Fashion: How to wear... monochrome
How to Wear ...
Fashion is having a mono-moment after the classic colour pairing was given a makeover for 2014.
Whether using stark geometrics, abstract black and white prints or simply pairing one piece with another, designers have cast off any lingering retro connotations with a modernist approach.
The likes of Jil Sander, Ralph Lauren, Fendi and Victoria Beckham all showcased the crisp colour combo as a standout trend for the upcoming season.
Victoria Beckham took a step away from dresses that cling to the body and created a collection with fluid lines, structured shapes and boy-meets-girl tailoring (in the form of full cropped pants no less). Clever use of frills, ruffles and pleated hems added feminine touches for die-hard fans.
Even Missoni, which is renowned for its colourful global traveller patterns, embraced monochrome.
Personally, I think the easiest way to approach this trend is to keep it simple. It's a classic colourway, so go for a contemporary approach with tailored lines and a pared-down aesthetic. Entirely monochrome outfits always feel a little Parisian and ever-so sophisticated.
Still struggling as to where to begin? Start with a textured white mohair knit and style with a sleek pair of black cropped trousers, a black court heel and a leather biker jacket.
Q. Hi Darren, Hoping you can help me. I'm relatively happy with my figure and I'd class myself as having an hourglass shape, more or less. However the skin at the top of my arms is a bit looser than I'd like so I want to keep them covered. Do you have any suggestions on where to look for some nice dresses?
Siobhan (37), Cork
Darren says: Siobhan you're very lucky in that the hourglass shape is commonly regarded as the ideal and generally speaking it is the easiest shape to dress. A typical trait of this body type is proportion, with the bust and hips being roughly the same size.
Figure flattering dress styles such as the monochrome fitted pencil dress, from the 1) Myleene Klass collection at Littlewoods Ireland (€74), will enhance your natural curves and accentuate your waist. The three-quarter-length sleeve provides ample arm coverage for an overall look that is chic and elegant.
Hourglass shapes are fortunate as you can easily wear most dress styles. Just be cautious with regards to heavy embellishment on pieces that, if not strategically placed, can make you appear bigger than you actually are.
The key is maintaining a silhouette that is balanced and in proportion. For a 60's inspired look, Orla Kiely's 2) wool colour block dress is a beauty (€430, Arnotts). This dress shape is also perfect for anyone who is slightly bigger on the hips while the fabric and full-length sleeves make it the ideal desk-to-dinner dress during the colder months.
Even though you are conscious of revealing your arms, you don't have to eschew sleeveless dress styles completely. For instance, the 3) peach dress with black block panel (€229, Fran & Jane), very reminiscent of Victoria Beckham, would work well layered over a crisp white shirt or indeed a black roll neck for a dressed-up-dressed-down look. Remember it's all about playing with garments to suit your style and not limiting yourself.
Homegrown hero - Aliquo
Irish jewellery company Aliquo designs and makes its pieces by hand in the Liberties in the heart of Dublin.
It started life in 2007 in the Loft Market's incubation space for young designers, but has since developed into a distinguished brand that is distributed in boutiques from Barcelona to Tokyo.
Designer Alice Moyon draws inspiration from her native Paris and her adopted home of Dublin, which gives the brand its chic yet playful character with a touch of vintage charm. Available from Drury Street's Om Diva, The Loft Market and online at Aliquo.ie