As you might have noticed, I have an affinity with black and white pictures particularly because of the timelessness and soulfulness they portray. “When you photograph people in colour you see their clothes, but when you photograph people in black and white, you see their souls” is a good quote by Ted Grant to put this in perspective.
Monochrome, as we know it, is a well-established fashion lingo focused on minimalism, usually with the combination of black and white. If you’ve been to law school in West Africa, you’ll remember that appearing unique from others was an uphill task because you’re required to wear a white shirt and black pants.
To add some panache to an outfit that is strictly white and black, think about how you can alter conventional parts of your outfit – alter little details like the shirts buttons, the collar, the fabric and texture and other parts like plackets and darts.
Using unique buttons is one of the easiest ways to differentiate. Try getting a shirt that has black buttons or a mixture of white and black (any other colour might not be accepted). Or you can replace the buttons on the shirts you already have to help it stand out.
Collars steal the initial attention when a white shirt is involved. Get white shirts that have different shirt collars. You’ll find there’s a healthy number of collar styles to play with, like:
- Button down
- Small soft collar
- Spread collar collar
- Semi spread collar
- Classic/point collar
Fabric and texture :
Try other fabrics like linen or a combination of fabrics on your shirts and pants. There are tons of white shirts made out of 100% cotton that have unique textures. Smooth poplin, honeycomb, twill, herringbone, pinpoint oxford, dobby and end-on-end are some of them. The same can be applied to your pants, for instance, imagine the visual difference between a black velvet trouser and black chinos.
Other details :
You can have a shirt placket that covers the buttons, a standard placket or a seamless placket.
Use darts at the front of the shirt, either running from the shoulders or the armpits all the way down to the front bottom to add a little bit of extra detail and character to your white shirt.
You can also wear your shirt in different ways like buttoning all the way up for an air tie. I’m not sure how many breast pockets are allowed, but you can add one or two breast pockets to your white shirt as well. These are some of the things you can do when you’re restricted to a particular colour for work. Men like Karl Lagerfeld have made monochrome their daily uniform of choice, it can be yours too.