It’s not so black and white, or is it?

ponte dress

This is how I wear black and white…

With a hefty dose of red. For me, a black and white outfit is just the backdrop for colour, never the centre of attention. It’s not that I have anything against black and white, it’s just a a bit bland. On me, that is. My face needs a good dose of colour around it. And my personality may need some colour, too…

Life is not black and white… Or is it?

My mother used to say that people who only wear black and white are inflexible in their thinking, and tend to see the world in rather mutually exclusive, either-or, black and white terms, too. Well, given that she herself wasn’t exactly the most flexible person in the world, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with this theory. However, I wouldn’t say that we need to see ‘all the shades of grey’ in each situation, either. For starters, there’s a whole rainbow of colours, and dozens of ways to see any given situation or problem…

And, even though polarised opinions tend to be rather infuriating, there might be a few issues that we should see in rather either-or, black and white terms.

Take human rights, for instance

There are countries where some citizens are denied human rights, because of their race, gender or sexual orientation. Or perhaps there are differing levels of human rights, with some people regarded as less valuable than others because of their race, gender or sexual orientation. For example, in many countries women might not enjoy the same rights as men, simply because they are women. Their behaviour is controlled in ways that men’s behaviour is not. This is often explained on ‘cultural’ or ‘religious’ grounds, which in turn is expected to justify outright discrimination or even severe human rights violations.

These types of human rights violations are often either completely overlooked, condoned or even justified by many well-meaning people, either out of genuine wish to promote tolerance and respect for cultural differences, or for fear of being considered racist.  But isn’t regarding human rights as somehow conditional – subject to cultural relativism, and thus with different ‘interpretations’ in different cultures – a bit hypocritical?

Yes, cultures vary, and we need to understand that whatever we call ‘normal’ is not the only way to live. But human rights should not be subject to different, culture-specific ‘interpretations’. Unless of course we are willing to say that maybe, in some cultures, some humans are more deserving of human rights than others; or that some humans are, well, less human than others… But that would be whole different issue altogether.

And then there is is the concept of loyalty

We all have ideas and values we hold dear, and we expect other people to respect our views. Just as we respect their views, even if they differ from ours. Or do we?

It is easy to be tolerant of different opinions or values as long as the issue at hand remains more or less abstract and does not touch us personally. But sooner or later there comes a point where a simple difference of opinion crosses the line over to the realm of the personal, or encroaches on our core values. And it is my experience that when things get personal, loyalty and respect fly out of the window. But then again, shouldn’t we first be loyal to our own core values? Even before things get personal?

Of course, loyalty may mean very different things to different people. However, I dare say that stabbing a friend in the back is probably the opposite of loyalty in most people’s opinion. And if it isn’t, it should be.

Yes, I think there are a few ideas and values that are rather black and white. Even for me.

smart casual poncho

over 40 blogger

Outfit details:

dress: Boden / poncho: Marja Kurki (old) / bag: Chanel / 

shoes: Clarks (old) / sunglasses: Michael Kors
location: Helsinki Central Railway Station

Are there any issues you see in black and white terms?



Linking up with: 

Not Dead Yet StyleElegantly Dressed and StylishGaray TreasuresHigh Latitude StyleSydney Fashion HunterThe Pleated PoppyStyle ElixirGet Your Pretty OnHappiness at Mid-LifeA Labour of LifeDoused in PinkCurly Crafty MomFashion Should Be FunRachel the HatSincerely Jenna MarieMore Pieces of MeColor and GraceThe Wardrobe StylistNot Dressed As LambStyle NudgeCoco et La Vie en RoseFashionably Employed,The Fabulous JourneyLiving on Cloud NineA Well Styled LifeElegance and MommyhoodPosh Classy MomNancy’s Fashion StyleSheela WritesShelbee on the Edge 


  1. Nancy's Fashion Style
    17 September 2016 / 7:20 am

    Beautiful combination! That dress is great on you!

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:31 pm

      Thanks, Nancy!

  2. No Fear of Fashion
    17 September 2016 / 8:33 am

    I loved your post issues. Of course I agree. How could I not? It is very pleasant to hear these things from such a well dressed woman. I love this dress. I can see how well it is made too. Looks terrific on you. And a good splash of red? Always a very good idea. Like visiting Paris.Greetje

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Thanks, Greetje. Every now and then I feel the need to comment on whatever is going on in the world. I started the blog as a diversion, a lighthearted hobby to distract me from my overloaded brain, but it doesn't seem to be working.

  3. Shybiker
    17 September 2016 / 9:24 am

    Wow, there is so much to think about in this post. I agree that b/w serves best as a backdrop to dramatic color, like red. B/w on its own is too stark. I like your thoughts on culture and society. Every person deserves respect and dignity even if, by mere circumstance, they are born in a place that doesn't traditionally grant it to them.

