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Woman on her phone at Olympus Cape House in Jacksonville, Florida



Looking to make a statement? Monochromatic outfits stand out because of how they build a look around a single base color. They work in any style, and it’s easy to pull off – once you know the basics. So whether you want to update your wardrobe or just want to play around with what you have at home, here are a few tips to help get you started.

Start With Shades

To keep your monochromatic outfit from looking too uniform, incorporate a variety of shades from your base color. For example, if blue is your base, combine a navy pair of jeans with a light blue T-shirt. Not only do color shades add variation to your wardrobe, they’re also interchangeable in a monochrome outfit! Mixing and matching is easy when you already know ahead of time that the colors go together.

Layer Up

One of the challenges you’ll face when putting together a monochromatic outfit is, obviously, the lack of color options. That’s why layering is your friend. Simply throwing on a jacket or pulling on a pair of shorts over leggings adds depth and dimension. Layers give you the opportunity to experiment with distinct shapes and silhouettes. A tight black pleather jacket will bring a totally different shape and impression than a long, hooded cardigan of the same color.

Play With Fabrics, Textures & Patterns

An easy way to introduce some variety is using patterns and prints. You can keep these simple – stripes or polka dots – or go for something a little more daring like floral or paisley. If you’re not into crazy prints and patterns, no problem! You can still breathe life into an ensemble through strategic selection of fabrics and textures. Instead of a denim jacket, try corduroy. If it’s within your budget, swap out a cotton turtleneck for a woven cashmere one. The more you experiment, the more you’ll understand how shapes, fabrics, and patterns play a role in your personal aesthetic.


It’s all in the details. Bracelets, rings, earrings, watches, necklaces, bandanas, ties, pocket squares, sunglasses – you have a lot of options. Each item says something about your presentation, so play around and see what resonates with you. You can also use your accessories to bring a small, unexpected splash of color to your otherwise monochrome look. A color wheel can help you find complementary colors.

Make a Statement

Statement pieces add drama. Picture an all-black outfit with a hot pink beret and you’ll get the idea. That isn’t to say your statement piece has to be colorful, it’s just the first thing people will notice about your outfit. A monochromatic outfit can help you draw even more attention to one of your favorite items. Highlight what you love!

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