According to the Tate,
For centuries artists used different shades (tones) of brown or black ink to create monochrome pictures on paper. The ink would simply be more or less diluted to achieve the required shades. Shades of grey oil paint were used to create monochrome paintings, a technique known as grisaille, from the French word ‘gris’ meaning grey. In such work the play of light and dark (chiaroscuro) enabled the artist to define form and create a picture.
Applied to dressing oneself, it generally refers to wearing all of one colour or grades of colour. I’ve been pairing down my wardrobe a lot over time. What I tend to wear the most, like a lot of lazy women I imagine, is black. Indeed, I am one of those people that owns two of the same black dress. My mom and my best friend say that they could never do this, that it is too boring, that they would get bored. The funny thing is that I love fashion and especially pattern, but black is where I go to get dressed most of the time. Because I don’t wear jewelry, I get a lot of my colour from scarves.
In the last year, I have subscribed and watched the Geek is Chic, which is a fashion blog for people who 1) are okay with a minimalist wardrobe and 2) want to or are willing to invest a lot of money into designer clothes (but not too many of them and also second hand or “preloved”). In this particular video, her advice is to get rid of (blue) denim, get rid of fast fashion and dress monochrome.
I must admit that I do not wear blue (or coloured or white) denim. This is because the lower part of my body is bigger than the upper part of my body (so I tend to wear colours on the top and darker colours on the bottom) and also that I can wear jeans to work but over time, I have gravitated towards black jeans only because I think they are slightly more formal. I have 2 pairs of jeans. They are the same black Levis I recently bought after my disappointment with NYDJs. I wear them on rotation. I still probably wash them too much for jeans but they have stretch in them, which I wrote about in a previous post, is a disaster for those of us with thigh rub.
I increasingly have an almost black only closet. And this is my closet (the hangers are what separates his from hers). You can see that in addition to black, I wear blue and cream. That is it: black, cream, and blue/navy. I also sometimes lean towards pink and red. Saying that such a restricted pallet has transformed my shopping is an understatement. I’m not sure if I spend less money but I definitely have less things and way more things that I wear regularly (I also wear sweatpants and hoodies and my husband’s tshirts when I work from home).
But this leads me back to basics. What is a basic? How many basic skirts do you need? Is it boring to only choose black? How many little black dresses do you actually need? I have 7. I also have 4 skirts: 2 a-line jersey, 1 a-line wool, and 1 pencil skirt. They are all, unsurprisingly, black. How many bottoms do you need? I currently have 1 pair of dress pants I love, two pairs of jeans, and a few other pairs of pants I don’t love so much or that need repairs (say 4). They are all, again, unsurprisingly black. I recently bought a t-shirt: also black. Almost all my workout clothes are also black. Anyways, you get the picture. While Im not ready to throw in the towel on cream and navy, I wear it much less.
Do any of you adopt a monochrome wardrobe? If so, what are your challenges? Did you ever go back to colour? Should I continue on this road trading less for more and hiding myself from the rainbow of fabrics available? Is it just an excuse to spend more money on clothes?