The New Monochrome


Sweater: Capricious by Elena Nodel; Cephalopod Yarns Bugga in Grey Scalloped Bar Butterfly (have I mentioned how heartbroken I am about the CY closing?); my notes and modifications on "Disraeli Blues"
Dress: Jason Wu for Target. Yes, I was one of those people who stood in line to by a Target capsule collection. If you did not wait on line, here's the thing: the dress is terribly made. I love it, but it's clearly disposable clothing. And while you can't swing a cat without hitting a black fit and flare dress, here are some I like: Shoshana's ribbon fabric variation, this boatneck dress from French Connection, and holy crap, they're giving this Banana Republic one away - despite the iffy reviews I'm nabbing a couple of sizes because if it works, it's a 30 dollar dress!
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik pink suede ankle strap sandals. A quick note on shoe substitution: I know that my shoes are not cheap. I know not everyone agrees that shoes should be such an investment. I happen to believe that if given the choice between 10 $60 pairs of cheaply made shoes with cheap material and 1 $600 pair of perfect, well-made shoes, you choose the 1 pair. So when I offer alternate styles, they're generally only from brands I trust, which are frequently expensive, though I try to find sales. After having personal bouts of bad luck with Steve Madden and Nine West, I just don't believe in the quality enough to recommend it, because even if something's only $75 that's still $75 you had to earn and you shouldn't just throw it away. That being said, if money is no object, I adore these Dolce & Gabbanas, and if you're a size 10, the deal on these Pedro Garcias can't be beat, while there are still some sizes remaining of the Proenza Schouler embellished sandals
Toes: Butter London in Royal Navy. I was going to try Essie's After School Boy Blazer, but the navy of this one is much truer.
Lips: Clinique Different Lipstick in Shy
Scarf: Giorgio Armani, similar style in blue and more reasonable alternative by Michael Stars

Everything is always the new black, but I've never been a believer. I adore navy. Adore it. Don't know why I came to my love of navy late in life, but now I want everything in navy. But not the things I want in black. see what I mean? Navy is Riviera cool, black is SoHo cool. There's a place for both, but I will never want a navy evening gown with a plunging neckline, nor will I want a black twill jacket. But monochrome, which traditionally referred to black and white uniformity, has a little more wiggle room. The dress is definitely black, but with a grey sweater, light pink - almost nude - shoes, a scarf with hints of apricot and aubergine, and navy toes, there's a diversity to the neutrals that I think works really well together. It's a bit pointillist in its execution where, from far away the colors are all of a type, but when examined more closely, there's a lot more going on.


As I mentioned, I've been on vacation for the past week and a half and vacation me is a lot different from work me. Vacation me doesn't wear makeup (I used my tinted lip balm with spf twice), doesn't shampoo her hair (I think of it as hair detox), and certainly doesn't wear her high heels. Vacation me went diving and surfing and hiking. This outfit is comforting in that it didn't take a lot of thought. That's the virtue of the monochromatic palette - it's intuitive. Everything goes with black, so it's just a question of reaching into one's closet and pulling out those things. For that week after vacation when your brain is still on the beach but your butt is solidly in an office chair, easy is good. And the reason my face is all grimace-y in the photos is not that I'm angry, it's that I'm trying not to quint at the sun.


  1. I bought a top from the Jason Wu x Target collection and returned it because the fabric wasn't cut on grain and twisted terribly. Disappointing!

  2. Hey Katie,
    I'm actually wearing one of the dresses I bought and yes, the quality is not terrific (I don't know what machine or asleep person was used to install the zipper, but it was not done well), but I have gotten much more than $40ish wear out of the dresses I got - I'm sorry your top didn't work out. I am very seriously considering waiting on line for the upcoming Altazurra collection, but my expectations on quality are not that high - it's a chance to get a "designer" piece I wouldn't ordinarily be able to afford.