How to Dress and Style Monochromatic Outfits

Behind the Design

What is Monochromatic?

Monochromatic outfits are ensembles based around a single color choice. It's an effortless way to create a classic, streamlined look or draw emphasis to a specific feature or accessory. Monochromatic styles give you a single line from head to toe, lending the impression of a taller, slimmer silhouette.

The style can be broken down into two essential categories – outfits that use a single color and those that feature a collection of pieces in different tones of the same color palette. Each maintains the signature elegance of the trend while highlighting different aspects of your wardrobe.

Pre-Fall 2019 Milano Knit setPre-Fall 2019 Milano Knit set

The Single-Color Look

The single-color look is the most classic and simple version of monochromatic fashion. It consists of a small selection of perfectly matched pieces, creating a clean and polished look. This style is best when you have one feature piece that you want to highlight, like a classic knit dress or sleek bodysuit. The minimalist look keeps your outfit from feeling over-styled and creates an elegant, streamlined figure perfect for pairing with simple heels and a matching handbag. 

Multi-Tone Outfits

Mixing and matching tones within a color palette lends depth to your outfit, creating a modern look with classic poise. Color blocking varying shades, tones, and tints of the same hue can be an effective way to highlight your silhouette. Lighter colors tend to draw the eye so you can use accent pieces to focus attention on your best features

Choosing Your Palette

When selecting your monochromatic color scheme, choose a color that complements your skin tone as well as your style. If you're new to monochromatic styling, start with classic neutrals, like navy and khaki, to give your ensemble a simple elegance. 

Soft tan and gentle gray colors bring out the subtleties of a paler complexion, while white and black create an elegant contrast against a darker skin tone. Once you're comfortable with neutral monochromatic outfits, explore more bold colors for a refined style statement.

Tip: Avoid creating a color scheme around prints, as this can look busy and clash with the subtlety of the monochromatic design. Keep larger pieces solid, and save prints for smaller accessories.

Chevron Rib Knit Fine Gauge Sweater

Shimmering Textured Tweed Jacket

Mixing Textures

Create depth and character in a monochromatic look by mixing textures within your palette. Begin with a classic fitted base, then layer a knit sweater or tailored leather jacket overtop. Explore combinations like woven and knit, viscose and metallic, and silk and suede. 

Tip: Save the bold textures for accent pieces, like shoes, handbags, and scarves. A sequined clutch or metallic details on a pocket can create the perfect pop on an understated monochromatic outfit.  


Put the finishing touches on your ensemble by pairing the perfect accessories. If your outfit mixes multiple tones and textures, keep the accessories simple to avoid overwhelming the design. Select a pair of shoes in a tone you've already used to create a unified look within your ensemble. 

In simple monochromatic outfits, accessories can be the defining feature. This is the time to break from your color palette - if you've created an understated navy ensemble, a pair of crisp white or fresh robin's egg blue shoes can make a striking statement. 

Monochromatic fashion is a timeless choice that's perfectly at home in casual and business settings. Browse luxury knitwear and woven designs from St. John Knits for refined basics and bold statement pieces to create elegant monochromatic ensembles.