Not-So-Basic Black: Think Leather + Fur for Holiday Party Looks

Last month Alicia wrote a great Stylebook piece discussing the most flattering ways to wear black, and I’ll admit it, I’m one of the women Alicia mentioned that has a closet full of this color. This is partially a result of black being an easy every-day uniform, but also because black is slimming, so versatile and — with the right styling — just about always appropriate. With the holiday season in full swing LBDs are typically a go-to piece for most of us, but what about changing your LBD this year? Incorporating luxe texture and detail, like that found in leather and fur, amps up basic black and elevates your look to holiday-party ready.

Historically, leather and fur have been reserved for the colder months in the form of outerwear pieces, but now are four-season appropriate. Fur, both real and faux, now adorns everything from handbags (fur purse pom-pom anyone?) to the seen-on-every-starlet designer mule. Leather, too, is now also worn year-round. In different colors and textures depending on the season, pieces like leather tanks and dresses are here to stay. Basic black pieces are much richer in a luxe texture like leather or fur, and when accented with neutral tones and a hint of metallic, a basic black look is instantly elevated.

In faux vegan leather, this BCBG dress is a definite statement piece, and really requires little else. The suede block-heeled booties keep the look from being overly dressy, but to dress it a simple gold, strappy high sandal will do the trick.  In a knit or silk, this fit-and-flare black silhouette would be pretty and versatile, but the vegan leather elevates the look to something more edgy and unexpected. 

Faux black vegan culottes are an updated alternative to a basic black trouser and pair so well with fur pieces and neutral accents. The different textures of each of these pieces work together to both elevate and soften basic black. The longer rabbit fur vest and culottes are accented with a simple cream silk blouse, while several layered gold chains add some dainty detail. The pleating on the black Nicole Miller blouse, combined with the full bell sleeve that is so on-trend, provide a perfect backdrop for a blush cashmere-blend wrap with faux fur details.  In each of these color-blocked looks the more substantial vegan leather is elevated with fur accents, but softened by the fluidity of the material and colors of the accent pieces and accessories.

Shoe choice with culottes is important, especially given their cut. A heel is usually best, and since kitten heels are back, they are perfect if higher heels aren’t for you. For a slightly dressier look consider an open- toe strappy suede sandal like this one from Schutz.

Whether you’re hosting a casual holiday luncheon or attending a holiday brunch, denim can be the perfect accent to dress down a too formal all-black look. This rabbit fur cape is a stunner, and is warm without being bulky. Paired with dark denim skinnies and a silk cream blouse, it’s casually elegant while also visually interesting given the toughness of the denim, luxe of the fur, and fluidity of the blouse. The metallic accents on the pointy-toe flats and necklace keep the look fun and add a pop of sparkle, which is always appropriate when spreading holiday cheer!

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