Opposites Attract: Monochrome Fashion

Simplicity starts here.

The fashion world can be a busy, bright, and certainly outlandish place – although no matter how complex designs and combinations can be, they are all founded on the same, simple principles. Brightness and darkness, complementary or contrasting colors – there’s intricacy in its simplicity.

We keep our wardrobes filled to be able to create our own combinations and allow us to adopt the same mindset a designer would, using (or bending) the principles of fashion to make something new, and turn heads – the ideal wardrobe being a versatile collection that can consistently create inspiring outfits, without going stale.

Now, what if I told you that one solution to creating such a wardrobe is deceptively simple, and effective, that you could blindly pick an outfit and still have people ask you where you got your threads from?

We’re talking about monochrome, and more specifically black and white. It’s almost too good to be true, but I promise that it’s not – in fact here’s the proof: our collection of some of our favorite monotone pieces from some of the trendiest fashion houses to inspire you to get your monochrome on.

White Logo Long Sleeve T-Shirt
White Logo Long Sleeve T-Shirt

New kids on the block, ARIES, have already made a spectacular case for the complexity monochrome can offer with their almost hypnotizingly cool long-sleeved jumper – the contrast serves to outline and highlight the tribalesque, skeletal design.

It feels primitive and looks as if it’s the only one of its kind, with a creative transformation of the rear design to elegantly feature the ARIES name. This piece speaks for itself, and you should let it – paired with some simple black pants or jeans, and almost any monotone pair of sneakers, you can’t go wrong.

Knitted Polo Shirt Black/White
Polo Shirt White

In the spirit of contrast, here’s something a little simpler and arguably a little more versatile. If ARIES is pushing the effect of only two colours on one piece, Balmain shows us how one piece can serve as a fashionable cornerstone for countless outfits.

A few well-chosen polo shirts are invaluable in your wardrobe when crafting looks – and Balmain understands this all too well. Their striped knitted polo could serve as either the base for a mesmerizing monochrome look, especially if paired with the right jacket, or it could entirely act as the feature of a sharp and snappy outfit – think vintage-style shorts and boating shoes.

If stripes don’t do it for you or are too limiting, Balmain’s collection of block-coloured polos have a cut, presence and feel that give some other brands a run for their money – watch this space!

Black Reflective Weave Bomber Jacket

Speaking of jackets, you don’t have to look far past the masters of simplicity themselves, Stone Island, and their enviously ergonomic design principles.

Take for example their black reflective bomber jacket – this piece is certainly the definition of an all-rounder. Its potential encompasses not only being used as an effective framing piece for a stylish shirt or sweater but also as effectively worn as the focus point. The fabric is weaved with fibreglass fibres and then encased in resin, this bomber is not only functional but extremely eyecatching, shimmering in different ways depending on the location – using light in your monochrome arsenal may just send your outfits to the next level.

Black & White Spray Paint Diagonal Wave Sweatshirt

Striking the balance of complexity and simplicity, Off-White re-works the idea of a sweater with this elegantly psychedelic piece.

The subtle geometric logo patch serves as a counterpoint to fluid and ever-interesting design with their tie-dyed knitted sweater, without falling for the mistake of crafting something too busy. The finesse of the crew collar and knitwork, combined with the flowing nature of the black dye, adds a touch of rebelliousness to this traditional must-have. As you’ve heard before, keep it simple elsewhere, and you can’t go wrong.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Knitted Logo Jumper White/Ivory & ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Knitted Jumper Black

There are few fashion houses that understand contrast as well as Alexander McQueen – these knitted sweaters are a prime example of doing so much, with so little.

They find the healthy middle-ground between ARIES’ attention-grabbing pattern work, and Off-Whites’ quietly quirky and flowing design, settling for a proud sweater that demands to be noticed. The larger logoed piece could easily stand on its own with straight black pants, and a stylish belt, while the more frugal one of the pair still manages to capture that signature McQueen pride, while leaving room for recontextualisation with a jacket, or perhaps some bleached black jeans.

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