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Can you use a black handbag in summer?

Summer is the season for big straw hats, colorful clothing, white shoes and sunglasses. It’s a time for fun in the sun, for playing around by the pool, for enjoying the outdoors. It’s all about maxi dresses and wedge sandals and cool, funky pieces of bright jewelry. It’s a time to think about your summer tan, creating a perfect updo, finding just the right swimsuit cover-up. But is it a time for black accessories? Can you use a black handbag in summer or is this just going to make you look unfashionable and overdressed? Can black be a fun summer color or will you just look way unstylish in this shade instead?

Summer Fashion

There are some strange rules surrounding summer fashion. Ask someone who’s strict about following style rules and they’ll tell you that this is the only time of year that you can actually wear white shoes, for example. This is the only season in which you can get away with wearing a bikini top as a regular top and most of the time, summer is the only season where you can wear a straw hat and really pull it off. Airy button-down blouses, flip flops, sarongs…there are lots of items of clothing that you probably only wear in the summer.

Wearing a bright yellow dress carrying a black handbag

And the experts who follow the rules of style might warn against carrying a black handbag in the summer in very dire tones. One fashion website called this “plain tacky.” The thought here is that black clashes with the lighter, brighter, airier colors and fabrics of the summer season. The lightweight fabrics, the pastels, the bold colors, the lace…where does black fit into all this?

It’s true that you would play heck trying to really carry off a black purse while strolling the beach and it’s probably not going to be your go-to item if you’re going to a backyard BBQ in the early afternoon. But is it really totally a no-no to carry a black handbag in the summer? Is this just so against the rules of summer fashion that you should practically be struck down for trying it…or is there a world where even the combination of a black accessory and summer sun can be brought together beautifully in the same outfit?

Summer Trends

The thing about summer is, it’s just like every other fashion season. Every year, new colors, new trends, new items and new designs are the trends to have while others are totally out of style. Some years, avocado green might suddenly be everywhere. Another year, maybe it’s lilac purple. There are always different color trends and different hot colors with every summer season. Summer yellow, summer white, summer pink, these colors often appear. But summer black? No. That’s not one you’re likely to see any time soon.

Wearing a ruby red dress carrying a black handbag

However, black may be a perfect companion for the hot color of any particular summer. Richer summer colors, such as burnt orange or emerald green, naturally pair beautifully with basic black. This means you could be strutting your stuff in a lovely summer dress in bold red and match it with a black handbag that looks just stunning. Black can also contrast beautifully against soft summer pastels, such as powder blue and pale pink.

Black accessories on the bed

Black may not be a summer trend that you see as often as bright green or yellow, but it can create a gorgeous contrast with these brighter, lighter colors that often get so trendy in the summer months. Black is a nice way to anchor an outfit and it can be a handy go-to when you’re trying to keep up with style. After all, you might not have an avocado green or lilac purse handy but you definitely have some great black handbags to reach for when you’re styling a trendy summer outfit.

What’s Supposed to Match and When?

But what about all those other fashion rules? Some can be broken but aren’t others practically carved in stone? After all, the experts say that your handbag has to match your shoes. So does that mean you have to wear black shoes in summer every time you carry a black purse?

Black handbag on a white background

Absolutely not! While it is true that matching your purse to your shoes can create a nice matched look for your outfit and this is an easy style hack that anyone can do, you absolutely don’t have to follow this. Actually, this isn’t some kind of a fashion rule. The only rule is that your handbag has to match something else you have on. That could be your belt, your earrings, your sunglasses, even your hair jewelry. As long as one other item is black, your black handbag will look amazing and you can wear any color of shoes you want.

Have fun with black summer handbags. Instead of matching the bag to your shoes, match it to your belt, your blouse, maybe a cool piece of statement jewelry. Fashion should be fun and style is always fluid. The only rules are the ones you make for yourself. Summer is the time to experience and play around with style, so do it! Pair your black handbag with red shoes, purple shoes, a white dress, whatever you like. Contrasting colors and seemingly clashing colors can create all sorts of beautiful outfits when you’re trying out different summer looks.

Summer Outfits with Black Handbags

Think you can’t carry a black handbag in the summer? Try some of these great-looking summer outfit ideas for yourself and find out just how great it can look when you have a black handbag for your stylish summer looks.

High Contrast

Marc Jacobs Women's The Large Tote Bag, Black, One Size

What pairs beautifully with black when you want to make a graphic, stunning visual impression? White! Pair white and black to create a classic combination that looks amazing in any season, including summer. The bright white is a perfect companion for the black. Try a pretty white summer dress with a black belt, black sunglasses, white sandals and a black bag. This is a great look that absolutely works anywhere, whether you’re going to a day or evening summer gathering.

Summer Sophistication

LOVEVOOK Black Purse for Women Small Crossbody Bags Classic Double Zip Top Handle Dome Satchel Bag

What do you need to be casual, stylish and sophisticated with your summer fashion all at once? A black handbag! Pair skinny jeans with a lightweight, sleeveless white blouse and some strappy sandals in silver, white or a neutral shade. Add an open black vest, black sunglasses and a black handbag and you are ready for a summer afternoon, evening or night where you will definitely turn heads and look amazing. This is a perfect casual outfit for running errands, meeting friends for drinks, going on a casual date or enjoying all sorts of other summer activities.

