How to do Tonal Dressing

Tonal Dressing

Tonal dressing is the easiest way to create a luxe and elegant look without having to think too much about it. Tonal dressing is the art of dressing from top to toe in one single colour, or varying shades of the same colour.

As well as making you looked polished and put-together, tonal dressing has an elongating effect. The one colour from top to toe gives the illusion of being taller and more elegant.

And adhering to a single colour exudes sartorial confidence. And I’m not talking about sticking to the safety of an all-black outfit. It’s time to start thinking seriously about colour. If you’re not feeling your best, that confidence that comes from a well-put together outfit will change that quick smart.

Whether you’re au fait with tonal dressing or not, here are six tips to help you play around with what you already have in your wardrobe and find some fabulous outfit combinations you haven’t tried before.

1. Texture is key

To make your monochromatic ensemble interesting, mix in different textures. This will prevent your look from coming across as too one-dimensional. A cable knit wool sweater with a silk or satin skirt of the same or similar tone provides a luxurious contrast. Then add leather or a stiff trench coat by way of further contrast.


2. Try different tones

Try combining different tones of the same colour. For instance, a trouser suit in a classic blue, with an icy blue-white shirt and a navy trench over it. Play around with darker and lighter versions of the same colour.

3.  Mix in tonal prints

Mixing in prints are dominantly of the same colour as the rest of your outfit can have a powerful effect. This is most effective with animal print when combined with camel-coloured pieces of the same tone as the print.

4.  Use accessories as accents

A bright or contrasting accessory here and there adds interest and personality. And this might be a way to start tonal dressing for anyone feeling uncomfortable with it at first. A belt in a clashing colour can break up the colour and highlight your waist. A strategically contrasting coloured shoe, bag or scarf can also enhance the outfit without ruining the overall effect.

5.  Inject a neutral

If you don’t want to stand out in a monochromatic look in a loud colour, tone it down with a neutral piece. For example, head to toe red can be toned down with a camel piece layered underneath.  Blend a neutral merino knit with a sage green suit. And a white t-shirt under a pink suit can break things up perfectly.

6. Choose colours that suit your skin tone

There's no point dressing all in one colour if it doesn't suit your skin tone. The right colours will make all the difference: they can make you look healthier and fresher, your eyes brighter and your skin more radiant.  If you don't want to do a colour analysis, the easiest way is to sit in front of a mirror, or an honest friend, and hold up something orange under your face. Then hold up something blue under your face. You should be able to tell which one suits you better. You probably already instinctively gravitate towards your colours anyway. If blue suited you better, choose cool colours that have a blue base to them (like cool pinks, purples, greens). If orange suited you better, choose warm colours that have a yellow base to them (earthy tones like browns, coral pinks, khaki, orange, turquoise).

I can work with you to identify tonal combinations in your wardrobe with a Wardrobe Workout consultation, either at your home (if you are in or around London) or virtually via video call. Click the link below to enquire.



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