It is well know that one-color-only outfits create the illusion of height. They are perfect for petite women. This guide provides tips how to style a monochromatic outfit that is interesting and elegant.
- What Is a Monochromatic Outfit?
- What Are the Advantages of Monochromatic Looks?
- Examples of Monochromatic Outfit Ideas
- Why not to Buy Complete Outfits?
- How to Style a Monochromatic Outfit
- Further One Color Outfit Inspirations
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.
What Is a Monochrome Outfit?
It’s a look in similar hues like the one in the next photos. This business casual winter work outfit recycles a lace summer dress as a skirt under a sweater from the same color family. The structure of the lace creates interest and is in contrast to the flat knit of the tights and sweater. The suede fall sandals add another texture in the same shades. Different structures of the materials are one way of many ways to keep a monochromatic outfit interesting.
Examples of monochromatic outfit ideas
Here are some teasers to inspire you to read the long list of 21 tips. Don’t be afraid, you will not have to apply all tricks them at once!
In the outfit below, the structured lace is in contrast with smooth suede fall sandals, the small texture of the knit sweater and tights in different shades of turquoise.
What Are the Advantages of Monochromatic Looks?
Wearing just one color makes you seem taller than you are. Thus, a look in just one color is flattering on any petite woman. A monochromatic outfit has a slimming effect (unless you use pastels, any shade of red or pink). Monochromatic looks with just a pop of color have incredible elegance. Just remember Grace Kelly in her all white outfit with pearls and red pumps, or Jackie Kennedy in her baby blue sheath with matching pillbox hat and cropped jacket.
Of course, an ensemble like the young Mrs. Kennedy wore in the early 1960s is a classic and looks great on any young woman, back then and today. However, an ensemble is not a good idea for us women over 40. It looks dated, not ageless! It is better to wear an unmatched suit to avoid to look old(-fashioned).
Why Not to Buy Complete Outfits?
The modern 40+ woman avoids ensembles, real suits and everything matchy-match like the plague. These “cookie cutter” pre-made outfits make her look Old Lady and insecure. They are made for twenty somethings to feel confident at work, and look professional. You don’t need such a “safety blanket.” The individuality already achieved by the 40+ woman requires her own (ageless) style to look young, hip, modern and on top of things.
How to Style a Monochromatic Outfit?
Here is a list of 21 tips how to create a monochromatic ageless look over 40.
- The simplest monochromatic look can be achieved by throwing on a solid color dress with pumps or strappy sandals in the same color, but different shade or flesh color (nude).
- Go for a color that flatters your skin.
- Make sure that the shades are in different depth when you use the same texture for the fabrics.
- When you go for the same depth of color, go for play with different texture for a great look.
- Best is to go for different depth of color and different texture of fabrics as it keeps the eye moving.
- The combination of mate and shine for same depth of color.
- You can top the latter by wearing shine and mate with different depth of color to create interest. Avoid shine on the features that you want to hide!
- Go for neutral (nude, brown, black, metallic) shoes when you use a bold color for your monochromatic look.
- Know when to add a pop of color. Think of Gracia Patricia‘s red pumps with an all white outfit. Red pumps with a LBD are also a classic, but may look so 1980s when worn with black sheer pantyhose. When you wear a LBD with sheer black pantyhose go for royal blue or emerald green pumps instead for a pop of color.
- You can even master the style challenge of being top-heavy or bottom-heavy try color with increasing depth towards your heavier part to balance your body.
- Use the lighter and darker shades of your color strategically to create shape. For instance, when you are straight-up-and-down use the darkest color at your waist.
- Don’t forget about scarves to up your style factor.
- Try denim-on-denim with same weave of fabric, but different wash.
- Use accessories to create interest. Most people go for gold colors in the cold season and silver in the warm season. Flip the choice around to create interest.
- Look for interesting fabrics like velvet, chunky knits, faux fur, lace, tweed, leather, corduroy, silky shine.
- Interesting cuts like bias cut, fit-and-flare, Princess cut or low-high hem keep a monochromatic look out of boredom land.
- The same applies for interesting necklines like sweetheart necklines, boat neck, square neck or interesting collars.
- Stay away from ruffles. They are for girls’ Sunday’s Best.
- Play with patterns that cover the entire range of shades from close to black to its lightest tint close to white. Tip: This works best with gray.
- Use a statement necklace or belt to create interest.
- For a variation of the monochrome theme try just an outfit of distinct shades in the same color family that differ more than just being a deeper or lighter shade of the same color. Think for instance of multiple shades of gray with a mix of prints/pattern.
Further One Color Outfit Inspirations
Here are some visual inspirations with a more loose interpretation of one color only 😉 .
This red work look creates interest with suede, and thin cable knit, contrasts mate (suede) with shine (pumps) and accessorizes with a statement necklace. More on how to wear all red.
The next example uses texture (lace skirt) vs. soft (cashmere sweater) with a slightly shiny knit cardigan and a pop of color.
The following inspiration uses hades of different depth from burgundy to pink with sequin, shine and suede for different texture.
Inspiration with colors in different depths and hues. See the link for more outfit ideas with this orange skirt.
Do you like monochromatic outfits? Have you tried them? If so, do you wear them often? Where do you wear them? How do you style them? Let me see them by adding a callout @highlatitudestyle in your Instagram posts.
You can find previous issues of this Ageless Style Series in the Archive under Series.
Photos: G. Kramm
© 2013-2021 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved