Look through most women’s closets and you will find two common staples: a pair of black trousers and a white shirt. Whilst this may be a nod to a typical work week uniform, a white shirt, black pants combo does not need to be confined to the 9-5. On the contrary, this monochrome mix can be made unexpected and fashion forward by playing up the accessories, trying structured designs and adding a little bit of colour.
If you are looking to make your black pants outfits pop, we have some great tips on working your black and white essentials together.
Wardrobe Staples: Black Pants & White Shirts
First let’s take a look at some of our absolute favourite white blouse and black pants picks. With all types of budgets in mind, we go from classic and casual to our favourite trending white shirt redux styles.
Black Pants to Suit Your Body Shape
Dealing with body shape is something we do on a regular basis. Trying to find the most flattering cuts and fits to complement rather than accentuate the parts we like to avoid can be tasking. Here, we break it down by body type to help guide you through all the pants that are out there – and which ones work best for you.
- Athletic Body Shape
- You want to bring attention to your waist. Going for high-waisted trousers and jeans will help create an hourglass curve. Paper bag trousers with a wide leg will do wonders for you. Volume on top and bottom while cinching the waist creates a pretty curve.
- Apple Body Shape
- Wider and flared leg cuts actually help elongate your body, and won’t make you look top-heavy.
- Pear Body Shape
- You want to avoid skinny jeans as they draw attention to the hip area. As with apple shapes, look for wider, flared cuts to flatter your silhouette.
- Petite Body Shape
- You want skinnier or straight styles. Wider fits will actually make you appear shorter. We don’t suggest going ultra-slim, because the idea is to create a streamlined appearance for height.
- Hour Glass Body Shape
- With this curve, straight legs or boot cut trousers look lovely. You don’t want too much volume below, but just a little to keep those legs looking long without taking away from your waist. Another great option to look at is a straighter leg that tapers down at the ankle.
Our Edit Of The Top 10 White Shirts & Blouses On The High Street
Revamp your usual button-downs and t-shirts for these fabulous finds. Unique designs, pleats and luxurious fabrics help dress up your black pants. Let’s start with five affordable options that are irresistible.
On the other end of the spectrum, here are some white shirts from our favourite high-end designers. Amazing silks and crepes that will fall beautifully over any black pants outfit.
How To Style Black Pants As…
Work wear attire is generally more conservative. You have to keep your lengths and neck lines appropriate to office protocol – which is why a white shirt and trousers make a perfect 9-5 pair – but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Create flattering lines and interesting layers that add notes of style expertise. You’ll likely be one of the best dressed in your office and have everyone asking where you shop.
When winter comes, you can also work in a gorgeous, white wool coat or wear a fine knit cashmere instead of a white button down.
A white shirt and black trousers don’t always have to be on the formal side of your wardrobe. You can create casual styles by using looser blouses with different prints and designs. Casual white sweaters and sweatshirts are also popular as we ride the athleisure wave.
Black denim or jogger pants help you pull off that urban, street style look. The sweat pant has transitioned from leisurewear to ultra-trendy among celebrities and influencers. With skinnier styles and tapered ankles, you can find options that mimic a slim pant. Don’t forget your black denim, either; there’s nothing like some good distressed jeans to relax your white shirts.
Make sure to break out your favourite plimsolls, too. Shoes are the easiest way to make an outfit go the direction you want.
Alternative To Black Pants: Skirts and Shorts
Not everyone is a fan of pants, especially when there’s a heat wave. Going for black skirts or shorts are a great alternative if you hate dealing with longer lengths. Shorts made of jacquard and satin fabrics are office appropriate and dressy enough for a night out. Flowing chiffon pieces create lovely movement as you walk.
Skirts can be more versatile than black trousers, and you’ll find asymmetric and layered designs provoke interest. Little details such as ruffles or a higher slit are a step away from the standard pencil skirt.
Another great option would be to look at longer shorts like a Bermuda length so you can still wear it to the office and not feel like your legs are showing too much.
Ways To Make Your Black And White Combo Pop
A vivid pump or heeled sandal will work wonders with your monochrome outfit. Even your favourite sneaker brands create coloured designs from royal blue to every neon out there. You’ll be able to express a bit of your personality in your shoes, especially if you have to wear white and black consistently. A little expression can feel like style freedom for all those on a daily 9-to-5.
Layering on bangles of silver or gold, finding the perfect statement bib, or jumping on the current ring trends are a great way to take your white shirt and black trousers to the next level. You can go for a bright colourful statement necklace because your white shirt will work like a blank canvas. Consider taking some inspiration from your favourite influencers and work those multiple bracelets and rings.
Bags And Purses
Your handbag doesn’t have to be neutral black. You can find colourful bags with cool metal details, interesting shapes, and 70s-inspired fringe throwbacks. Another option is to look into purse decorations such as chains and tassels. Also, chain straps on your favourite cross body designs are a lovely detail against white shirts.
How The Celebs Rock This Wardrobe Staple Look
If you are still wondering what to wear with black trousers and white shirts, check out these images from some of our favourite celebrity influencers.
With a giant fan base, Chiara Ferragni knows how to pull off the coolest white shirt and black trousers looks. We love how her black pants have a hint of blue. If there’s anyone that understands how to make a simple outfit pop it is Ferragni.
Actress Jamie Chung always looks sleek no matter what she wears. We couldn’t help but fall in love with her black shorts paired with a lovely jacket of the same classic colours. She keeps it very timeless with simple accessories.
Influencer Aimee Song knows how to make black pants pop with bright red accessories and sandals. She also loves to layer on the jewellery to help pull her outfit together. Song is known for adding a hint of colour to her neutral outfits, so she’s the perfect inspiration.
Olivia Palermo’s highly coveted style gets chicer by the minute. Her black slacks, white shirt combo sings with the addition of some statement jewellery and a pair of vivid yellow flats. Take a cue from Palermo and break out those black capes, too.
Singer/songwriter Mollie King shows us how to handle airport style with ease. A classy button down shirt with checked black and white pants make her one of our favourite jet-setters. A great way to add a twist to the classic white blouse and black pants outfit.
What to Wear With Black Pants And White Shirts: Quick Guide
- Shop for black pants by your body shape and ensure they are tailored for the best fit.
- A white shirt made of the best silk and cotton can work wonders into your daily wardrobe – and is not boring! Look for structured blouses with architectural inspiration to keep your workwear conversation-worthy.
- Try black jogger pants or black skinny sweats with a white knit and plimsolls for casual styling.
- Black skirts with asymmetry or silky shorts are great alternatives to trousers if you don’t like longer lengths.
- Bright pumps, sandals or trainers are a great way to inject a bit of personal flair to your black and white outfits.
- Going for a vivid statement necklace or layering on rings and bangles help take your white shirt and black trousers up a notch.
- Avoid neutral coloured purses and go for something more punchy. You can also try purse accessories to help dress up your favourite bag.
- Mix up your monochrome with a white pants, black shirt mix – you will look classic and contemporary all in one.
On That Note
Black pants and white shirts are a closet classic: there’s not a seasonal collection that doesn’t contain both, and sometimes designers stick to those two colours exclusively.
Whether you stick to the classic fits and shapes, or go for something a little more contemporary, you can guarantee that this is one sartorial statement that will never go out of style.
Enjoy more great fashion and styling advice here at alexie.co.