One of our favorite tricks for days when we find ourselves standing in front of our closet thinking, “I literally cannot even right now,” is to just pick one color and run with it. Monochromatic outfits are an easy way to look incredibly chic and pulled together, even on days when you can barely put two and two together. The best part is that it doesn’t much matter what color you choose—classic black, luxe caramel brown, Barbie pink, Bottega Veneta green. So long as all (or at least the vast majority) the elements of your look are the same singular hue, you’re guaranteed to look supremely stylish. Below, fabulous monochromatic outfits to bookmark now and wear all year round, with our best tips on how to get the most out of each ensemble.
1. Use Multiple Types of Fabrics When Wearing Black
Wearing head-to-toe black can be incredibly chic, but it also runs the risk of creating a black hole into which your figure disappears entirely. By including fabrics with a mix of finishes—shiny silk, washed denim, matte leather, textured linen, etc.—you’ll have a much easier time defining your waist (or playing up/down whatever other features you like) without needing to add any other colors.
2. Use Layers to Add Depth
We get that the point of a monochromatic outfit is to be one note, in a sense, but we also don’t want our ensembles to be boring. Layering on a matching jacket or cardigan or even an open button-up shirt adds depth while maintaining the singular color theme.
3. Mix and Match Different Textures
Another way to add depth to your ensemble is with a mix of differing textures. This can be ribbed knits with smooth wool, sequins with lightweight silk or even rough linen with leather.
4. You Don’t Need to Be Super Strict About Exact Matches
Even if your top would be described as buttercup yellow and your pants as sunflower, with a mustard-hued bag to boot, wearing all solid shades of yellow will look just as chic as a truly matching set. If you’re really unsure whether two shades work together, consider whether they have a cool or warm base. Then try mixing only warm shades or only cool shades.
5. You Can’t Go Wrong with a Classic Suit
Perhaps the most classic of the monochrome ensembles, a blazer and matching trousers can be worn to the office, to dinner, to cocktail parties and even to run errands on the weekend, so long as you know how to style it. Seriously, a colorful suit works for just about any occasion, with the added bonus that the individual pieces can be worn with lots of other wardrobe staples as well. Sounds like a no-brainer kind of investment, in our opinion.
6. Use Slim Silhouettes in Dark Colors to Elongate Your Frame
Opting for a straight-leg trouser and crewneck sweater, tucked in at the waist, instead of oversize silhouettes like wide-leg pants or a boyfriend-style button-up, in one single color can help make you appear much taller than you actually are. Even better if you throw in some pointy-toe shoes in the same shade. It essentially creates one thin line from your head all the way down to your toes, maximizing whatever height you do have. One thing to keep in mind, however: Ensure either your top or bottom has some give to the silhouette to keep your proportions in check. Pairing leggings with a spandex top will leave you looking like you’re dressed in costume as Sandy from Grease.
7. Match Your Shoes to Your Shorts or Miniskirt
We love a good mini for hot summer days, but thigh-baring hemlines tend to cut the lengthening effects of a monochrome ‘fit short, no pun intended. Incorporating a matching shoe, especially one that is more substantial, like an ankle boot or chunky sneaker, carries that color all the way along your frame, once again making you appear taller.
8. Don’t Forget About Your Makeup
Dressing in monochrome style isn’t limited to just your clothing. Adding a bright red lip or vibrant blue eyeliner is a great way to amp up the color of your ‘fit in a subtle but impactful way.
9. Treat Silver Like Gray (and Vice Versa)
Gold can sometimes be harder to match—is it more of a yellow? An orange? But silver and gray will always look chic together and give the same monochromatic vibes as pairing two true grays. Our tip for making metallics work for day? Try wearing them with much more casual pieces, like a sweatshirt, sneakers or loose denim, to tone down silver’s inherent evening-ready feel.
10. Don’t Discount Graphic Tops
Don’t worry if your T-shirt or sweater features a graphic in a contrasting hue. So long as the background color is the same as your pants or skirt, you will still fit the monochrome trend. Of course, the bigger and more colorful the graphic, the more it will stand out from the rest of your outfit, but we’ll let you decide whether that fits your target aesthetic or not.
11. Same Goes for (Some) Prints
Note, this style tip comes with a substantial asterisk: A print that features multiple shades of one color, like the blue pants above, can still give the same feeling as a solid monochrome outfit. But a print that incorporates even two colors (say, if the above pants had a splash of green every now and then), they’ll no longer feel congruous with your solid-colored pieces. It’s not that a multi-colored print wouldn’t look cute with a matching blazer-and-heels set, it’s simply that it would no longer fit the goal of a monochrome ‘fit.
12. Don’t Limit Yourself to Only Classic Top-and-Bottom Duos
A good monochrome look need not be comprised solely of shirts with pants or skirts. You can also layer a cardigan over a midi dress or a trench coat over a jumpsuit. Basically any combination of clothing of the same color, be it two pieces, three or even four, can be used to create a stylish monochrome ensemble.
13. Use a Belt to Break Up Dark Hues
So, you found a deep navy top with matching pants you absolutely adore, but when you put it on you feel a bit too much like you’re sporting PJs? The solution is, luckily, very simple: Add a belt with a contrasting buckle. Even better if that belt material is also navy blue, but a black or dark brown style will also work. The important thing is to choose a belt buckle that stands out. That doesn’t necessitate it be large, ornate or vibrant—so long as it pops against the rest of your look, it’ll do the trick.
14. Look for Coordinating Sweater Sets
A matching set it, obviously, the easiest way to kick off a monochrome outfit. But a textured knit feels less expected than a wool suit or cotton button-up and trousers. And while these cozy knits can sometimes feel a bit casual, all you need to elevate your look is a sleek handbag and some coordinating heels.
15. When in Doubt, Reach for Denim
Layering a blue-wash jacket over blue-wash jeans, even if they’re not an exact match, is one of our favorite go-to outfit pairings. Of course, you can also try this with black, white or gray wash denim. So long as the two pieces are reasonably close in color, it will look chic and easy.
16. Opt for a One-and-Done Jumpsuit
Take all the guesswork out of trying to pair the right shirt with the right bottom and sport a solid-colored jumpsuit instead. Then, all you need to complete your ‘fit are some coordinating accessories and voilà! Monochromatic dressing made easy.
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By Abdul RasoolRecommended1 recommendationPublished in