Black and White

By Lauren Laverne | The Guardian ©

What better way to get dressed chicly, quickly, than by wearing black and white? In the words of Coco Chanel: “Women think of all colours, except the absence of colour. Black has it all. White, too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.” Theoretically, of course, this is absolutely correct. Unfortunately it can be surprisingly tricky to get black and white right in real life.

The problem is, simple and easy are two different things. Monochrome is simple but wearing it requires a bit of forethought. Try too hard and you’ll look like a French mime. Don’t try hard enough and you’ll look like a bored waitress (disclaimer: if you are a bored waitress this is an awesome look, carry on). The key is to choose the right monochrome for you, and style it up (but not too much).

The combination is eternally chic, but spring/summer 2014 saw checkerboard collections popping up all over the fashion map, from Alexander Wang to Derek Lam. If you want to give it a try, here is a selection of this summer’s best takes on the look.

Pattern is still popular, but last year’s grids have softened up. Marc at Marc Jacobs showed scalloped black lines on white, giving cool, graphic styling a feminine feel, while black polka dots were – ahem – spotted against a white shift at Sportmax. Carolina Herrera’s and Céline’s monochrome were similarly chic and ladylike. Coast and Oasis have gorgeous stripes in spades. If you favour spots, try this versatile shirt from Miss Selfridge.

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