One of my favourite ways to dress is to wear the same colour from head to toe. This is what we call tonal or monochromatic dressing. It’s a simple and chic way to dress, but there are a few key points to note when putting together a tonal outfit to avoid looking like you’re wearing a boring uniform.
The key to getting your tonal look right is to ensure there’s a point of difference between each piece in your ensemble. The easiest way to do this is to mix up your fabrics and textures within the outfit.
Mix and match your woollens from merino, lambswool, cashmere, alpaca, mohair or wool/poly blends and look for textural differences in woven fabrics like bouclé, tweed and ribbing. Team these with fabrics like silk, cotton, leather/PU velvet, linen, lace, satin, denim, corduroy and suede and you have yourself a well put together tonal outfit!
It’s also OK to mix the tones of colours within the outfit. Each item DOESN’T have to be the same shade. This works particularly well when you don’t the textural differentiation in your outfit. Here are some simple examples.
You’ll notice in this beautiful outfit of head to toe camel (below) each item is a different fabric AND different shade. Teamed with the leather/PU trousers is a slightly textured knit and wool coat. Mixing up your textures means the overall outfit doesn’t look too flat. Essentially, we want each item to stand out on its own while complimenting the other pieces.
You can see the same principle applied to the monochromatic mustard outfit also. The trousers appear to have a leather look, contrasting nicely with the knit and coat.
There’s no more important time to mix up your textures when wearing black from head to toe. It’s very easy for black to look ‘dull’ and a little boring if all items within the outfit are the same.
An option if you feel wearing an entire outfit in the same colour is wearing YOU! is to have one opposing item in the mix. The pink outfit below still has a lovely tonal feel about it, but the pop of white breaks up the expanse of pink.
And what about accessories? Do they also have to be tonal? Well, no. This is also an opportunity to break up the monochrome and add some additional points of interest to your look.
Equally adding some contrasting elements to your tonal outfit like feathers, sequins, lace and beading is a great way to lift your look, like Rhianna does so well (below)
And if you really want to make a statement with your tonal look like me (below) and you have matching accessories then I say GO FOR IT!
Here’s some more tonal inspo…