Put Together a Monochromatic Outfit Like a Pro

Of all the elements of colour theory dressing, monochromatic ensembles are the most popular trend of 2019, and it’s not going away any time soon. From the runway to celebrity sightings, monochrome outfits are the rage, whether it’s for a casual day at the mall or a night of partying.

It’s not too late to jump in on the movement; you can still put together a closet of monochrome staples and be the best-dressed girl on the block.

A word of caution, though: monochrome dressing is not as simple as it sounds. You don’t throw on a top, skirt and shoes of the same colour and call it a day. There’s an art in mixing and matching to achieve a polished, sophisticated look.

Choose Different Shades, Tints and Tones

The word monochromatic means one colour, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one solid colour. For an outfit to be successful, it has to incorporate shades, tones and tints. In color theory, a shade is a pure hue mixed with black, resulting in a darker version. A tint is a pure hue mixed with white, resulting in a lighter version or a pastel colour. Lastly, a tone is a pure hue mixed with grey, resulting in a duller colour.

For example, you feel like today is a great day to wear blue. You can start with a turtleneck of pure blue, paired with an A-line skirt of shade navy. Then top it off with a tint — a baby blue coat.

Varying the intensity of the hues makes an outfit more dynamic. Plus, it’s much more pleasant on the eyes. So the next time you’re buying work trousers or putting together a garden party look, bear in mind that you’ll have a higher chance of standing out if you’re wearing a mix of tints, shades and tones.

woman choosing a dress

Vary the Fabric Textures and Prints

To make your ensemble more alive, mix fabrics of different textures and prints.

Next time you’re shopping for monochromes, fill your basket with different types of fabrics. Combine leather with lace, silk with suede, chiffon with cotton. Add tweed, linen, velvet and tulle. A shiny metallic top will go well with matte trousers; a muted red dress will go well with a glossy red shoe. Along with diverse shades, mixing different kinds of textures will add dimension to your ensemble.

Alternatively, you can mix similar fabrics with different patterns. There are so many monochromatic pieces with prints, like horizontal, diagonal, checkered and dots. Be careful not to make your outfit too busy with too many prints, though. As a rule of thumb, wear one or two pieces with prints, then leave the rest plain to achieve visual balance.

Pay Attention to Accessories

So you have your top, bottom and shoes, and they’re all in perfect colour harmony. It’s time to think about your accessories.

If you want your accessories to blend in with the rest of your look, choose jewellery or scarves of the same colour. You can also wear a statement piece that stands out. For example, a heavily bejeweled necklace with colours in complete contrast to the one you’re wearing. A printed clutch or handbag will also do the trick.

Beyond colour and mixing theory, the best test of what works well is your mirror. Admittedly, some ideas just look drab in real life, but risqué pairings look unexpectedly chic. So don’t be afraid to experiment. Mix and match piece with piece to see what looks good on you.

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