Among vibrant hues, color blocking and the print hysteria of summer lies a subtle visual relief and an easy way to play with the colors in your closet. While it may be complicated in name, monochromatic dressing doesn’t have to be. It involves only wearing one single color, or varying shades of one color, from head-to-toe. For example, if blue is your color of choice, then you would wear a blue top, blue bottoms and blue accessories or blue accented jewelry. Sounds pretty simple, right? Not quite. Even though it’s no longer a fashion faux pas to wear the same color or different shades in one single outfit, it can be extremely difficult to pull off—or maybe not, if you follow a few of these basic tips. Whether you’re new to the one hue style or a novice, here’s how you can master the monochromatic fashion trend, replicating it with staples you already have in your wardrobe.
1. Pick the right color.
The first step is to pull different pieces such as tops and blouses, jeans, pants, skirts and shoes from your closet in the one color you want to wear the most. Make sure you choose a color that looks great on you to make a full outfit. It may be easier to start out with an all black or white ensemble, but all-over neutrals like black, brown or gray can be dull—no matter how flattering. However, white is stylish and sleek, while pastel or jewel tones are super trendy and make a bold statement.
2. Choose a variety of shades in one color.
The most common misconception about monochromatic dressing is that you have to wear the same color in the same shade from head-to-toe. Well, that’s only one approach, because frankly, finding multiple items in an identical shade is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack. To switch it up, wear the same color in different shades to add more depth and dimension to your monochromatic look. Pair lighter shades of a particular color on top with darker shades on the bottom or vice versa, then work your way up to brighter colors.
3. Have some fun mixing and matching.
Kick your monochromatic style up a notch by mixing up different textures, prints and patterns. It’s an interesting way to break up the single shade combination. When it comes to mixing shades within the same color family, the possibilities are endless. Using our previous example of blue, you can match a vibrant cobalt hue with a darker, more somber cool blue. Not only can you play with different shapes and silhouettes—wearing a billowy blouse with skinny trousers or jeans, for example—but you can also blend textures and fabrics in one color such as lace with linen, head-to-toe denim in different shades and textures, knit with cotton and jersey with metallics. Experiment with the size of patterns, opting for a tiny pattern on the bottom and a larger print on top or vice versa.
4. Remember these principles.
Your look should be tailored but still shapely. Again, if you wear a bigger top, make sure it’s with a more fitted bottom. Style your outfit with understated (yet complementary) accessories in different colors for extra contrast. Also, choose shades lighter or darker than your skin tone, especially when it comes to neutrals. Keep in mind the monochromatic style typically looks best with separates, as it creates one uninterrupted visual line from head-to-toe. Now that you’ve mastered monochromatic dressing 101, you’re probably wondering what this fuss over wearing one color is all about. Well, here are some added benefits to rocking one hue from top to bottom:
Despite how trendy monochromatic dressing is, it’s actually quite timeless in that you’re choosing colors or shades that look good on you—not just what’s in style. And wearing one color is practical, especially when transitioning from season to season. Most importantly, anyone of any size can pull it off, as long as you start with a hue that complements you. Since it’s not as much about design as it is finding the perfect shade, planning outfits and shopping is that much easier when you don’t have as many details to think about.
Wearing monochromatic outfits is not only a simple and clean approach to dressing, but it also elongates your shape—making you appear much slimmer and taller than you actually are. And we couldn’t think of a better style bonus than that.
Are you inspired to wear just one color from head-to-toe? What color would you choose?