Sunday, 14 August 2011

today i love... monochrome

The word monochrome actually means single colour, but in the fashion world it tends to be used to describe black and white. It's a simple, timelessly chic colour combination which transcends seasonal trends, having been elevated to its perennially stylish status by none other than Coco Chanel. But that doesn't mean it's without its pitfalls. Black and white can look severe, dull, unimaginative and even unfashionable if worn in the wrong way. I had a French teaching assistant once who wore the same black trousers and white shirt every single day (yes, absolutely every single day) and was living proof that black + white doesn't necessarily equal a fashion homerun. This coming season I'm especially aware of the pitfall of the polka dot. Much to my disappointment, black and white polka dots were a trend championed by many a designer for A/W, and were the main reason the Topshop Unique show fell far short of my expectations (read my thoughts on it here). Somehow they look too office-prissy for me and I'll be steering well clear. But that doesn't mean I won't be embracing black and white in other guises. I'm loving a strong two-tone piece at the moment, as you'll see from my picks below. Zara has trounced the other high street stores when it comes to these, with their skirt and jacket being my favourite of the below pieces. But whichever form of black and white you choose, be it in one garment or two, as always the key is in the styling. I think it's crucial to add something else into the mix to soften things up a little. Reference the flawlessly fashionable Columbine Smille's latest look (see it here), where she's paired a black and white skirt with a navy shirt and colourful jewellery, thereby removing the potential harshness of the colour combination and adding a little fun. I also think a flash of blue denim, silver or neon lime would look perfect against any of the pieces I've chosen below. But if you prefer your monochrome undiluted, may I direct you to my latest style crush, blogger Victoria Törnegren. This effortlessly fashionable Swede rarely wears any colour but black or white, and never ceases to look perfectly chic, which is after all exactly what Coco Chanel was all about.

10. Karl Lagerfeld retro wayfarer, £78 (RRP £155) at ASOS


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