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Mode: decode the monochromatic look

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You can never go wrong with a monochromatic look, says designer Shantanu Mehra of Shantanu & Nikhil when we approach her for her take on this trend. A monochrome palette is a family of colors, explains fashion designer Nachiket Barve. While the monotonous bandage involves wearing the same color from head to toe.

For Madhu Jain, the first image that comes to mind when this trend is brought up is that of Queen Elizabeth II. From royal purples and baby pinks, to avocado green, fuchsia or sunshine yellow that we see her adorned, she surely represents a confident and elegant style statement.

Monochrome is a classic fashion theme and has been relevant for some time now, says award-winning designer Rahul Mishra. The key is to play with different tones and undertones and balance them in the best possible way, he rightly points out.

Monochromes can be transformed into a captivating style by playing with textures, says designer Falguni Peacock. The textures look great visually and give the look depth and dimension, she explains.

But monochrome ensembles can also work well with contrast, adds Payal Jain, focusing on a single high-contrast garment or accessory.

Here’s how you can hit the trend and literally shine like a queen!

Kill the monochrome top to bottom

This look is perfect for a picnic or lunch with your best friend;  Top, Zara;  pants, Marks & Spencer;  scarf and shoes, H&M;  earrings, Shein (Hari Nair)
This look is perfect for a picnic or lunch with your best friend; Top, Zara; pants, Marks & Spencer; scarf and shoes, H&M; earrings, Shein (Hari Nair)

While playing with variations in hue and shade in a color is one way to avoid looking like a keel, another good idea would be to break up the monotony with a complementary color as this not only enhances the main hue, but gives also relief to the eye. !

Wear it for: A chic picnic, or lunch with your best friends, suggests celebrity stylist Rishi Raj.

Accessorize it with: A scarf or long sheer cape if it’s a day and night event, add some bling in the form of large earrings or a stack of bracelets, he says.

To avoid: A scarf if your neck is short, warns Rishi

Layered to enhance a monochromatic look

Wear silhouettes that show your skin in the right places to add sparkle to a solid color outfit;  Dress and sneakers, Zara;  scarf (worn as a bandana) FabIndia;  jacket, Ikks (Hari Nair)
Wear silhouettes that show your skin in the right places to add sparkle to a solid color outfit; Dress and sneakers, Zara; scarf (worn as a bandana) FabIndia; jacket, Ikks (Hari Nair)

A cool way to enhance a monochromatic look is to add layers and accessories like a jacket and cap in complementary tones. Plus, wear silhouettes that show your skin in the right places to add sparkle to a solid color outfit.

Wear it for: Shopping during the day with friends. This look also works well for a traveling night market visit, says Rishi Raj.

Accessorize it with: A pair of flats or sneakers, he suggests and adds that one can make it more contemporary boho by adding a soft bandana drape or a loose loose jacket.

To avoid: If you’re voluptuous, as this look works best for a childish body by creating depth through asymmetrical details and curtains, which doesn’t flatter a more curvy body, he warns.

Be impactful in a monochrome suit

A monochrome suit worn with minimal contrasting colors and simple accessories works best;  Top, Top Shop;  Fab Alley pantsuit, bracelet, Outhouse;  earrings, Myntra, bag, Fendi;  heels, stylists own (Hari Nair)
A monochrome suit worn with minimal contrasting colors and simple accessories works best; Top, Top Shop; Fab Alley pantsuit, bracelet, Outhouse; earrings, Myntra, bag, Fendi; heels, stylists own (Hari Nair)

The simplicity of monochrome costumes is best kept clean and understated. So, wear it with a minimum of contrasting colors and keep the accessories simple. The costume will be complete on its own, if the emphasis remains on its monochrome nature.

Wear it for: A day of meeting. It can be dressed up for the day and dressed in jewelry and accessories for the evening. This surely gives a lot of versatility and freedom to the wearer, shares designer Payal Jain.

Accessorize it with: A scarf, pearls, a cute bag and heels, that’s all you need, she suggests.

To avoid: Highly confrontational and oddly contrasting accessories or interiors because they just don’t work, advises Payal.

The art of breaking the monotonous

Break up the monotony of your monotonous look by pairing a piece in a different fabric or ensemble, and throwing in a matching bag and belt;  Top and dress (worn as a skirt), Faballey;  bag, Gucci;  earrings and belt, Shein;  heels, Koovs (Hari Nair)
Break up the monotony of your monotonous look by pairing a piece in a different fabric or ensemble, and throwing in a matching bag and belt; Top and dress (worn as a skirt), Faballey; bag, Gucci; earrings and belt, Shein; heels, Koovs (Hari Nair)

The monotony of a monotonous look can be broken by adding an element of fun. To do this, pair a piece in a different fabric or ensemble and add a matching bag and belt.

Wear it for: Go shopping with your girlfriends or boyfriends, or for any activity of the day, says Rishi Raj.

Accessorize it with: Stack a few different colored bracelets or some sort of color-blocking scarf like a headband or a vibrant purse or clutch, says designer Falguni Peacock.

To avoid: Wear it to work or in the evening as it is a soft and feminine look, says Rishi.

Stylize two monochrome clothes

Keep balance in mind when styling two monotonous outfits;  Dress, Marks & Spencer;  jeans and sneakers, Zara (Hari Nair)
Keep balance in mind when styling two monotonous outfits; Dress, Marks & Spencer; jeans and sneakers, Zara (Hari Nair)

It is very important to keep balance in mind when styling two monotonous outfits. It is better to have a darker top and a lighter bottom. Two shades are enough to create a powerful monochrome look. You can choose a darker shade for the bottom half to break up the monotony.

Wear it for: A TED talk or a brunch, suggests designer Shantanu Mehra.

Accessorize it with: Any accessory of a different shade of the same color as the outfit. Opt for a shoulder bag for an avant-garde look, he recommends.

To avoid: Going overboard with the tints, he warns.

Assemble various dividers to enhance the monochromes

A dress paired with a plaid shirt is the perfect example for those looking to create varied pieces to create a monochromatic look;  Bodysuit, Marks & Spencer;  skirt and shirt, United Colors of Benetton;  bag, Tiger Brown;  Ajio earrings;  bracelet, Outhouse;  belt, Shein (Hari Nair)
A dress paired with a plaid shirt is the perfect example for those looking to create varied pieces to create a monochromatic look; Bodysuit, Marks & Spencer; skirt and shirt, United Colors of Benetton; bag, Tiger Brown; Ajio earrings; bracelet, Outhouse; belt, Shein (Hari Nair)

This playful look where a dress is matched with a plaid shirt is the perfect example for those looking to style varied pieces to create a monochromatic look. If there’s no need to be afraid to add more and more layers, know where to stop!

Wear it for: This can be worn to a jam session with friends or even to an informal brunch, shared desigher Rahul Mishra. Replacing sneakers with a pair of heels can completely change the vibe of the outfit, he adds.

Accessorize it with: A good pair of graphic earrings. Something that can be juxtaposed against tiles and bring more attention to the face, recommends Rahul.

To avoid: If you have wider shoulders, because the controls can give an illusion of more volume, he cautions. And visible socks can be avoided in this look as well, because one wouldn’t want to have more items than needed, he adds.

From HT Brunch, February 21, 2021

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