A very “fashiony” term for a simple idea – tonal style means to wear the same color head to toe. In recent times this has landed on the style map and infiltrated the mainstream thanks to the likes of KKW, who regularly dons a muted, neutral tonal look, proving how chic and flattering it can be when done right.
Mixing a muted color palette is the foundation for a good wardrobe - using a variation of tones that work well together provides endless options for styling. White, grey, nude and black are the key players in the game but adding soft accent shades is also a great way to keep things interesting. I’ve featured Cool blue and grey/violet in a lot of my outfits this season. Tonal dressing is all about balance and creating levels of color depth to add dimension.
Texture – head-to-toe one-tone need not be boring, spice it up with textural fabrics! Mixing a suede with a cotton, a leather with a silk, embroidery with denim, lace with satin; whatever contrast you can come up with will do the trick.
Proportion – to avoid a bland and stale look, consider a statement shape and style back with a streamlined piece. A billowy sleeve, an oversized coat, an asymmetrical hem, wide leg pant or flared midi skirt can all work to inject drama into an otherwise flat look. Try ensuring the statement piece is of a lighter tone than the streamlined piece. For example, a camel oversized coat with a chocolate brown skinny pant, or a coral midi skirt with a plum turtle neck. Lighter tones create space while darker tones streamline, so dress accordingly to push the point with the feature piece.
Layer – dressing in varying shades invites you to get creative with layering. Consider the impact of a black sheer stocking, black leather mini dress, black metallic waist belt and black suede trench. The layered elements, lengths and fabrics create instant wow despite being all black. Try a white lace midi dress, white cropped linen blazer, white patent ankle boot and white metallic clutch – flat color but a complex and beautiful mix. Layering an eclectic mix is what makes tonal dressing work, the sky is the limit.
Kimberley is a fashion blogger, stylist, and creative consultant based in Canberra, Australia. She is passionate about the creativity of fashion and helping people find confidence through style. Her experience in the industry spans over a decade and she aims to draw upon her knowledge and acquired skills to help others access the joy of self-expression through style. She is active on her blog, www.thestyleside.net as well as on her Instagram profile @the_style_side.