair them with both pink or lilac shades.  

    Interesting that lilacs don't grow in CA.  They grow in Albuquerque but it freezes here so maybe that's the difference.  I have a couple in my backyard and they smell so good in the spring.

  • Stagiaire Fash replied 5 years ago

    Did you try looking for the shoes on Free People's own website, or at other stores that sell them? Lyst might help you track some down.

  • Jessikams replied 5 years ago

    I find a crackle-finish white shoe or black and white snakeskin print to be really useful for summer. Sandal or cutaway flat of some kind.

  • replied 5 years ago has the grey FP in almost every size $198. And a 20% off code until 10pm CST. So even with their high shipping knocks the price to $182.39.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Btw, the pastel icy colors do look pretty on you.

  • Evie replied 5 years ago

    I did a quick search online and found the Free People flats in silver at They are on sale for $99.99. They are final sale, however. Not sure what size you wear, but they have several sizes left. I think they would suit your style so well and be so versatile. I adore icy pastels on you!!!

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