The Beauty of Black and White

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In matters of style, we’re all for seeing things in black and white—it’s a color (or rather, uncolor) combination we never, ever grow tired of. But lest you think we just favor a black-meets-white approach to dressing, here are six more of our very favorite black-and-white things (and check out the Madewell Pinterest board for even more inspiration!).

1) Zebras and penguins
When it comes to animals in black and white, it’s a tie. We love the innate elegance of the zebra and the fact that their stripes, which they use as a camouflage device, are unique to each creature. But then penguins are so darn cute…

2) Silent films
The 1920s weren’t so roaring after all: Before the advent of so-called “talkies,” cinema was devoid of color and sound but still managed to be totally remarkable. Our three favorites for silent film novices: Charlie Chaplin’s finest, The Gold Rush; the movie that cemented Clara Bow’s starlet status, It; and Fritz Lang’s German expressionist masterpiece, Metropolis.

3) Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video
The 1991 song about racial harmony hit number one in 19 countries (in the UK it was the first single since Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” to enter the charts at number one) and the epic and controversial video featured some seriously amazing cameos (Macaulay Culkin, Norm from Cheers and Tyra Banks).

4) Picasso’s monochromatic paintings
Picasso was such a fan of the monochromatic palette that New York’s  Guggenheim Museum recently devoted a show solely to his black-and-white work (with plenty of grey). As the artist himself once said, “If you don’t know what color to take, take black.”

5) Houndstooth
The cool graphic pattern originally from the Scottish lowlands is a true style classic. We particularly like it in coat form.