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Hinge leather jacket, Brooks Brothers cashmere sweater, Native American made carved gemstone necklace, Eddie Bauer tweet skirt (all own)

Many neutral and monochromatic looks gain from a pop of color. However, an outfit in colors without saturation is a different beast. This post explains the stylying concept of a look without color.

  1. Monochromatic looks win with a pop of color …
  2. What are desaturated looks?
  3. Black with Blush Is a Classic Desaturated Look
  4. Black and white are a classic
  5. Best desaturated color combinations
  6. Desaturated prints are a statement on their own
  7. Prints in colors without saturation are easy to mix
  8. In summary

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.

Monochromatic looks win with a pop of color …

…. but desaturated outfits? I am always in favor to add a pop of color for interest and to brighten up a gray or rainy fall day with two exceptions: Wearing black with blush or black and white together. These two color combinations are already themselves a statement. They do not need a pop of color. Or as a stylist would say …

That accent would compete for attention!

 post logo desaturated look showing a ballerina


What Are Desaturated Looks?

The term refers to outfits that lack color. Every look that uses all kinds of gray starting with white to black on the other end. There may be also a very light pink, blush, baby pink in the mix. As so often a picture saves a thousand words. So take a look at the following examples.

Nicole in leather suit and animal print blush, black and white

#midlifestyle mature woman in black and white outfit with leather skirt and animal print sweater

advancedstyle mature woman with animal print tee and leather skirt
3/4 sleeve zebra print v-neck Tee c/o Covered perfectly with own Sienna Studio leather skirt, dagwood flower bead necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, GNW tight, and Harley Davidson booties


See? The look lacks colors. In the example below, gray and different tints of pink are used. Thus, the concept is not limited to BW.

style book author in desatured gary-pink outfitof sweater, jacket, tights, skirt and boots
Outfit details: Hinge blush pink quilted leather jacket, Brooke Brothers pink mock turtleneck cashmere sweater, Eddie Bauer tweed skirt, GNW tights, Vince Camuto suede boots, 3.1 Philip Lim bag and carved stone necklace (all own)

Think mono-chromatic – pair different hues.

The three different hues of pink work together as they are grounded by the gray tweed skirt, and gray tights. Thus, the idea of this look is to use two monochromatic palettes in one outfit to create interest. The necklace has different hues of pink and gray and ties the outfit together. The necklace is a gift from my husband. For more on how to style chic monochromatic looks in the guide at the link.


Black with Blush is a Classic Desaturated Look

Another great desaturated combination is black with blush (see photo below). It has such a nice tension sort of soft and innocent vs. strong and dark. Like the Beauty and the Beast. It’s a ballroom or ballet classic. The male black suit and the female blush tulle skirted leotard and ballet shoes. When you pair these colors in one outfit, you get the stage dramatic tension of Romeo and Juliet instantly. Recall in these performances. There are no other colors – for a reason.

Never add a pop of color to a desaturated outfit. #styletip Click To Tweet

Of course, one has to make sure that a desaturated outfit in all neutral colors keeps interesting. See the post at the link for a guide.

example of black sweater and blush pink skirt desaturated look
Black Anne Klein cashmere sweater, Via Spiga blush slingback kitten heels, collier de chien belt, Madonna Dolce&Gabbanna sunglasses, Hermes H-bangle, Hermes collier de chien bangle, native mother-of-pearl and onyx inlay watch (all own), white jade and black onyx statement necklace c/o Almo Jewellery and layered mesh skirt c/o Lookbook Store.


Black and white are a classic

This color combination builds on the biggest contrast between dark and light. Like day and night. The black and white combination can go from very professional to very dramatic depending on the cut and pattern. Black and white has been a trend as long as I can think off. It meanwhile is a Go-to rather than a trend. Therefore, I devoted an entire guide to how to style the black and white trend. Actually, there is even a long fashion history of dressing in black and white.

Adding a pop of red to black and white is very risky. One easily ends up in Santa Claus territory.

Stylist’s tip: Keep it just simple: Black-and-white. It is so mysterious!

You can find other examples of when not to add color when when pairing white and winter white for an outfit.

fashion blogger over 50 in blush quilted leather jacket and other desaturated colors top and bottom
Quilted boxy blush leather jacket with blush slingbacks, collier de chain belt, black Anne Klein cashmere sweater, greige Jaeger tote, Dolce and Gabbana Madonna sunglasses (all own), white jade and black onyx statement necklace c/o Almo Jewellery, and layered mesh skirt c/o Lookbook Store


Best desaturated color combinations

Here is a list of other desaturated color combinations.

  • Light pinks with gray or greige or taupe
  • Blush and gray
  • Blush and black
  • Greige and blush
  • Gray and black without or with white (see next photo)
  • Several shades of gray. Actually, you can mix all patterns when they are gray.
  • Beige and black

Stylist’s tip: Never pair beige and gray together. The former will than just look like the piece is dirty.

The next photo is an example of gray, black, and white.

#fashionover40 woman is a posh Christmas outfit
GNW turtleneck sweater, wide self-made statement belt, Max Mara tall boots boots (all own), and skirt c/o Misook


Desaturated prints are a statement on their own

Snowleopard falls into this category. In the 50s, leopard print was for date night and bomshells only. You wouldn’t had worn it to the office, church or any formal occassion. In this decade, leopard print became a classic, a perfect neutral.

influencer in snowleopard top

over 50 years old woman with spotted top standing in a bar

fashion blogger posing in a black, gray and white outfit with leather skirt and animal print top

style blogger in posh casual look with leather skirt, snowleo T-shirt and gray shoes
Outfit details: Snow leopard v-neck modal top c/o Covered Perfectly with own DIY belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Sienna Studio leather skirt, Ecclisse watch bracelet, pantyhose and Clovington ankle strap pumps


Wear this print with a gray, black or white bottom. Add dress pants, skirt, jeans, leggings and even leather pants in these colors. Pair the look with matching shoes, pearls or silver jewelry and you look posh and stylish in no time. Never tried animal print? No worries, see this guide how to style animal print.

over 50 years old woman wearing a mixed prints look with shearling outerwear

Nicole of High Latitude Style doning an all neutral colors casual fall look with snow leo
Outfit details: Snow leopard t-shirt c/o Covered Perfectly styled with own unbranded striped scarf, Oliveo bootcut Italian denim pants, Manelo Blahnik jeans booties, statement rutil-quartz pendant necklace and DIY shearling hoodie made from a Vittari coat

Prints in colors without saturation are easy to mix

The photo inspirations below provides another example that a look without a pop of color has not to be boring. In this example, both layering and mixing prints serve to make the look fly. Learn more on chic layering in this guide.

mature fashion blogger in jeans and top in a posh all neutrals look

style book author Nicole in bootcut jeans with tucked in sweater
Outfit details: Snow leopard T-shirt c/o Covered Perfectly styled with own unbranded striped oblong scarf, Oliveo bootcut jeans, rutil-quartz necklace, Hermes collier de chien bangle, quartz bangle, quartz earrings, statement snake-tail buckle belt and Manelo Blahnik denim booties

In Summary

So-called desaturated outfits are statements on their own. They don’t need a pop of color. Black and white is the easiest combination. Prints in these colors are also the easiest to mix. Layering can make a desaturated look even more stylish.

Photos: G. Kramm

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