Classic, timeless and quintessentially British the monochrome trend has been popular since the introduction of Chanel’s Little Black Dress in 1926 which transformed the connotations surrounding the colour black. Previously black was reserved for funerals and the re-introduction of black as a staple everyday colour cemented its superstar status. But it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the monochrome trend took off ; the era of ‘op art’ was famed for breaking all the fashion rules and the emergence of ‘Mod Culture’ saw teens and adults alike wearing monochrome as a rebellion against ‘colour clashes’, geometric prints and bright clothing. The 60’s was responsible for making black and white a fashionable colour pairing with a popular monochrome panelled dress being labelled as the ‘IT’ dress of the century. Come 2016 the monochrome trend still remains as popular as ever with designers like Erdem favouring a neutral complimentary palette.
Inspired by Beetlejuice this tongue in cheek monochrome look is youthful, fun and minimalist. The prominient black stripes against the white canvas background samples the eclectic flavour of Tim Burton’s hit 1988 smash Beetlejuice while the knee high socks keeps the look modern fusing the late 80’s maximalist aesthetic with the persona of a 90’s minimalist. The fusion of maximalist stripes with 90’s simplicity creates a look wearable for work and casual events while the dramatic grape lipstick adds to the ‘ghoulish’ vibe. Clashing monochromatic prints is a key feature of 60’s mod culture [when monochrome became popular] but keep it simple with a two tone monochrome large scribble print clutch to avoid straying out of the minimalist zone.
Outfit: Shirt- Miss Pap, Faux Leather Pinafore- F21, Knee High Socks- New Look, Bag- Primark, Hat-Asos & Shoes- Deitschaman
Location– Shoreditch High Street
Tuesday An inversion of summer wear, this outfit is the antidote to colour. Synonmyous with an ‘alternative summer’ image, the 90’s strap monochrome floral bodycon midi is devoid of colour but powerfully so. Rejecting colour was contrary to some expectations a huge part of 60’s culture where society was split into two tribes: the 60’s mods and the 60’s colourbblockers. The 60’s mod’s saw the starkness of white as the perfect contrast against the macrabre ‘black’ creating a fusion between previously disliked colours that had become popular overnight. Adding a black bat winged kimono is a simplified version of Japanese cultural silk kimono’s and the absence of colour and print allows all focus to be solely on the tailoring of the kimono. The loose, billowing yet tailored fit of the kimono allows the summer dress to become a transitional piece that can suit any season and accomodates for tempremental climates. As I live near London the transitional kimono is the ideal cover up all year round and adds a touch of monochromatic elegance to any look.
Outfit: Dress- Missguided, Kimono- Topshop, Boots- H&M, Bag- Primark
Location: Aldgate East
Not all monochromatic looks have to stick the rules; this halterneck floral jumpsuit contains orange, grey and white florals redefining the concept of monochromatic wear. By keeping the rest of the look black or white the monochrome floral look’s splash of subtle muted colour is an effect that can not go unnoticed. Smarten up a slouchy floral jumpsuit with a pair of cut out suede heels to add some length and definition and layer a duster kimono jacket as a transitional cover up. Keep your hair slicked back and sleek to compliment the minimalist ethos of the eyes while eyes should be kept simple to draw focus to the minimalist lip.
Outfit: Kimono-Topshop, Jumpsuit-Asos, Boots- H&M
Location: Fashion Street
Thursday Accessible for both work and play, this monochrome trouser and shirt combo has the right amount of severity for office work but at the same time its loose billowing sleeves make it fun enough for work drinks too. Be modern by clashing mono-prints together; stripes work well with a ‘scribble’ monochrome print while adding leather to the monoprint look gives it the hidden edge it needs. When it comes to makeup keep it dramatic with bright blue eyeshadow mixed with violet undertones to accentuate your eyes. Opt for cropped leather skinny trousers to lengthen shorter pins while the kitten heels have the right amount heel for work and enough to be pain-free after a night on the town.
Outfit: Shirt- Miss Pap, Leather Trousers- Topshop, Bag & Heels- Primark
Location: Great Eastern Street
Fusing a hypnotic mixture of 50’s elegance with futuristic cool, the 50’s bird print midi is updated for 2016 with hyper-polarized purple lens to give it some much needed modernity. Clashing the monochrome bird print midi with a scribble purse is a print clash well done and takes you straight into the pro-colourblocking masterclass. The v-neckline is great for all silhouette types and is excellent at creating the illusion of a fuller looking cleavage, particularly if you are flat chested like me.
Outfit: Sunglasses- Firmoo, Dress- Joy, Purse- Primark
Location: Great Eastern Street