Science + Style = 3 Outfits for Those Addicted to Monochrome

How to wear all black everything.
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Christina - University of Pennsylvania
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How to wear all black everything.

This week’s article is for those who wear black all-year round, those who don’t want to bother with matching colors, and those who want their outfits to reflect their souls. 

Photo Credit: Elle

Photo Credit: Elle

Fans of all black will be excited to hear that the timeless shade has been revamped due to the recent invention of the blackest substance knownVantablack

Black, rather than being a color, is actually the lack of color, so something is black when it absorbs all wavelengths of light that hits it, leaving no wavelengths to be reflected back to your eye. 

Still, you might see in everyday black surfaces that there is a reddish or maybe a bluish tint in the black. This is because normal everyday objects do not perfectly absorb the incident radiation that hits them - however, Vantablack does. (Or at least it absorbs 99.965% of the wavelengths in the visible spectrum, earning itself an A+. You go, Vantablack!)

Center: Vantablack. It's like starting into a black hole. | Photo Credit: Surrey Nanosystems

Center: Vantablack. It's like starting into a black hole. | Photo Credit: Surrey Nanosystems

Originally, Vantablack had been developed by Surry NanoSystems to remove stray light in satellites and telescopes

Named after its structure “Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Arrays,” Vantablack works because it has rows of really long hollow carbon tubes whose lengths are much longer than their diameters, the size of a single atom. That means when light hits it, the photons are absorbed in the forest of “tall” hollow tubes, and all the surface details of the object vanish under the coating. 

Vantablack’s texture is actually smooth and not velvety as one might expect; this is another illusion due to its unique optical properties. 

Vantablack looks velvety, but is actually smooth. | Photo Credit: Surrey NanoSystems

Vantablack looks velvety, but is actually smooth. | Photo Credit: Surrey NanoSystems

Vantablack is fragile to the touch as the tubes can be crushed by impact with a solid object, like a plane landing in a field of tall wheat. However, the material is super resilient against vibrations and jostling. I'm going to cramp Newton’s style and state that force = mass x acceleration. Since the nanotubes are hollow, they don’t have much mass and thus do not experience much force. (Thanks, Isaac!) 

All of these things factor into why Vantablack is extremely expensive as of now – even more pricey than gold and diamond per unit. Artists, car manufacturers, smart phone makers, and even clothing designers are requesting the spray-on substance, but it’s not commercially available yet. 

While we can’t get our hands on a Little VantaBlack Dress right now, we can satisfy our craving for all-black outfits with the following looks:

The LBD

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Products: Jacket | Dress | Shoes | Necklaces

One tip for wearing a monochrome outfit is to mix pieces with different textures for more depth. 

Of course, I can’t write an all-black outfit post without including a little black dress, which is perfect for a fun night out. Wear this silky slip dress for a refreshing twist on the LBD that is reminiscent of the smooth surface of Vantablack. Add a leather jacket, gold layered necklaces for some edge, and suede block-heel booties. With this killer look, you won’t need to per-suede your friends to compliment your outfit (not that I bribe my friends, ever)!    

Dinner at Tiffany's

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Products: Sweater | Skirt | Heels | Purse | Necklace

This next look is comfortable yet classy, good for making a stunning impression on a date. It features a textured skirt with a classy melange pattern with a tucked-in knit turtleneck for an Audrey Hepburn vibe. Slip on these strappy heels, a delicate pearl necklace, and a quilted crossbody to complete the look.

St. Style  

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Products: Trench | Top | Jeans | Bag | Shoes

The last look mixes “casual” with “barely-formal” to yield a modern street style vibe that's wearable every day. On top is a long trench coat that adds a bit of drama to the simple v-neck, which is in a soft and comfortable material. The ripped jeans and sneakers make you look effortlessly cool and the sleek lather backpack adds a practical yet elegant element to the whole outfit.

How do you feel about monochrome outfits?

Do you have any tips on wearing all black? What pieces have you been loving lately? Let me know in the comments below!