Looking sharp is not an easy thing to do, particularly when street style has become so geared towards the exaggerated and the absurd. Among the colorful and fantastical birds of paradise that are our contemporary street style mavens, garbed in vivid statement pieces in a multitude of shades designed to elicit the attention of the camera, it’s especially difficult to stand out when wearing simple monochromatic outfits. However, this season designers have been working to remedy this with high contrast black and white outfits that are eye-catching but sophisticated. Designer Aber Elbaz from Lanvin sharply juxtaposed structured white tuxedo jackets with flowing black trousers, while Phoebe Philo from Celiné showed black and white pieces with intriguing silhouettes and cutouts.

I was inspired by Elbaz and Philo’s glamorous approach to going monochromatic, and was compelled to experiment with black and white pieces that were interesting in their use of contrast or silhouette. For a touch of ladylike glamor, I selected a black blouse from COS with high-collar that created a sophisticated profile. The lower portion of my outfit consisted of a Camilla and Marc graphic silk skirt in black and white, the tones divided into sharp color blocks. Such blunt color-blocking may sometimes have a shortening effect on the body, but this effect can be mitigated provided the contrasting tones are strategically placed, such as placing the dividing line exactly at knee length as this skirt does. To finish off my outfit with a little flair, I chose these delicate heeled sandals from Zara with metal cuffs, elevating the ensemble to cocktail wear status.

Get My Look: 1. Black and white skirt. 2. Black high-collar top. 3. Black high heel sandals.