Monochrome: A word derived from the Greek word monokhrōmatos, meaning ‘of a single colour’. However, today if someone says that they are stepping out in monochrome it probably means a black and white outfit. Black & White are simply the most tried and tested colors to go with when putting together a single color ensemble, however using other colors can give you some interesting results, a la Queen Bey.
More nonchalant wall leaning ensues.
Monochromatic dressing basically means dressing all in one color, and there are several advantages to this, even for men. Presenting a coherent image makes you look leaner and taller. It also allows you to draw people’s attention to your accessories and shoes, which can stand out. White shoes here provide some two tone contrast, allowing me to look less like an Indian Government office worker and more like Frank Ocean.
Picking colors wisely becomes even more important here because there is a lot of the same color to look at and it will really set the mood that the outfit projects as a whole. The blue here projects a relaxed and approachable vibe. Dressing all in one hue is super simple, provided that you have the necessary pieces in your wardrobe, but personalizing the outfit to your needs takes some work. All yellow can make you look like Big Bird and all green begs for a Kermit joke, not to mention the Teletubbies. There are some colors I would avoid but there are ways to work around this. Work with hues, go for slightly darker pants or a darker jacket with a lighter tee in the same color. However, wearing all white does make me paranoid around food.
Since you have to stick to one color, another thing you can change up is texture. Since it is blazing hot out I went with a chambray shirt and linen pants. Often confused with denim, chambray is plain weave fabric but is woven differently. Light weight chambray in a tight weave, like in the pictured shirt, has a nice shine to it and works very well in both dressy and casual outfits. Being more breathable, it can be a great alternative to denim in the summer. The trousers I have on, have a more loose weave and a slubbier effect. This adds depth and dimension to the outfit. Check out my linen guide for more tips on wearing it this summer.
As I have said before, Nike’s Air Force 1’s are the only sneaker you will ever need. If my house was to burn down, I would grab these before I run out. Yes.
Here’s a closer look at the shirt. Contrast buttons always pop and mandarin collars never look old.
To sum up, going monochromatic is a nice way to make a big impact but like the best things in life, is a high risk/high reward move. You run the risk of looking dull or being called out on a ‘matchy-matchy’ outfit, but when done right, by mixing and matching a balance of tones and textures, lies the reward of looking chic as hell. Work with textures in order to not look like someone poured a bucket of paint over your body and experiment with accessories to stand out!
Chambray Shirt from Voi
Linen Trousers from CODE
Sneakers from Nike
Photographs by Roshan Chikodi