Top-to-bottom single-tone ensembles are all the rage now, with many celebrities flaunting them. But how do you make the look work for you? We get some answers from the best in the business...
With offices beginning to reopen, our days of living and working from home in our pyjamas will soon come to an end. Fashionistas, for sure, will rejoice. But why just fashionistas? No one can deny the happiness that dressing up brings. Add to it a special post-lockdown outfit and it can do wonders to amp up your mood.
Need some help conceptualising it? Well, get experimental and opt for the season’s latest trend: a monotone outfit. A top-to-bottom single-tone ensemble, monotone outfits are all the rage now, with many celebrities flaunting them. Take, for instance, The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, who has set the bar rather high with her choice of such outfits in colours as varied as aquamarine, emerald green and garnet red. She donned a gorgeous monotone red gown at this year’s Mountbatten Festival of Music, accessorising it with a red satin clutch, bejewelled earrings and red heels to complete her look.
Other celebrities such as Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian, too, have rocked this look. Closer home, we have actors Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt who have given us some great monochrome photo ops.
From fairy gowns and gym-wear to jumpsuits, pantsuits and co-ords (matching top and bottom), the monotone look makes you look graceful as well as effortless. “While the usual impression may be that it’s the safest and mundane way to go about, the look is distinct in appeal and exemplifies the concept of ‘less is more’,” says fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore, adding, “When you keep your overall outfit in the same colour hue, the outcome can be just as striking as wearing a bold pattern or a vivid colour. Monochrome is distinct and the silhouette has more definition.”
The styling of such an ensemble, however, must be well thought out, as an uninterrupted solid block of colour can make you look washed out. “Most silhouettes and styles can be adapted to the monotone trend. A few unisex styles that work best are oversized silhouettes, monochromatic pantsuits and denim on denims. The key is to ensure that one makes the right choice in colours and silhouettes,” says Christian Westphal, chief creative officer, Koovs.com, an online fashion store.
One must remember that the detailing, structure and fabric become key ingredients for a monochrome ensemble to stand out. The Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur collection, which has structured tailormade styles for men and women, is a good example. “Bandhgalas are reinvented in various avatars to create variations within one look. The collection is conceptualised for all seasons and for those who love classic tailoring,” says Rathore.
Another important thing is to choose the colour wisely, says Anjali Bhaskar founder of Samatvam, a Delhi-based western and Indian designer-wear brand. “An olive-green jumpsuit paired with satin pumps and gold accessories is a killer look. You can go full nude or take diverse shades from the same palette in casuals. Try a lace bracelet with a mirror-work skirt to take the look a notch higher or break the monotony of the ensemble with a hint of bling,” Bhaskar suggests.
Nicola Glass, creative director of American luxury fashion house Kate Spade, finds green-in fresh shades from olive to fiji-sunset brights and sunshine pastels big hits.
For Westphal of Koovs, though, it’s pop neons that always stand out. “Styling a monotone outfit can be interesting or disastrous if not done right. So choose a colour that compliments the skin tone and body type. The gradient of pop colour must not stand out. A black belt and nude footwear will break the monotone without taking away from it. Don’t add too many layers to the ensemble, as that would kill the vibe… keep it simple,” he says, adding, “(I suggest) short formal suits or even shorts paired with a well-tailored blazer for women and a waistcoat paired with shorts and denims for men. The 70s’ big-collar trend is back… collars can be pulled out and shown off as compared to being tucked underneath the blazer collar.”
According to Rathore, classic dark jewel tones or powder colours have the same impact as vibrant colours. “The occasion and setting influence the choice of colour for any outfit, so there can’t be any standardisation given in terms of colours,” he says.
Experimenting with hues is, however, key for Bubber Couture, a Mumbai-based menswear label. “Play with textures, fabrics and prints. Add layers in different shades of the same colour. Pastels like nudes, mints and pinks work for the day. The Pantone colour blue or a vibrant vermillion are also superb choices this season,” says Mumbai-based couturier Sanjana Bubber, who styled actor Arjun Kapoor in an all-blue suit for the promotions of the 2019 film Panipat. Bubber suggests adding an accessory (earrings, bag or shoes) in a contrasting neutral shade to balance the look.
Not just fashion designers, footwear brands like Bata, too, are hopping on to the monochrome wagon. “It works well for both men and women. For men, an all-black look is a timeless classic… and muted shades like taupe or beige for women. These work phenomenally in a monochromatic look, and help to stick to a minimalist aesthetic,” says Matteo Lambert, chief collection officer, Bata India, adding, “Shoes in powder blue, dirty pink and coral hues will be big this summer. Monotone works well for shoes, so heels, soles, straps all can be seen in one solid colour. The best thing about the trend is that it does not discriminate. It works for all kinds of materials, styles and colours, and won’t take attention away from the clothes… Rather, it helps elevate your look.”
For Kapil Mahtani, founder and chief executive officer of Indian footwear brand Tresmode, it’s a mix of textures and fabrics. “A pair of handwoven leather loafers give a dapper look to an otherwise simple monochrome outfit. Black jeans with a black tee and black tassel loafers looks chic and makes you stand out,” he says.