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 also can have 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 60s 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).
Don’t 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.
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 them all at once!
This outfit works with texture and prints in gray. Woven texture dress c/o Blue Vanilla, printed India Hicks scarf c/o Tammy Gray
This outfit features an example of different texture and shades of blue contrasting denim and leather plus accessorizing with another neutral
Example of same color, but different texture (suede vs. knit) with metallic pumps
Here the structured lace is contrasted with soft suede fall sandals, a knit sweater and tights in different shades of turquoise
This monochromatic outfit uses tailoring and different denim washes and accessories with items with stripes in different colors
This all black leather with knit look elevates the Rock’n Roll inspired single color vibe with pearls
Here is a list of 21 tips how to style a monochromatic outfit to look ageless 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 80s 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 (see photo inspiration).
- 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.
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Monochromatic outfit ideas
Here are some visual inspirations with a more loose interpretation of one color only 😉 .
This example uses texture (lace skirt) vs. soft (cashmere sweater) with a slightly shiny knit cardigan and a pop of color. Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source, wooden watch c/o Jord
This lotd strays a bit away from the usual monochromatic outfits as it makes use of distinct different brown shades
Example of using different shades of the same color
Shades of different depth from burgundy to pink with sequin, shine and suede for different texture
Inspiration with color in different depths and hues
This outfit is a loose interpretation of a monochromatic look. It uses pattern and texture and just different shades of the gray palette. Akoya pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source (inner necklace)
Denim-on-denim monochromatic look working with different washes (all wona), wooden watch c/o Jord
Example of outfit using all shades between white and black
Example of desaturated patterns with different texture
Inspiration with different texture (suede, cotton fabric, knit, pony hair), same color (Army green) and accessories
When you liked the post tweet these tips how to look effortlessly chic in a monochromatic outfit to your best female friend. Then she owes you. 😉
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?
You can find previous issues of this Ageless Style series in the Archive under Series or by searching for the tag Ageless Style.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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