June 18, 2012

Style Feature: The Monochromatic Outfit

A few years ago, I went through a phase in the development of my personal style where I refused to even consider wearing anything that wasn’t black and I know several people who base their wardrobe around a single color, either by choice or because of work. Sometimes it’s black, but I’ve seen red, purple, green, and even white.

When most people think about putting together a monochromatic look, their biggest worry is that it will look boring or overly neutral. However, sticking to a single color can actually be a fun and interesting choice to style an outfit around. Here I chose three colors to demonstrate that while your ensemble may be a single color, it doesn’t have to be one-dimensional.

1. Grey

In this grey look, I chose to play with shades to keep the outfit interesting and give it dimension. By pairing a light shirt with darker pants and an even darker coat, I almost forget that everything is the same color.

Extra Tip : Patterns are also a great way to break up the monotony. The floral pattern of the shirt combined with the herringbone in the jacket helps prevent this look from falling flat.

Extra Tip II : Adding a single pop of color, like a red scarf, into your monochromatic look will not only make the color stand out more, it will also take your outfit to the next level.

Jacket and pant by Marc by Marc Jacobs; Shirt and sneakers
by Allsaints Spitalfields; Belt by Brooks Brothers; Scarf by
Gant; Socks by Uniqlo

2. Blue

When going outside of a grayscale spectrum, choosing different shades of a color becomes even more important. You should avoid too many highly saturated pieces and instead pick one statement piece for the rest of the outfit to be built around (just like you would any time you choose a look).

Extra Tip : Blue and white are natural partners, and since the buttons on the shirt were white, I chose that as my accent color as seen in the belt, bracelet, and shoes.

Extra Tip II : On a hot day, throw your handkerchief in your shirt pocket as a functional pocket square that adds some extra color and texture.

Shirt and belt by J Crew; Chinos by Gant Rugger; Shoes by Sebago;
Vintage handkerchief; Socks by Uniqlo; Bracelet by Nautica; Sunglasses by Prada

3. Black

While many people assume that black is black, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. When pairing blacks, it is important to look at them in good natural light because you want them to coordinate but not try to perfectly match (since different materials take dye differently and every brand will have different color formulas).

Shirt by Converse John Varvatos; Denim by PPD;
Sneakers by Paul Smith Jeans; Scarf by Tallia; Socks by Corgi;
Thrifted bracelet; Sunglasses by Prada

Though the monochromatic look is not for everyone, it is an interesting exercise in creativity and a great way to pair your existing pieces in ways you may once have written off.  And don’t feel confined to just the three colors presented above – whatever color you choose to use, it’s a fun and quirky way to give your wardrobe new breadth, ironically by limiting it.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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