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:38 pm

      Black and white is definitely too hard for my face, I need some colour to soften it a bit. I'm probably going to be commenting on whatever is going on in the world more on the blog from now on. It wasn't my original plan, but I guess I can't just ignore that side of personality any more.

  4. Julia @ When the Girls Rule
    17 September 2016 / 4:11 pm

    Nice look on you. Very fun dress!

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:39 pm

      Thanks, Julia.

  5. Coco
    18 September 2016 / 6:12 am

    That's a perfect combo hon!!! Totally hot! Baci, Valeria – Coco et La vie en rose FASHION & BEAUTY

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:39 pm

      Thanks, Valeria.

  6. Patti
    18 September 2016 / 10:58 pm

    Great post – love this look, and your writings about thinking in black or white. It is wrong when any group is treated as "less than," just because of who they are. xox-Patti

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:41 pm

      Thanks, Patti.There's just so much injustice in the world. I think it's time for people like me (those of us who are not politically active or activists of any sort) to take a stand, too.

  7. Jill James
    19 September 2016 / 9:05 am

    Great look Tiina but then as a lover of black and white I am a bit biased. Some people most definately think in black and white and are never open to ideas that questions their thinking. We have a newly reelected political figure who always dresses in colour but thinks in black and white , I am the opposite so not sure about that thinking either.

    • Tiina L
      19 September 2016 / 3:43 pm

      Thanks, Jill.I think there's a lot of that black and white thinking going around, as far as politicians are concerned. Unfortunately…

  8. Fabulousandfunlife
    20 September 2016 / 8:24 am

    I love this look Tiina! I've been a member of Team Stripes for a long time but today I blogged about spots!

    • Tiina L
      22 September 2016 / 4:24 pm

      Thanks, Ingrid. Nothing tops stripes, right? Well, spots sound pretty cool, too…

  9. Jessica Jannenga
    20 September 2016 / 3:35 pm

    Love the cape you have on with this lovely black and white sheath. I am the same, I love color added to this neutral pallete. I used to be a more black and white thinker, but I try and be open to more grey thinking, as often things arent so cut and dry. Jess xxthanks for linking up with Turning heads

    • Tiina L
      22 September 2016 / 4:26 pm

      I need colour in my outfits, always. As for thinking, well, I'm quite flexible, but there are certain issues that are a bit either or…

  10. Petite Silver Vixen
    20 September 2016 / 9:09 pm

    Yes, black and white can be very stark on many levels. Sartorially speaking I do like a pop of colour with black and white as I find it too harsh, not least because I also look better with some colour against my face. And you look wonderful with the red against the dress.And of course, life is rather black and white. Sometimes it can be which can be harsh too but more often it's a smudgy grey. The key is to try to be open minded and learn as much about a situation as one can.

    • Tiina L
      22 September 2016 / 4:30 pm

      Thanks, yes, a pop of colour is all you need to take an outfit to the next level.I'm definitely in the 'life's a smudgy grey' school of thinking… But recently I've had to admit to myself that sometimes I need to take a stand, and certain issues are pretty black and white.

    • Tiina L
      22 September 2016 / 4:33 pm

      Thanks, Ruth!

  11. Antionette Blake
    22 September 2016 / 5:30 pm

    Black and White is definitely the classic combination that never goes out of style. It is actually one of my favorites and like you, I like to add a pop of color, most times it is red. Enjoy the first day of autumn #PersonalStyleLinkUp

    • Tiina L
      22 September 2016 / 5:43 pm

      Thanks, Antionette! Black and white is quite unusual for me, so I really need the red to make me feel more at ease.

  12. Nicole Mölders
    23 September 2016 / 2:46 am

    Thanks for linking up to the Top of the World Style party.

    • Tiina L
      23 September 2016 / 4:32 pm

      Thanks, Nicole.

  13. Doused In Pink
    26 September 2016 / 1:09 pm

    Things are not always black and white and I try to think more in the grey area when I need to. Love your striped dress and fringe poncho!JillDoused In Pink

    • Tiina L
      28 September 2016 / 5:38 pm

      Yes, that's true, life is in the grey area for the most part. But then there are occasions when we have to take a stand, too.

  14. The Wardrobe Stylist
    1 October 2016 / 5:16 pm

    For sure there are many things that are black and white just as many things are grey. As you know, whenever you talk religion or politics your trending on a fine line that many people don't want to express their honest opinion about so they can remain "politically correct." The dress and the red are great on you and really suit you. It would be awesome if you can link up to

    • Tiina L
      3 October 2016 / 7:57 am

      Political correctness is probably just as bad as any sort of extremism in stifling conversation. These days any issue tends to get so polarised very quickly, and if you express any concern or critisism you find yourself accused of having opinions you never even expressed let alone hold. Everything is either-or, and if you try to tread the middle ground you often feel pressured to take sides, when all you try to do is express concern…

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