Monochromatic Layering

Monochromatic Layering

Winter is the perfect time for taking advantage of two style basics that, when paired together, give substance to a conventional look in an understated way: Monochromatic Layering.

I think it’s a universal understanding that monochromatic dressing, or wearing pieces all in the same color, is a way to create a slim silhouette. It may sound like a safe but boring way to style an outfit. On the contrary! By using different shades or tones of the same color and by adding texture with layers, your look elevates from humdrum to sophisticated.

A few things to keep in mind with a monochromatic look

Choosing a Color
  • Choose a color that you feel good wearing. Make sure that it complements your hair color and skin tone.
  • Not quite sure about a monochromatic look? Start with a neutral color like gray or brown.
  • Combine varying shades or tones of your theme color, but be sure that the underlying tones coordinate and blend. For example, grays may have undertones of yellow, blue, red, or they can have cool or warm undertones. Make sure the undertones don’t clash with each other.
Incorporate Texture

Mixing textures in your monochromatic look adds dimension, interest, and breaks up a monotone or repetitious feel.

The weight and mixed texture of this cardigan breaks up the sameness of the lighter weight t-shirt and icy gray jeans. The shawl collar and asymmetrical hem create a playfulness to the understatedness of the base outfit.

The suede gray booties also contribute another texture aspect and the silver zippers add a subtle silver-gray accent.

Solids and Prints

When we think of a monochromatic look, we naturally think of a solid color palette. But prints in your theme color work well to add interest while keeping the sophisticated lines.

In this monochromatic layered outfit, I added a scarf with a gray print against a neutral cream background color. It still maintains the gray column of color but adds a bit of playfulness.

About the Phone

Sometimes a photographic prop adds interest. Maybe the phone in these photos fits that category. But apologies for its appearance in just about every photo in this post. The story: Daylight was waning as I was trying to get these photos finished. Just about that time, my vet phoned with an update on my dog’s illness. Both the phone call and the photos were important, and I didn’t have the option of putting off either. The solution? Combine them!

What I’m Wearing in the Post
  • Indigenous Organic + Fair Trade Cardigan (check out the sweaters)
  • Indigenous Organic + Fair Trade Long Sleeve T-Shirt (Indigenous tops)
  • Gap Legging Jeans (purchased a few years ago)
  • Dolce Vita Gray Suede Booties (similar booties below)
  • Gray Print Scarf (purchased a few years ago in Hawaii of all places!)
Fashion Friday with Jo-Lynne Shane

Check out Jo Lynne’s blog for everyday and casual style and her fun Fashion Friday (scroll to the bottom of the post page) where bloggers link some of their favorite posts (including me!).


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