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Are monochromatic outfits still in style? Actually, they are an evergreen classic styling, and a big trend right now. This guide explains how to wear a monochromatic outfit that is flattering, interesting, and effortlessly stylish.

 

Contents
  1. What Is a Monochromatic Outfit?
  2. Examples of Monochromatic Outfit Ideas
  3. What Are the Advantages of Monochromatic Looks?
  4. Ways of How to Style a Monochromatic Outfit
  5. How Do You Balance Your Body Shape in a Monochromatic Outfit?
  6. How Do You Spice Up a Monochrome Outfit?
  7. Which Shoes to Wear with a Monochromatic Outfit?
  8. Why not to Buy Complete Outfits over 40?
  9. Does a Stark Contrast in Color Depth Work for a Monochromatic Look?

 

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

 

 

What Is a Monochrome Outfit?

It’s a look in similar hues like the ones in the next photos.

 

Examples of Monochromatic Outfit Ideas

all white oufit with dress and bag
Hipstik hosiery, Nine West camouflage booties, statement belt, pearl studs, knit dress c/o Femme Luxe, bag c/o Jafferies

 

belted sheath dress with matching cardigan
Calvin Klein sheath dress, statement belt, GNW tight, GNW cardigan, and Söfft shearling booties

 

 

What Are the Advantages of Monochromatic Looks?

  • Wearing just one color makes you seem to be taller than you are. As, a look in just one color is flattering on any petite woman.
  • A monochromatic outfit has a slimming effect except for pastels, and any shade of red or pink. The latter colors give the illusion of being heavier than you are!
  • 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 light 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. It looks great on any young woman, back then and today. However, any ensemble is not a good idea for us women over 40 because it looks dated! It is better to wear an unmatched suit to avoid to look old(-fashioned).

 

 

Ways of How to Style a Monochromatic Outfit?

There are various ways to style a monochromatic ageless look over 40. The most important thing is to go for a color that flatters your skin.

  • The simplest monochromatic look to achieve is throwing on a solid color dress with pumps or strappy sandals in the same color, but different shade or flesh color (nude).
  • Try shades of different depth when you use the same texture for the fabrics.
  • When you go for the same depth of color, play with different texture for a great look. See example below.

 

mature monochromatic red work outfit
Anne Klein turtleneck, Lew magram suede pants, DIY necklace, Gloria VanderBit pumps. This red work look creates interest with the contrasts of mate (suede, cable knit), and shine (pumps and accessorizes). More on how to wear all red.

 

 

  • Best is to go for different depths of color and different textures of fabrics as it keeps the eye moving.
  • Try the combination of mate and shine for same depth of color (see example below).

 

stylist in monochromatic winter office outfit
Sienna Studio snake print leather pants with GNW Luxe wool cashmere sweater, Moda silk cashmere cardigan, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, and peridot beads and pearl necklace (all own)

 

  • Play with prints/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. More on mixing patterns in gray.
  • Try wearing shine and mate with different depth of color to create interest (see example below).

 

Nicole of High Latitude Style in shades of different depth from burgundy to pink with sequin skirt, leather jacket, suede high heels, and button front top
Newport News leather jacket, H&M sequin skirt, August Silk sweater, Ivanka Trump suede pumps.More on how to wear sparkle during the day.

 

 

How Do You Balance Your Body Shape in a Monochromatic Outfit?

  • It is well know that one-color-only outfits create the illusion of height. They are perfect for petite women. More on style tips for petite women.
  • 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 (see photo below).

 

fashion blogger in monochromatic teal winter outfit
Back view

 

how to style a monochromatic work outfit and create a waist
eShaki lace dress, GNW sweater and tights, Nicole fall sandals, and Hermes collier de chien belt and bangle. This winter-to-spring transitional work outfit recycles a lace summer dress as a skirt under a sweater from the same color family. The dark belt defines the waist

 

 

 

How Do You Spice Up a Monochrome Outfit?

 

Stylist tip: Most people go for gold colors in the cold season and silver in the warm season. Flip the choice around to create interest.

 

  • Try interesting fabrics like velvet, chunky knits, faux fur, lace, tweed, leather, corduroy, silky shine.
  • Go for interesting cuts like bias-cut, fit-and-flare, Princess cut or low-high hem .
  • Choose interesting necklines like sweetheart, boat neck, square necklines or interesting collars.
  • Use a statement belt. More on how to best accessorize with belts.
  • For a variation of how to style a monochrome outfit try just a look of distinct shades in the same color family that differ more than just being a deeper or lighter shade of the same color. See the inspirations with colors in different depths and hues. More outfit ideas with this orange skirt.

 

over 50 years old Nicole in red-orange office separatesMax Mara skirt, AMS neckerchief, August Silk sweater, pantyhose, Paloma Picasso xo belt, LK Bennett open toe plateau heels, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Hermes enamel bangles, golden bangle from my late Mom

 

 

Which Shoes to Wear with a Monochromatic Outfit?

  • 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 for a modern look. Or go for separates with nude pantyhose and red shoes (see next photo).

 

over 40 years old blogger in twinset with pearls for a dark and light look
eShakti lace skirt, Moda International sweater, August silk cardigan, L.K. Bennett pumps, pantyhose, multiple pearl necklaces, wooden watch c/o Jord and Akoya necklace c/o The Pearl Source. This example uses texture (lace skirt) vs. soft (cashmere sweater) with a slightly shiny knit cardigan and a pop of color.

 

 

Does a Stark Contrast in Color Depth Work for a Monochromatic Look?

Yes, just think color blocking like in the example below. It’s also similar to the variation of different hues (see orange red earlier in this post).

Alaskan woman dressed for shopping for groceries and clothes in Fairbanks
Oliveo denim skirt, GNW Luxe sweater, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Kieselstein Cord belt, GNW tights, and Steve Madden sandals

 

 

Why Not to Buy Complete Outfits over 40?

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.

 

You can find previous issues of this Ageless Style Series in the Archive under Series.

Photos: G. Kramm

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