A monochromatic look is one of the most effective ways to maximize your wardrobe and enhance your appearance. What it involves is the strategic use of colors within the same tonal range. You see monochromatic schemes in mediums from photography and fine art to home décor and architecture.
But the approach or formula is so subtle and organic that you may not even recognize that it is a well-considered and intentional technique. Once you know how it works, though, you’ll immediately notice it everywhere. Start incorporating it into your signature style and others will notice you, too, in the most flattering ways.
Two Ideas in One
A great way to grasp the monochromatic concept is to break down the word itself into its two main components. “Mono” means singular. Back before the days of stereophonic music, for example, records were recorded in mono, which means you heard one unified sound. Stereo came along, and then it was possible to hear half of the instruments or voices through one speaker, and the rest of the recording through a separate speaker.
Meanwhile, chromatic refers to a range of hues or tones. At home improvement stores paint colors are arranged in a monochromatic fashion. If you’ve ever shopped for white paint, it can be confusingly obvious that white is not just one color, but there are multiple shades or variations of white. Use colors within a particular tonal range together and it makes a visual scheme much more interesting─but in a classically understated and natural way.
You can wear variations on any particular main color when you put together your outfits. That makes is really easy to dress in an attractive way, without standing in front of the mirror trying to figure out what goes with what.
Take a blue suit or blue jeans, for instance. They will always coordinate exquisitely with a blue shirt that’s the same shade or a lighter or darker shade. Throw on a pair of chocolate brown slacks and then a khaki-colored tee shirt and a tan jacket. Wear a different shade of brown dress shoes or boots to complete the look.
But there’s another fantastic reason to use a monochromatic color scheme. Having your whole outfit within the same tonal range makes you look more slender and gives your silhouette a more elegant and graceful line. That’s because the eye glides over your body without any jolting, attention-grabbing disruptions.
Building a Monochromatic Wardrobe
As you can tell, grouping your closet full of random clothes by monochromatic color range is a fast, efficient way to organize an entire wardrobe. You’ll also soon develop an intuitive eye for the monochromatic formula that becomes second nature. Then you can have fun occasionally breaking the rules.
Wear a dark suit, a tonally similar shirt, and then go bold with a belt, shoes, and pocket silk that are a lively contrasting color. That takes mix and match to a whole new and much more versatile, affordable, sustainable level.
That’s why this approach lends itself to a smarter way to shop for clothing, footwear, and accessories. Each time you add an item to your collection, you know it will fit right into an intentional and handsome scheme.