I know I should be feeling all the colourful spring florals right about now, but I’ve been getting into monochrome lately and the high street is awash with every combination from gingham to windowpane checks. Time to start seeing things in black and white I think.
I never used to understand why so many people extolled the virtues of wearing black. I didn’t truly appreciate how chic and smart, easy and flattering it can be. I know, I know, I finally got with the programme. But it often seemed a little conservative and, dare I say it, boring? And while I’m still not into wearing top-to-toe black (a bit sombre and draining for me), I can really get on board with monochrome. I think black works best when it has a foil, whether white to offset it or even shades of grey, blush, cream and camel. Oh and by the way, I’m counting navy in with this too as I love it and often wear it instead of black.
But what’s really got me feeling monochrome is all the amazing prints around at the moment. You know I still like a clever detail and a bit of contrast to mix things up a bit and I think you can maybe get away with far more when your outfit is kept to simply black and white. Just avoid zebra crossings!
I have to say, what really prompted this current monochrome mood is Me + Em. I have a growing love affair with this label though I’ve yet to pop my cherry and buy a piece. For now I’m just admiring from afar as I love the styling as much as the beautiful design. But come on, look how amazing the striped sweater above looks when worn alongside that white blouse with its pussy bow tie and pie-crust collar? It’s all about the details. And yes, the windowpane check might seem like a tricky print to pull off but if you break it up with other solid simple pieces, I think it looks great. Or just try a smaller square. I’ve just picked up a pair of trousers like this in Primark and they’re more flattering than you’d think.
SHOP MONOCHROME AT ME + EM
As you’d expect, Mango has got it all going on with this trend and there is practically every print and garment style, should you wish to give monochrome a whirl. Obviously there’s the gingham thing but I’m not sure about this one; I still have tablecloth connotations but maybe I’ll have changed my mind by summer. Personally I’m more likely to try my luck with a polka dot print; despite their slightly clownish tendencies, I still think they’re quite cute. If in doubt, wear them on your top half.
SHOP MONOCHROME AT MANGO
As I admitted in my last post, I don’t actually own a suit and never felt the need to obtain one (I always wore a dress and a smart coat to interviews). But there’s something about black and white that makes me hanker for a matching two-piece like this one from M&S. The wide leg trousers, fluid jacket and white piping are anything but standard corporate garb but I reckon you could even get away with this in a boardroom. But aside from work, there’s something pretty punchy about a woman who rocks up in a trouser suit isn’t there – no half measures! And I think they look brilliant worn with a t-shirt and trainers.
SHOP MONOCHROME AT M&S
Finally, Warehouse is a high street brand I keep returning to since its recent relaunch. Ever since Emma Cook took over as design director last year, there’s been such a fresh direction and always something interesting to discover. These pieces might be a bit summery just yet for the current climate but they would be amazing additions to both a work or holiday wardrobe. Yep, I’m even considering wearing black in summer, I must be well and truly converted!
SHOP MONOCHROME AT WAREHOUSE
For more inspiration, check out my new monochrome Pinterest board here (it must be love!).