*What can I say, we both love fashion and Lord of the Rings¸ so when an opportunity arises to combine the two, then by goodness, we are going to do it. 

I have always been a big believer in monochromatic or tonal dressing. From cozy neutrals to head-to-toe emerald green, this is one style formula that always makes me feel powerful and put together. It is an easy outfit formula to play with using the clothes in your closet. No need to buy anything new, just look for all the similar toned clothing in your closet and start having fun! Not only is this go-to formula dressing at its best, it also slims and elongates any body type (so much yes in one lewk!). 

When discussing this post with Ellen, I was surprised to find that she hasn’t always been a fan of this look. She equated it with her lazy day dressing where she threw on yoga pants, tee shirt, and hoodie in all black, which left her feeling the opposite of powerful and put together (she described this look as “dressed in the dark,” or “please don’t let me see anyone I know”). Many people think that monochromatic means all black and all black only when it is open to all the colors in the 64 pack Crayola box. It also does not have to be just a shirt and pants (or hoodie and yoga pants…). Think dress, cardigan, and OTK boots in rich chocolate browns or a blouse, blazer and skirt in beautiful shades of blue. The possibilities are endless. And while I made have made a misstep or two while perfecting this look, the following are my best practices for mastering this style: 

The Colors Need to Go, Not Match. I wish I could take credit for this one, but I am stealing in from Stacy and Clinton of our beloved, What Not to Wear. While they were mainly talking about no longer needing to have a perfectly matched shoes and purse, I use it to help put together outfits in varying shades of the same color. 

Texture and Pattern are Your Friends. They also help bridge the gap when the colors are off slightly (and unless you buy a two-piece set, the colors are usually off slightly). Not only does this add visual interest to what could be a boring outfit, it also makes the different tones look intentional vs. “dressed in the dark.” 

Elevate your “Lower-end” Pieces. Monochromatic dressing is one of the easiest ways to incorporate high-low fashion into the mix. Pairing a thrifted pair of vintage trousers with a cashmere sweater instantly elevates the entire look. Ellen’s mint green outfit is a great example. The sweater was a Goodwill find and the skirt is by Stine Goya and it is from Shopbop. But if you didn’t know which was which, could you tell? 

Play with Proportion. A tight turtleneck tucked into a voluminous pair of high-waist trousers all in beautiful shades of lavender? Yes, please.  

Have Fun with Layers. Adding a blazer, cardigan, tights, a scarf, etc. all in your color de jour to your outfit will just add more visual interest as well.    

Play with Color. As counterintuitive as this may sound, this is a great way to include a pop of color into your outfit. I am partial to adding an unexpected color in either my purse or shoes (but not both). 

Tell us. Are you a fan of this look?

Images by Breezy Ritter