About Time You Tried: Monochrome Dressing for Him and HerBy Angelica Malin
Monochrome is very ‘in’ right now, with everyone from Lenny Kravitz and Kim Kardashian to Kate Middleton rocking the look. Far from being a boring style, a minimalistic canvas carries with it multiple benefits as well as being sophisticated and attention grabbing, whatever your gender.
Whether you’re going out for dinner and drinks with friends and want to freshen up an outfit by adding a smart waistcoat from Dobell to white shirt and jeans, or you want to jazz up your office wear with a couple of stylish dresses, monochrome is the way forward. Here’s why…
Why wear monochrome?
- Monochrome, especially all black, can have the effect of making you look both taller and slimmer.
- It allows you to dress subtly, or boldly, as you prefer.
- Monochrome makes it far easier to shop for clothes, especially in stores that order clothing by colour.
- It adds sophistication to an outfit that would be far less effective in different colours.
The other great joy of monochrome is, of course, that there is practically no situation where it can’t be worn to great effect. It’s good for travelling, allowing you to go neutral and thereby keep what you need to pack to an absolute minimum.
For the office it’s fine too, but obviously you need to maintain a professional look such as all-grey or navy-blue, for instance. It’s eye-catching at parties or clubs, and when you’re working out, monochrome makes for very fetching apparel on the running machine.
In fact, really the only place where you need to be careful is in posh restaurants, where a white shirt and black trousers can potentially cause you the embarrassment of being mistaken for a member of staff! Tip: if this does happen, save face by – whatever the customer asks for – saying you’re going to ‘check with the manager’. Then never walk past their table again.
How to wear it
There are many different ways you can make monochrome work for you:
Vary materials to break up the starkness of the black against the white, such as a black top over a leather skirt, or a fluffy sweater over linen trousers.
Adding a dash of colour or shades of grey can have a similar effect. Another good technique is to mix up different hues of the same colour, but be sure they are markedly different, as if they’re too alike it can look as though you’re clashing unintentionally.
Mismatched separates are a good way to go particularly if you’re planning on going all-white, as it can look quite fussy and clinical otherwise.
Try wearing a piece with a pattern such as checks or leopard-print, so long as it sticks to the same colour scheme.
Don’t forget that while many people think of monochrome as being black and white only, you can do it with any other colour also.
Monochrome for him
Guys have been wearing black and white for centuries, from Beau Brummell, the 19th century dandy, to that great statesman of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld. For men it’s a practical and versatile look that allows for a lot of creativity.
The obvious occasion where you’re going to wear it is a formal affair where you’ll be looking to employ a tuxedo, but shake it up a bit with a white jacket, maybe incorporating black lapels. Alternatively, black and white dress shoes can give you a striking Prohibition-era gangster look. And for winter, a James Bond-inspired style might be a lightly patterned white ski jumper over black jeans.
Monochrome for her
Women can draw inspiration from many celebrities currently wearing monochrome on the red carpet or the high street. A white dress is beautifully offset with a black overcoat and grey scarf, or a striped blouse over black trousers for a memorable look in the office. Monochrome can give your ensemble a retro, or futuristic, vibe. There are few more ways to look chic and elegant than this simple fashion trick.