There are some things that will never go out of fashion. Audrey Hepburn, black and white movies, Marilyn Monroe, a string of pearls, that little black dress… Can you guess the link yet? Movie stars from the black and white era remain effortlessly stylish even now, and like that, monochrome is one of those fashions that will always be in trend and very, very chic. Rather than thinking of it as gothic, dark or dull, think of monochrome as a simple way to make an impact.

Whilst many of us use black and white as bases for the more exotic items in our wardrobes, these colours rarely take centre stage. Dressing yourself head to toe in monochrome is a very grown up style, and a way to be classically cool, while still being individual through the textures and styles of clothes you chose. For this reason, it’s the failsafe choice for many celebs for those red carpet events where the press are out in force (it’d be mine too - black hides a multitude of sins!). While Sandra Bullock wowed in a floor length black and white beauty with pretty silver detail on the red carpet at the Oscars this year, Kim Kardashian showed off those legs in a short feathered black and white dress at the Teen Choice awards, and queen of fashion Victoria Beckham showed off her tiny waist in a black and white striped Hervé Leger dress on a night out. As the celebs show, black and white doesn’t have to mean boring, and Jean Paul Gaultier’s SS12 catwalk went ‘Back to Black’ (and white) in a touching tribute to Amy Winehouse. The models, complete with Winehouse-esque quiffs, eyeliner and piercings, stood out in contrasting shades of black and white, with textures being key to making the catwalk interesting. The clothes were all about creating shapes, and with lots of pencil skirts, corsets and well shaped jackets, it’s a range that’s flattering and classic. Gaultier showed us all how to wear monochrome with style, by using an array of fabulous fabrics, from sequin pencil skirts, to lace leggings, to black polka dot veils that are more glamorous than goth wedding! Christian Dior replicated this bold monochromatic look with dramatic fifties skirts in black or white with motifs in the contrasting colour sewn on; dogtooth also made a stylish return to the catwalk in Dior’s show. The catwalks show that black and white needs to be worn on simple shapes to have the ultimate impact, and that it should be left to make a statement on its own: no frills, fancies or patterns needed (just some great accessories).

If you want to replicate Miss Winehouse but you feel a beehive isn’t the way forward for you, monochrome is a great way to do it - this also works if you want to be a modern day Audrey Hepburn, a Sandra Bullock, a Blake Lively, a Kim Kardashian…. The list of celebs that choose this simple palette is never ending! If you’re worried about looking a little too ‘gothic bride’ (or regular bride for that matter), keep to classic shapes, bold patterns and different textures for variety (however, if you wear white lace all over and team it with a veil as seen as Gaultier, there’s a chance your boyfriend might run screaming!). Whether you choose to wow in monochrome or just want to add a touch of the trend to your summer wardrobe, the best way to do this is through shoes, handbags and all your accessories.  For a lazy Sunday meal in the pub with your man, throw on our Large Grey Leopard Print Tassel Scarf With Silk for £6.99 with a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans for perfect weekend style. Bag wise, there are great options here at A-SHU for both work and play: make that boardroom grilling a little less painful with a great bag such as our Black Satchel Handbag In The Style Of Mulberry Alexa (£23.99) or try it’s white counterpart with black stitching, the White Leather Effect Satchel Handbag In The Style Of Mulberry Alexa (also £23.99). For a bag to compliment your LBD (Little Black Dress), the very cute Black Hard-Back Heart Shaped Clutch Bag for £11.00 takes wearing your heart on your sleeve to new levels!

Monochrome will always be in vogue, so invest in savvy staples for your wardrobe now to make sure you’re on trend this season, as well as next! Audrey Hepburn, step aside, there’s a new monochrome fashionista in town!

By Meg Dixon - Fashion Writer for A-SHU.CO.UK.

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