50 Shades

I have not read the books or seen the movies, 50 Shades is a perfect title for this post! The title 50 Shades captures the essence of the topic not to mention it sounds much better than “Monochromatism” blah.  Monochromatism refers to “containing tones of one color” and is a term used in ophthalmology to describe when your retina cannot recognize color or you can only see black, white and grey.  But of course, the fashion community can use this as inspiration!  From sportswear to casual wear to black tie, people are stocking their wardrobes with grey in all different hues.  Is it the new black?  No, but it does deliver a cool, smooth dapper look, especially in a monochromatic ensemble.  Photographers use shades of grey create contrast in photos and you can do the same with your clothing.

Grey is one of few colors that can be worn in different shades at once without making your style seem bland or harsh.  This post captures how I incorporated several different shades of grey in one outfit to create my grey “monochromatic city look” all while keeping my dapper appeal.

Our eyes are able to distinguish color shade differences on a grey scale at 1% intervals on a 0%-100% scale; where 0 is white and 100 is black.  Since it is very easy for our eyes to identify differences in a grey color scale you will have no problem finding shades that are noticeably different when constructing your next monochromatic outfit.

The Coat: 65% Grey Scale

This particular overcoat adds texture where it is lacking in the other pieces I chose.  The combination of the black and white chevron print provides a common grey tone when viewing from a short distance.  The coat also helps to communicate that although we have been experiencing unseasonably warm temperatures in the Mid-West it is still February!

  • Style: 4-button, Quarter Length Overcoat
  • Material: Wool/Cotton Blend
  • Color: Grey Tweed with Chevron pattern
  • Features: 2 hip pockets, one ticket pocket (Outside); 3 breast pockets (Inside)

The Sweater: 25% Grey Scale

I chose this sweater to intentionally move in the opposite direction of my pants which I will discuss later, following the common blazer pairing practice of “light colored jacket therefore, dark pants” and vice versa.  This is a merino wool sweater in a silvery grey tone that is much different than the basic grey you are used to seeing at every store.

  • Style: Slim-fit V-neck
  • Material: Merino Wool
  • Color: Silver fox

The Pants: 40% Grey Scale

Viewing the pants alone their grey-ness is confirmed with aid from the white check print found on them.  After placing them with the other pieces a bluish tinted slate color comes to the forefront, which is perfect! The slate grey color darkens the hue of the pants and creates a dynamic color contrast  to the cool, slivery sweater.  A contrast most pleasing to the eye.

  • Type: Flat Front Tailored Trousers
  • Material: Worsted Wool
  • Color: Slate with Large Thin White Checks

The Socks: 75% Grey Scale


The Tie: 80% Grey Scale

My socks and tie are the darkest pieces besides my wrist accessories which show that there is still room on the scale to go deeper and darker.  Both items are similar in shade and offer contrasting elements of their own.  The socks are steel grey with white polka dots which compliment my white shirt and the tie is a darker steel grey that contains black plaid print that emphasizes the contrast between the two colors.


  • Type: Dress Socks
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color: Iron with White Polka Dots


  • Type: Necktie
  • Material: Wool
  • Color: Lead Grey with Black Plaid

The Shoes: 50% Grey Scale

The shoes are my favorite part of this post, and not only because of the style but the color.  Although we are beginning to see a broader range of colors in dress shoes it’s always good to see theses atypical colors in action.  The original patina on the shoe brings out the pewter grey gloss on the toe and the darker grey is apparent around the brogues in the rest of the upper.

  • Type: Single Monk Strap Brogue
  • Material: Leather
  • Color: Pewter

Use this article as inspiration and don’t be afraid to play with monochromatic ideas for your next night out, to the workplace or you next trip to the local bar.

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