Style by Joanie

dressing monochromatically

Let’s discuss dressing monochromatically! It happens to one of my favorite ways to pull together an outfit and I find it to be very chic. I love to layer lots of white/creams together (as you can see in the photo below), or a tonal blue outfit with navy pants and a light blue sweater, a soft pink paired with a brighter one. I think there is some confusion as to how it’s done and if the idea is to pair the same exact shades of a color together. Which does work, but unless you bought the pieces as a set you will have a hard time finding an exact match. To me, it’s more fun to lean into the shades of a color. I like to match the undertones, so if a red is warm (leans orange) I wouldn’t pair if with a cool tone (that has a blue feeling to it). If the undertones are the same, they’ll work well together. I’m also pro denim on denim and neutrals on neutrals together like brown and black.

Notice how often these monochrome looks include mixing different textures. For example, a thick pair of denim with a light chambray top is going to work better than thin jeans with that same top. A sleek red leather skirt looks good with a chunky red sweater, thin silk pants looks pretty with a cotton button down shirt, etc.

(This is a post by my sister Joanie! All links are affiliate where applicable.)

Let’s look at a few looks and why they work.

This first one has three shades of white and they are also mixing textures, denim with a t-shirt and some type of linen blazer. I really love pairing a white t-shirt with a pair of cream pants. It feels simple but very pulled together. (photo from J.Crew)

This second one in yellows gives you an instant calm when you look at her and that’s because tonally the outfit makes sense. If you were pulling together a look and laid two items side by side you could tell by looking at them if they worked together. Let your eye lead you. (photo from J.Crew)

One way to rework our wardrobes when we’re getting tired of everything we own is to pull out a piece and pair with something you’ve never worn it with before. We tend to revisit the same looks over and over because it feels comfortable to us. Give yourself a challenge of creating a monochrome look with what’s in your closet, no buying required. You can start with a neutral, like shades of brown (see below) or white.

Meghan Markle often dresses monochromatically. Notice here how her stylist pulled in different textures, a woven top, satin skirt and velvet pumps. Mixing the textures keeps it interesting and keeping it all in the same color family keeps it sophisticated which is crucial for the type of functions she attends.

We’re going to be seeing a lot of these looks this fall. Here are a few I’ve noticed around the web.




#1. Also, note the sweater vest. They’re coming back in a big way.
#2. Always going to be drawn to a green on green look.
#3. Pretty shades of grey.




#4. I know I’ve mentioned this before but H&M really does have great knits and this chunky one is very versatile.
#5. Sweats elevated by wearing them as a matching set.
#6. These pants are a favorite. They run true to classic sizing, which for me is one size bigger than Madewell or J.Crew.




#7. I like the addition of the belt with this look.
#8. Love love love this purple look. Would be perfect for the holidays, a departure from the classic darker color we tend towards in the winter.
#9. Okay and this very ice princess look to end on! I guess my next post should be a satin skirt round up because they’re everywhere and so versatile.

XO, Joanie

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