Photo Cred by @bianca_okoye

Here’s a trend that will suit everybody, whether experts or newbies to fashion: monochromatic outfits. First, what do we mean by monochromatic? The term can mean all one color, varying shades of the same color, or even a combination of colors if it’s black, white, and grey.

Some of the ombré shadings popular in prior seasons would fit the definition, though some ombrés merge two different colors and wouldn’t be considered monochromes. The single color style can be a single piece, like a jumpsuit or full-length dress, or be an array of pieces aligned by color.

Let’s take an in-depth look at this approach to putting together your outfits.

Styling Your Monochromatic Outfits

Why are monochromatic outfits appropriate in so many settings? There are loads of reasons!

Pulls Together Pieces That Might Otherwise Compete.

Have you fallen in love with an item and then don’t know how to pair it with other goodies? Do you need to pull together a look with different textures or patterns? Monochrome smooths your path. A chunky sweater will look nice with a pleated skirt in the same maroon tone. You can pair a satin hoodie in a variety of ways, like with matching ochre pants or trainers. Note how a silk flapper dress (like those by Chloe and Vaquera) finds its perfect partner in an embellished little cardigan, all in cream. Patterns look better when handled this way.  When it’s all about that color, you can be more adventurous with patterns, from dots to floral blur and painterly to paisley.

Conveys Confidence! You Make a Statement When You’re All In.

monochromatic outfits

Sure, you’ve got to be decisive about this approach. But there are few boundaries beyond that!

Creating echoes of one color throughout an outfit can lead you to unexpected choices. If you’re going for hunter green, you find yourself buying your first pair of hunter green shoes. If you’re swooning over a gold suit, the time may have come for a gold briefcase. Determine that this is a chrysanthemum yellow day and then go for it. The real kicker is when even the clutch or jacket sings the same tune. Leather with chenille? Yes, ma’am, all in blue. In fact, that’s your message, “all in”. All in white, all in red, whatever works for you. In these looks, you’re saying, I know what I want and I follow through.

Unifies a Look, But Can Also Lengthen and Slim a Figure.

You can look for blocks of color too, with perhaps a deeper shade below the waist to ground the figure and trim hips. A lighter hue will usually expand that part of the figure. The classic for this purpose is black, of course, but we’re in love with a putty or oatmeal color all the way down to the shoes. Grey shoes are everywhere now too—with grey outfits.

And if one’s figure doesn’t need slimming, monochrome outfits can keep a look pulled together even if the lengths are chopped, such as with culottes or layered sweaters. Because a single color unifies, bell or balloon sleeves can add horizontal impact without confusing the eye. If the fabric is floaty—perhaps a sheer blouse over a bra top—the single color lends a touch of class.

A similar hue beckoning from underneath an airy layer–what could be sexy in a softer way than that?

We’re experimenting with waistlines these days. Show that you’ve noticed by rocking a belt that tells your color story, placed just so.

monochromatic outfits

Then there are suits—three-piece ones if you’re lucky—and all can be spiffed up with a shirt or shell in a paler shade of the suit color. Monochrome can be a bold statement, but it can also give the wearer a subtle presence that makes everyone wonder—what is it that’s so special about that one?

Allows a Single Contrasting Piece to Really Pop.

monochromatic outfits purse

That gorgeous headband or wild purse gets its turn when it’s set off against monochrome outfits. Accessories might be less noticeable against a background of their own color, so let them shine, as they should. Speaking of shining: metals, metallics, and crystals barely count as other colors. Often, by nature, they reflect your theme color and don’t compete too much with it. And, well, pearls are pearls. They warm and cool as needed, and no one ever seems to have regretted wearing them.

Go Street, Stately, Formal, or Fun.

monochromatic outfits

Can we say we still love our jeans, knees exposed or not? So why not pick up on the charcoal or the denim blue with a ribbed top, a vest, and shoes in unison? Now that’s something fresh, yet oh so comfortable. Uni-color tracksuits are back on the street now too—not so much in the old velour but in fabric with sheen—a knit or satin. Casual ensembles of one hue show intention and awareness without being fussy.

Long knits are lovely in cooler weather—for smart use of monochromes think Adam Lippes, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Proenza Schouler.

Looking for an evening monochrome? How about bronze, chocolate brown, or rosy shades?  No worries about whether the accessories are just right; their color is telling your story.  Capes are a great addition to formalwear; keep them in the same part of the rainbow, please.

Transcends the Moment, Creating a Timeless Appearance.

Even the catchiest pattern is more likely to stay au courant if it presents itself in just one part of the spectrum. With a simple palette, any given color can impress the eye as neutral. Accents and accessories like jewelry and bags can change with the times. Are you longing to take a risk with a hemline, oversize garment, or cutting-edge neckline? Complete your look in a single color and the adventurous piece will look like an essential.

A stunning monochrome is what you might call a “birthday suit”. Take your skin color and celebrate it! Sport those same tones in your clothing. You can add touches of white, black, and pink—just like the good Lord did.

Monochromatic Outfit Caveats

First, when mixing textures and fabrics, you may find that what you thought was “the same” color can catch the light differently when rendered in various materials. Even different “lots” of the same manufactured item may not carry the color the same. Choose carefully, though not slavishly, to the perfect match.

Second, keep it a little surprising. An all-olive outfit risks looking like G.I. Joe. Neons can make even the most nuanced wearer look cartoonish. As always in fashion, avoid clichés. Don’t be too literal.

Last, be true to this monochromatic outfit and considering your hair and skin tone, even the room you may be in. If you never looked good in rust, you won’t be at your best wearing it head to toe.

Tune into monochrome designs from The Line by K, Mango, and Zanni, then drill down into your color like never before.