Being Bold

Montana West Large Leather Tote Bags for Women Top Handle Shoulder Bag Satchel Hobo Purses and Handbags (EDC Black)

Nothing balances out a bright pop of color like a black handbag. Create a great summer look by slipping into a summer dress in a vivid color shade, like hot pink, buttercup yellow or lime green. Add a black belt or black sunglasses and finish off your summer style with a black purse. The purse will balance out the brightness of the dress, providing a great anchor for your summer look. This outfit can go with your to a dinner date or a summer evening out anywhere. It’s eye-catching and colorful with a touch of glamour and nothing beats that classic touch of black that you bring into the outfit with your handbag.


Montana West Large Leather Tote Bags for Women Top Handle Shoulder Bag Satchel Hobo Purses and Handbags (EDC Black)

Say hello to professional summer style with a bright white blazer. Wear this over a fitted blouse in either black and white or a bold jewel tone, such as amethyst purple or ruby red. Pair it with fitted black slacks, white shoes and a black handbag. This look is classic and perfect for the office on any summer day. This looks great at business meetings and it will be a stunner at any working lunch. Add a few elegant accessories in pearl or metal to complete your sophisticated summer look.

High Fashion

Handbags and Purse for Women Fashion gift Handbags Tote Bag Shoulder Bag Top Handle Satchel Set 4pcs (A Black)


Be highly fashionable and look like you’re wearing a designer outfit by using pops of color to your benefit with your summer fashion. Pair a bright white, lightweight summer blouse with wide-leg black slacks and pointed toe black heels, a classic combo. Finish this with a black handbag. To put the outfit over the top and give it that high fashion touch, add a belt in any color and match this to your earrings. These little pops will add some much-needed color variance to the outfit and give you that right amount of “wow” factor to complete a high fashion look.

Elegant Style

Handbags for Women Shoulder Bags Tote Satchel Hobo 3pcs Purse Set Black


What looks great in summer fashion? A floral dress. This is truly a go-to summer item that’s always in style and looks amazing for just about any summer event, from a classy outdoor picnic to an evening dinner date. Choose a floral dress that has at least some black in it and pair this with a small black handbag and some pretty strappy black sandals and you’ve got a classic, gorgeous summer look that won’t steer you wrong anywhere you go.


Montana West Large Hobo Bag Leather Black Purses and Handbags for Women Top Handle Shoulder Satchel Handbags Fashion Ladies Designer Handbags with Pockets Zipper Leather Tote Purse for Women MWC-047BK

Look glamorous in your summer fashion by pairing a black off-the-shoulder blouse with a pair of wide-legged pants in a light neutral shade. Two-tone beige and black wedge sandals and a small black handbag will pull this look together beautifully. Add a pair of large black sunglasses and a pair of statement earrings and you have an easy, breezy, glamorous summer look that is perfect for a day out with friends or an evening out with a hot date.

Casual Comfort

Kate Spade New York Chelsea Nylon Satchel (Black)

A graphic white T-shirt is the perfect companion for a black summer handbag. Whether you wear it with a short skirt, a pair of shorts or skinny jeans, the T-shirt is a summer staple and graphic T-shirts are never out of style. Finish your outfit with a pair of sneakers or sandals and a black handbag and you’re ready for all kinds of outdoor summer fun.

Tips for Using a Black Handbag in the Summer

So, want to break the rules? Want to show off your summer style and prove that black handbags can look amazing in any season? You’ve got some good outfit ideas to get started. Now, master a few style tips for using a black handbag in the summer and you can put together your own gorgeous summer outfits just like a pro.

Carrying a black handbag on a city street

If you’re going to carry a black handbag with your summer outfit, keep it small. A compact, streamlined, small handbag has a daintier look to it that’s more in keeping with lightweight summer fashions. By carrying a purse that’s less bulky, you will automatically create a more summery look no matter what you’ve got on.

Don’t wear all black. Though it can be a fashionable look to dress in a single color, don’t make black the color. Wearing an all black outfit and carrying a black bag with black shoes isn’t a great look even in the dead of winter and it’s definitely something you shouldn’t try at all in the summer. If you’re carrying a black handbag, make sure that your outfit contains at least one other color. You don’t want to look too monotone because summer fashion should be lively and have some brightness and lightness to it, even if you’re carrying a black bag.

Can You Use a Black Handbag in Summer?

So, can you use a black handbag in summer? Not only can you, but you can make this item the foundation for lots of super cute summer outfits. A black handbag can be the perfect anchor for many different outfits and all kinds of different summer looks. It looks amazing when you want to create all kinds of different styles, from glamorous to high fashion to professional to casual to anything else you might want to do to express your personal style during the summer. Play around with black handbags with all your summer outfits…and have fun with your summer fashion!


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