How to Wear Tone on Tone Colour

It is very easy when wearing all one colour to look matchy-matchy, boring and dowdy.

I use the phrase ‘tone on tone’ to refer to an outfit exactly in the same shade of a single colour. It may be a dress and jacket, pants top and jacket or top and jacket in the same colour shade. For Baby Boomer women matching dresses and jackets are rarely worn now and matching tops and jackets remind us of the out-dated and aging twinsets of our youth.

To Modernise These Clothing Combinations remember and apply these very simple words – ‘contrast and opposites’.

Tone On Tone Outfit - from Oprah magazine, Nov 2012You do this by making one of the pieces an obviously different texture and then adding a statement necklace. The royal blue outfit on the left from Oprah magazine, Nov 2012 demonstrates this perfectly. The model is wearing a smooth-textured wool jacket over a diagonal, uneven-pleated top which creates a raised opposite texture. The contrast is provided by the gold necklace with clear crystal drops in white and blue. The glimpse of tone on tone colour texture underneath the jacket creates a quiet elegant look.


Monochromatic Plum - Simplicity 2148Contrasts and opposites always have two options. The other one is to team a flat surface bottom layer with a same shade of colour, textured jacket. The Simplicity pattern 2148 on the right has a velvet jacket over matt pants and top. Other alternative textures are lace, sheer, blingy or a hand-made wool look. Even with a casual outfit, a contrasting necklace would lift this look from interesting to stylish.

The principle of ‘contrast and opposites’ is a basic principle of stylish dressing. So try both or stick to the option you prefer.


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