Have you ever been walking down the street and suddenly, from a distance, someone’s outfit catches your eye? Well, one of the reasons that likely happened was due to their clever use of color. This is because the human eye is very receptive to certain color combinations and our eyes find them naturally pleasing. So let’s talk about color schemes because they are an easy way to elevate your outfit and are a key component of what begins to set apart a person with a great sense of style from someone who, once in a while, happens to accidentally create a decent outfit. In this post, I will be discussing only the monochromatic color scheme. This will be the first post in a series of many where I will be looking at a variety of color schemes, so make sure to check back in regularly to learn more about smart use of color in your clothes!
First, let’s clarify a few terms and words. What is monochrome? Monochrome means “one color” but another popular definition is that it is a color scheme revolving around varying tints and shades of the same color. What do we mean by tints and shades? Tints are lighter variations of a color and shades are a darker variation of a color.
Why does monochrome work so well? The beauty of using monochromatic color schemes in your outfits is that it’s simple to put together, it makes your look pop, and it guarantees a sense of cohesion. Despite the repetition of a single color, the different tints and shades from one piece of clothing to another allows each to stand out and you avoid becoming a walking wall of a color swatch.
What are some key points to remember when creating a monochromatic outfit? Monochromatic color schemes typically use 3 to 7 variations for a single-color palette, so don’t be afraid to use several different tints and shades of your designated color. In addition, utilizing varying characteristics in fabrics such as texture, type of weave, and weight help give your look depth and dimension.
Now, let’s look at some examples. In this monochromatic look from Loro Piana, we have a darker shade of a turquoise on the bomber jacket. With the bomber jacket made in a tech fabric for water repellent and wind resistant qualities, it has a glossier look which sets it apart from the rest of the pieces. Layered underneath that, we have a zip collar shirt in a lighter tint of turquoise. And for the bottoms, the knit trousers have the darkest shade of turquoise. Since knit fabrics inherently reflect less light, it gives a matte quality and creates contrast against the bomber jacket and zip collar shirt.
Image credit: Loro Piana
Here we have another monochromatic look from Loro Piana in a rich, seasonal burgundy appropriate for fall/winter. The blazer is certainly the dominant piece of the outfit, so with it being the darkest shade of burgundy out of the three pieces, it helps the blazer stay understated. In turn, this allows the other pieces of the outfit to come forward a little in the spotlight. Underneath the blazer, we have a lighter burgundy tint on the long sleeve polo shirt. Again, because the long sleeve polo shirt is knit, it creates a difference in texture and color against the blazer. Last but not least, the trousers’ shade of burgundy – almost a wine color – is somewhere in between that of the polo shirt and the blazer, making it an excellent complimentary piece to the overall outfit. Altogether, the darker, differing shades of burgundy keep the look refined and sophisticated.
Image credit: Loro Piana
Consider the above examples an introductory course to the monochromatic outfit. With this introductory information, you can continue the course on monochromatic outfits by taking notes from your favorite celebrities whose styles inspire you the most; your consistently stylish colleague at work; or the next person whose outfit catches your eye while you’re walking to your favorite coffee shop. But don’t stop there, it is important to practice with different pieces in your closet. Remember to not only combine distinct tints and shades of your chosen color, but also varied textures, types of weave, fabric weight – and any characteristic of clothing that makes it unique from the rest. If you realize you need a certain piece in a certain color to take your monochromatic outfit to the next level, we are always happy to help and provide further styling advice at any of our Klein Epstein & Parker locations. Till then, I look forward to seeing you all and your monochromatic outfits illuminating the streets in color!