All there in black and white

All there in black and white

All there in black and white

First published in NewsXtra

Monochrome is officially the colour combination of spring. Two simple colours, but endless ways to wear them, as Lisa Haynes reveals.

By Lisa Haynes

Do not adjust your sets. Your eyes are not deceiving you: the style world has decided to banish colour in favour of black and white this season.

The usual fanciful florals of spring have been left to wilt, pretty pastels are in the shade and bright colours in the bargain bucket.

Right now, black and white are the transition double act to ease you between seasons.

If you haven't joined the monochrome movement yet, it's one of the chicest and easiest trends to work for both everyday or eveningwear.

The versatility of monochrome means that there's also a myriad of ways to wear it, from colour blocking to catwalk-inspired checkerboards.

Here's how to be a black and white beauty.

Check mate Forget looking cool, this spring is all about being unapologetically square.

Louis Vuitton's catwalk was one big maths lesson in symmetry and geometry with model 'twins' simultaneously showcasing bold checks. Emphasising the chessboard design, the colour palette was naturally mono-toned.

Take minimalism to the max in uber-bold black and white square checks. Wallflowers may feel more comfortable in a significantly smaller houndstooth check.

Floaty shapes can sometimes work out but this geometric look is a far better style equation when teamed with structured, clean silhouettes.

Tick even more fashion boxes by doubling the impact with complementary black and white accessories.

Block buster Black with white accents or white with black accents - it's a simple but bold combination that works every time with colour blocking. The higher the concentration of white, the fresher your look will be for spring/summer.

No ready-made monochromatic pieces in your wardrobe? Create your own look simply by pairing black and white clothing together.

Contrasting separates is the simplest way to do this. Team your colours the right way around and you can expect instant figure flattery too. If you're pear-shaped, for instance, stick to black bottoms and white tops and vice versa to balance out your body proportions.

Make your mono a little more subdued with accessories. Those with practically all-black wardrobes can simply inject a subtle flash of white with a two-tone bag or heels.

Sharp stripes It was graphic prints galore on the catwalks, with modern lines in black and white leading the way.

This season's modern stripes are big and bold, creating an almost nautical look - minus the navy, of course.

You don't have to go the whole hog with a Beetlejuice-inspired suit, but stripy trousers or skinny jeans are a big statement if you dare.

A dress is a much more versatile piece but beware of the direction of your stripes. Aim to create curves with bold, horizontal stripes and minimise them with vertical, skinnier stripes.

If you're wearing a voluminous dress or top, stick to vertical lines to avoid unflattering optical illusions.

Linear style looks best when streamlined, so keep your look unfussy and accessories to a minimum to let your stripes do the talking.

Spot luck For a monochromatic ensemble that's less sharp, more youthful, but just as statement-making, look to super-sized polka dots.

The trend may not have been 'spotted' as much on the spring/summer catwalks but the pop art print is in keeping with the Sixties vibe that designers adopted.

White spots on a black background is the most common colourway. To lighten up your look for summer, try switching things up with a black on white reversal.

If spots feel too primary school for you, try a black and white leopard print for a print with extra bite.

Avoid the fashion equivalent of a measles epidemic by limiting your outfit to just one eye-catching accessory or piece of clothing.

Get the look Make like Pixie Lott and add some sunshine to dark nights with a yellow dress. Try Bon Prix's bright sleeveless blouse dress, £27.99 (0871 275 6232/www.bonprix.co.uk).

Buy it now He's done pencil skirts and shift dresses, now Gok Wan returns to TU with a relaxed silhouette. "Ladies it's time to relax! My new collection is chic, laid-back luxe," he says. The spring collection includes 30 pieces featuring parka, boucle sports jacket and drop-waist tennis dress. Gok for TU is available at over 200 Sainsbury's stores nationwide from February 7, priced £20-£50 (0800 636 262).

Fashion flash :: Coke creative Designer Marc Jacobs has taken on the role of new 'Diet Coke Man'. To mark the drink brand's 30th anniversary, Jacobs has been brought in to add some extra sparkle as creative director exclusively for 2013. "Diet Coke is an icon... and I love an icon," he says. The designer has even created a spoof 'Photo Booth Break' film where he is seen enjoying his very own Diet Coke moment (http://CokeURL.com/DietCokeMJ). The Diet Coke Sparkling Together with Marc Jacobs limited edition collection will be available from March.

:: Recessionista alert It's never too early to dream of summer holidays. Pistol Panties has launched a new website and is offering 50% off all swimwear until February 14 only. The spring/summer 13 collection launches on February 15. Visit www.pistolpanties.com

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