How to Master Tonal Dressing Like You Know What You're Doing

What is the easiest way to look polished and pulled together this season? Just one scroll through your favorite fashion muses on Instagram, and the answer will be very clear: Tonal dressing, that is dressing from head-to-toe in multiple shades of the same color or sporting the same hue from top to bottom—is having a major moment right now and the fashion crowd can’t seem to get enough. 

There is something incredibly cool about donning various pieces of the same shade. The look emanates subtle sartorial confidence. When done right, this popular dressing tactic can make an outfit look luxurious, elegant, and refined in an effortlessly chic way. The recent fall 2019 runway shows confirmed the staying power of monochromatic dressing with designers such as Max Mara and Sally LaPointe giving us a master class on how to work the striking look in a variety of colors.

While on paper tonal dressing may sound easy enough, there are definitely tricks to pulling off the trend and making it look fashion-forward. Scroll below for our tips on how to master tonal dressing like you know what you’re doing.

1. Mix Different Textures

One of the key elements to tonal dressing is to keep the look visually interesting by mixing different textures, patterns, fabrics, and finishes within your outfit. This will add contrast and depth to your overall look. Think a silk skirt combined with faux-fur and mock-croc boots, or a leather skirt and a mohair sweater.

2. Play With Varying Shades of the Same Hue

To prevent your outfit from looking too one dimensional, play with various tints, tones, and shades of the same color. For example, a head-to-toe beige look can be broken up with varying shades of toffee, camel, cream, and ecru. 

3. Use Accessories to Break It Up

A handbag, a belt or a pair of shoes in a contrasting color is the perfect touch to break up a monochromatic outfit and will only add to the overall impact of the look.

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4. Invest in Tailoring

An easy way to nail the trend is with tailoring—think a matching jacket and pants styled with a tee or sweater in a similar tone.

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5. Play With Layering and Lengths

Experiment with layers, length, shape, and volume to add interest and dimension to your single hued-outfit. For example, layer a sweater over another sweater of the same hue (a fashion girl–approved trick), or combine long and loose pants with shorter drapey scarves and tops.

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6. Have a Neutral Backup

While the idea is dressing head to toe in the same color, this doesn't necessarily need to be throughout the entire look. Try counterbalancing bolder colors with a neutral gray, camel, or just a simple white tee. It adds subtle contrast and pulls together a monochromatic look.

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7. Incorporate Metallics

Shimmery metallics are a great way to break up a monochromatic outfit. A metallic bag or a pair or shiny boots are an easy option, or go for a shimmery item of clothing to create a stunning overall look.