Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Simply Seasonless in the Capsule Wardrobe: Black Pants

Last week's episode of Simply Seasonless (the denim shirt) included quite a few essential capsule wardrobe items that are ALSO pretty versatile.  Today, I'm thinking of a pair of black "ankle pants", i.e. those pants that stop about 2 inches above the ankle bone. They're obvious with sandals or espadrilles, easy as pie with boots, but surprisingly fun with opaque tights and pumps or ballet flats...  The key to wearing these pants successfully?  Make sure they're narrow at the bottom, simply styled, and not TOO short.

And yes, you're seeing some of these garments again - this is key to an efficient capsule wardrobe!

2 cool-weather outfits using black pants - 1 with a denim shirt, 1 with a grey sweater
Black capri pants – Emilio Pucci, Denim shirt – Marc by Marc Jacobs, scarf – Hermès, 
blazer – Allsaints, black loafers – Brooks Brothers, zigzag scarf – Missoni,
 grey sweater – VPL, ankle boots – Opening Ceremony

two cool weather outfits including black pants - one including a print tee, one with red accents
Black capris – Emilio Pucci, black cardigan – L.L.Bean, tee shirt – Proenza Schouler,
 opaque tights – Armani Exchange, pumps – Stuart Weitzman, red stud earrings – Kate Spade, 
sweatshirt – L’Agence, loafers – Marc by Marc Jacobs

two warm weather outfits including black pants, one with white, and one with gold accents
Tee shirt – Reiss, Black capris – Emilio Pucci, moonstone earrings – Andrea Fohrman,
 white cardigan – Rag & Bone, ballet flats – See by Chloe, bracelets – Amrita Singh, 
tunic – M Missoni, sandals – Salvatore Ferragamo

two warm weather outfits including black pants, one with a tee shirt, one with a tunic
Black cropped pants – Emilio Pucci, earrings – Coach, sunglasses – Tom Ford,
 tee shirt – Dorothy Perkins, sandals – J.C. Penney, tee shirt – Acne, flower earrings – toosis,
 sunglasses – Ray Ban, sandals - Marais

2 cool weather outfits using a pair of black pants, 1 with a shirt and sweater vest, one with a flannel shirt and sweater
Silk blouse – Acne, black cropped pants – Emilio Pucci, watch – Bulova, vest – Mulberry, 
pumps – Stuart Weitzman, sweater – Levi’s Made & Crafted, plaid shirt – Madewell,
 opaque tights – Armani Exchange, black flats – Thierry Rabotin

2 cool weather outfits using a pair of black pants, one with a cozy cardigan, and a dressy outfit with a blouse and cardigan
Black cropped pants – Emilio Pucci, grey oversized tee – Organic by John Patrick, 
necklace – unearthen, cardigan – Zadig & Voltaire, grey boots – Camper, earrings – Dolce & Gabbana, 
black cashmere cardiganL.L.Bean, blouse – Alice & Olivia, boots - Givenchy


NORDSTROM - Choose 3 Free Samples with your Beauty Purchase


  1. Black pants are a central wardrobe staple to me... one of the most essential pieces I can own. I adore the Allsaints black loafers in the top photograph!

  2. Nice combinations, but for some reason I always think of ankle pants as warm weather clothing. However, paired like in April and October I could change my mind.

    1. I've found that they're GREAT with boots - sometimes they're just short enough that they don't get mucky/slushy in the wintery weather. And I saw a lot of women in Paris weather them with opaque tights and flats; I've done that since we got back, and found that it felt really youthful and sort of peppy. I was surprised...

    2. Your blog is a great education. I live in Arkansas and need all the help I can get. :)

  3. These pants are my uniform! February looks so cozy yet pulled together...

  4. I bought a pair of black ankle pants last summer and have been surprised by how flattering and versatile they are. As a boot-cut gal all the way I was way out of my comfort zone when I bought them, but since then I've worn them to business meetings, on date nights, to parties, and for errands and outings around town. They are truly a dress up/ dress down item and the abbreviated length opens up a lot of shoe possibilities. Love your combos!


  5. Thanks for the idea of wearing them with flats and tights. I wore mine the other day because the weather was mild and was about to put them away for the winter. Wearing them with tights will lengthen out the time I can use them. Great idea!

  6. I love black pants in this length! But I too have never thought of wearing them with opaque tights and flats... thank you for this tip, it sounds very interesting - and so french. :-)
    Related to this length, I'd like to mention that, in my opinion, 'uncovered' ankle bones and/or wrists or a bit of the lower arm is a very subtle way to show a little bit of skin. Do you agree?
    BTW, I just found the description 'bracelet sleeve' instead of 'three-quarter sleeve', it's so charming!
    Greetings from cold Germany,

  7. Love the tights/flats idea. What other little tricks did you see in Paris?

  8. Janice, what fabric should seasonless black pants be made of?
    is this length acceptable for petite?
    How should peite lady style slim pants in flattering leg line lenthening way?
    Thank you.

  9. Great look! I am petite and love a very fine wool.

    Art by Karena

  10. Vivienne, I would love to see you design a wardrobe or a "What to wear with a scarf" post aound Hermes Astrologie Nouvelle (AW 2012) in the turquoise/ cobalt/ocher cw. It's my first Hermes, and I adore it, but am finding it more difficult to wear than I expected. I should note that I wear and am flattered by cool "winter" colors; turquoise and cobalt are colors I wear, but I wouldn't wear ocher (at least near my face). Thanks for considering it. I love your blog, especially the "Common Wardrobe" series. Marian

  11. Love the look of cropped black trousers. Reminds me of Audrey Hepburn.
    Doesn't this chambray shirt/cropped trousers outfit look great?