Mastering the Art of Tonal Dressing
We’ve explored a couple of styling techniques here but tonal dressing takes the cake as our favorite by far. It’s the lazy girl’s hack to being well-dressed with minimal effort. If you remember the hot colorblocking trend in the ‘00s, this takes a similar but modernized approach. Instead of creating an ensemble with multiple colors, it takes advantage of one hue in several shades of the same family from head to toe.
The beauty of this comes with convenience in shopping too. Take a look at your existing wardrobe and build based on the colors you already love. It’s even easier if you’re someone who likes to keep a neutral or earthy palette. This trick could be another variation of minimalist dressing for those who like it simple but want to veer away or do something different from the conventional black and white.
The essence of tonal dressing is essentially—when in doubt, select a nearby hue.
You’ll soon find yourself able to create tone combinations and outfit formulas that will not only make getting ready fun but also eliminates all the dilemmas in assembling a look each time. Best of all, it lets you get creative.
Get ready to take down notes. Here are our pro tips to get you on your way to exploring—and mastering—the art of tonal dressing.
Find Similar Shades
While monochromatic dressing is cool and all, darker tones especially can make an outfit look bland and one-dimensional. Play it up and create variation with different tints, tones, and shades of the same color. If you’re wearing all brown, find light and dark pieces such as cream, ecru, and chocolate. This works well when it comes to tailoring too. Trade your black, white, or navy suits for earthy and pastel combinations to keep the eye intrigued.
Pieces to Pair:
- Top off your fall layers with the Suede Lace Up Detailed Moto Jacket. A cropped silhouette allows your other pieces to stand out while still keeping you warm.
- Keep it tailored yet shapely with a paperbag waist pant like the H Halston Hem Slit Skinny Pant.
Mix Your Textures
Add contrast and depth by choosing various fabric textures to mix with the look. Satin skirts, faux-fur trims, chiffon tops, or croc bags provide visual interest by providing a highlight to a similarly-hued ensemble. Think of how an all-black outfit looks more exciting with a glossy leather jacket or a fluffy mohair sweater. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of patterns too to break the solid colors stylishly.
- Whether it’s for staying active or a casual day, add a velvety texture with a pair like the Roz & Ali Tummy Control Faux Suede leggings.
- Finish the outfit with an ornamental accessory courtesy of the studded Betty Shoulder Bag.
Tone Down, Play Up
In a world full of elaborate layers, sometimes simplicity is what makes the statement. Explore the beauty understated elegance by dialing down your colors and showing off your style with modern shapes. Be on the hunt for wardrobe heroes like a colorblocked oversized shirt and belted shorts or create an illusion of length with a flared pant and a coordinating silk blouse for the office. It’s all about playing with silhouettes—no need for extras.
- Casual Fridays are a breeze with pants like the Signature 5 Pocket Bootcut Jean with an elongating flare that only needs to be complemented with a simple top.
- The styling possibilities are endless when it comes to an elegant statement piece like the Iza Maya Wrap Skirt. Throw on a puff-sleeve and go!
Breaking up is hard—but not when it helps your outfit. Use the power of accessorizing to create variation in your look, especially if the shades are very similar to each other in terms of lightness. When wearing white, pick a buckle or waist belt to put on a dress or trousers to build emphasis and highlight the monochromatic palette. This work particularly well with white or other light shades. Not a fan of belts? A contrastingly colored shoe can make an impact the same way.
- Keep it simple and sleek with a minimal silver buckle on black leather like the Lulu Belt to give trousers a tailored look.
- Build your ensemble based on a shoe like the Celeste Ankle Boot. Use the two-tone palette to do a tonal scheme of black plus varying shades of brown.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Complex
In the same vein as the previous “play up” tip above, don’t think that tonal dressing requires lots of pieces. Sometimes, less is more and allows for the select shades that you pick to stand out. One way to dress simpler is to pick out detailed pieces or ones with interesting silhouettes. Examples of these are asymmetrical pants, pleated skirts, or voluminous puff-sleeved tops. From there, utilize your basics and build around your highlight piece.
- Layering is even better with a great base. The Pleated Puff Sleeve Top is wearable under shearling outerwear sporting a close cream shade. A vest version is perfect with it too to show off the sleeves’ volume.
- An outfit doesn’t need overthinking with a piece like the Arden Trench. Opt to follow the nude palette or make it more monochromatic with black or white to let the coat stand out.
Simple and Stylish
Dressing well needs no complication. Finding styling techniques and practicing them can make a big difference to your everyday. Most of all, it helps you radiate more sartorial confidence. Keep exploring tricks, suit them to your style, and utilize your existing pieces as much as you can. Being able to build from what you already love allows for a wardrobe that doesn’t answer to trends or seasons—and will be timelessly fashionable for a long time.