Monochrome Fashion: Color for the Minimalist

By Francine Szerer

Photography by Chaya Ross

There are certain rules that are so well established into the fashion norms, that, if broken, one would feel as though they forgot their favorite piece of jewelry or everyday watch, and would leave them feeling naked. For some reason, young women living in New York have been fed the idea that black is the only way to go. I will be the first to admit that I conform to this notion. As a minimalist, I prefer to blend in and let my clothing shine only when I choose.

I decided to break the unspoken rule–in my own way, of course–and venture into the world of color. Not ready to fully embark down the rainbow spectrum, I decided to journey into something that would feel familiar: the monochrome. The groutfit and all-black looks have always been of comfort to me, so I took it up a few notches and added some color to create the perfect minimalistic yet colorful outfits.

These monochrome looks feature varying tones of a single color. Dressing monochromatically is not only a way to break out of the boring black-only shell, it is also a way to look and feel chic, innovative and stylish.

For outfit inspiration, I looked to some of my favorite Essie colors to lead the way.
Let’s begin with my favorite, The Luxedo. I know I said this article would be about jazzing up your look and adding some color, but I always feel my best in the classic all black ensemble. Nowhere does it say that all black has to be boring. The sleekness of the all black alongside the luxury of the metallic and velvet makes one feel very black-tie and undoubtedly chic.



Sophia is wearing: Jcrew tank, Jcrew skirt, BCBG turtleneck, Andotherstories booties

I like to call this a day to night look. Just a few minor adjustments and this outfit can be worn anywhere. Throw on a bomber jacket, some flat booties, or even slip on sneakers, and you’re good for the day, while heeled booties and a woven headband leave you set for the night.

If you thought that the all-black outfit has no room for excitement, you’re mistaken. I styled Sophia with a pleated, metallic black skirt and a velvet ruffled tank along a simple black turtleneck. This outfit is compiled from a mixture of different textures that work together to blend in and stand out all at the same time.

Next up is Berry Naughty. On my spectrum of color, raspberry red has always been a favorite. There is something fulfilling about a head-to-toe red look. Red has the capacity to take your style to the next level; the darker tones allow you to stand out while slowly slipping away. Daring enough, burgundy is always a good hue for those looking to just dabble in color.



Francine is wearing: Jcrew cashmere turtleneck, ASOS pleated pleather skirt, Stuart Weitzman burgundy velvet booties

Red, and really any bright color, always has the capacity to take your outfit to the next level. If you’re like me, and vibrant shades terrify you, always go for the more subtle shade.

This look scared me a bit at first. Although I love deep reds, the idea of not having my favorite black skirt or security blanket of a leather jacket to wear left me anxious. When I picked out this outfit and laid it on my bed before trying it on, I doubted its powers. But, as it turns out, the clash of different shades of burgundy supplied a pop that I loved.

Here I styled a maroon pleather skirt with a burgundy cashmere turtleneck, adding a pair of high velvet berry booties (which are extremely comfortable), and classed it up with a pearl choker. Matching nails are a coincidence, but, hey, no one has to know.

Last, but never least, is the After School Boy Blazer. Navy is a color that I love, yet wear very sparingly. I recommend owning a few statement pieces in this shade, as I do, for you will never know when they will come in handy. Special shoutout to Sophia for putting this outfit together.



Sophia is wearing: Club Monaco wool ribbed tank, Brooks Brothers plaid skirt, Jcrew Collection sequin bomber, Stuart Weitzman boots

I know I mentioned earlier that Luxedo was my favorite, but, I must admit, After School Boy Blazer definitely takes the cake. This outfit incorporates so many of my favorite pieces in ways I never even thought of. Never had I dreamed of this brilliant pairing of patterns and textures, yet my mind has been blown.

Here Sophia has fashioned a plaid black and navy skirt with a wool ribbed tank and finished it off with a sequined bomber.

As a minimalist, color does not come easy to me. Nevertheless, something about a single color dominating my look excites me almost too much. Dressing monochromatically with different tones and textures is incredibly chic and a great alternative for that all black look.

So if you decide to go monochrome, here are my tips:

Accessorize wisely and sparingly!

Always remember- different shades do not clash!

Forever wear with confidence!


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