How to Achieve Monochromatic Style

A woman featured in The Scout Guide wearing a stylish lavender cardigan over a matching skirt, accessorized with a gold necklace and rings, embodies a look of casual elegance.
Cashmere Set by Zenzee.

The monochromatic style of tone-on-tone dressing is trending again. Elegant, timeless, and universally flattering, adopting ensembles that feature one hue is a wonderful way to play with silhouette, texture, and pattern. Here, three Scouted fashion experts explain how to nail a monochromatic style aesthetic that’ll turn heads this season and beyond.

1.

Try Different Shades of the Same Color

Zenzee linen cargo skirt / cobalt + white
Linen Cargo Skirt & Cashmere Set by Zenzee.

When it comes to dressing monochromatically, Kelly Blackburn, owner of Nines Apparel in Midland, Texas, wants to dispel the misconception that your entire ensemble has to be the exact same color. Instead, she suggests opting for similar hues to open up your options and add immediate visual interest to your outfit.


2.

Avoid Matching Shoes and Accessories

Nines Apparel NADEL TOP IN CALICO
Brochu Walker Nadel Top & Cabas Skirt from Nines Apparel.

While monochromatic style’s magic lies in its simplicity, Blackburn notes you should avoid taking it too far by matching your shoes and accessories. “If you’re wearing all white, carry a different colored bag and shoes,” she says. “Opting for more white could end up making the look fall flat.” Accessories are also a great way to take your look from day to night. “I often travel in monochromatic sets with sneakers and a denim jacket. Once I’ve reached my destination I change into platforms and a blazer for an evening-appropriate look.”


3.

Pattern adds dimension

Zenzee Tie-Die Cashmere Set
Cashmere Tie Dye Set by Zenzee.

While the focus is on one color, don’t be afraid to incorporate patterns like stripes, checks, or polka dots for added dimension. Sharon Backurz, founder and designer of Zenzee in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah, notes that one of her favorite ways to rock monochromatic patterns is with a fun tie-dye print.


4.

consider proportions

Capsule FIFTEEN TWENTY HIGH WAISTED LINEN PANTS
Fifteen Twenty Linen Set from Capsule.

Maura Conine, owner and buyer of Capsule in Cincinnati, Ohio, urges customers to keep proportions in mind when putting together a monochromatic look. “Universally, the most flattering ratio is 1/3 on top and 2/3 on the bottom.” This ratio is a great way to create a visually elongated silhouette. While this rule can be a great guideline to start with, you should feel comfortable playing with proportion to see what works best for your individual body type.


5.

Build a Capsule Wardrobe

Zenzee cashmere pant w/ fringe / black
Cashmere Fringe Pant by Zenzee.

Dressing with monochromatic style has many benefits, including aiding in the ultimate cool girl fashion hack, creating a capsule wardrobe or a smaller, edited collection of clothing pieces that are versatile and complimentary. “Not only will the monochromatic pieces work well together, but they give you the option of breaking them apart to create new and fresh looks,” Conine says. Stylish outfit options without the stress? Capsule wardrobe here we come.


6.

incorporate texture

Zenzee cashmere 3 piece set / lavender
Cashmere Set by Zenzee.

Texture is a surefire way to add depth to a monochromatic ensemble. Backurz suggests layering pieces of varying lengths and textures like a knit cardigan over a satin blouse or a linen blazer over a cotton dress for a stylish finish.

Nines Apparel appears in The Scout Guide West Texas. Capsule appears in The Scout Guide Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Zenzee appears in The Scout Guide Park City.