Do It Like the French | How to Master Monochromatic Outfits

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Monochrome fashion (wearing a single color or shade from head to toe) has been around for ages and the French seem to pull it off so effortlessly.

One designer who also depicts it especially well is Max Mara, almost to the point where I associate monochrome dressing with the brand.

While the designer brand has some swoon-worthy pieces, monochrome fashion doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

In fact, it’s often easier to pull together a monochrome look at the thrift stores as they are frequently organized by color. This makes it simple to hone in on your desired shade of green, pink, or purple.

Once you select your color of choice, see what pieces you already have in your closet and make note of those you’d like to add (if any) from the second-hand shops. I was able to put all of these looks together with items already in my wardrobe so perhaps you can too.

Below are four looks to provide some inspiration in addition to tips on how to pull off a monochrome look whether you love vibrant shades or prefer neutral hues.

Styling Tip #1 | Start with your favorite neutral tones

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If you’re not sure where to begin with monochrome, selecting a neutral shade such as khaki, white (this color was especially popular on the spring runways), grey, or navy is an easy place to start, as these hues probably already exist in your wardrobe.

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You can make this neutral look as minimalistic or as complicated as you like by either sticking with a simple shirt and trousers or by adding multiple layers to incorporate various lengths, fabrics, and textures.

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– OUTFIT DETAILS –

BEIGE LOAFERS | By Blanch (similar by Allkind and Will’s Vegan Store)

PURSE | Sans Beast (current styles by Sans Beast)

SUNGLASSES | Max Mara (current styles by Max Mara)

Styling Tip #2 | Experiment with textures, the silhouette & subtle tone changes

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Keep your look interesting by playing with slightly different hues, various textures, and exaggerated silhouettes.

Maybe that means a chunky fisherman knit sweater and quilted coat (as I’ve chosen) or a sequined skirt and puffer jacket.

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When working with such a harmonious color theme, this also gives you the leeway to experiment with a silhouette you’re not used to. Perhaps that’s in the form of balloon sleeves, an extra-large scarf, or oversized pieces.

These extra elements help to add depth and character to a look that might appear rather pedestrian at first glance.

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– OUTFIT DETAILS –

SWEATER | Jan n June (use discount code HARMFREEFASHION5 for 5% off)

SCARF | Jan ‘n June (use discount code HARMFREEFASHION5 for 5% off)

PLATFORM SHOES | Stella McCartney (current styles by Stella McCartney)

PURSE | Gifted Ashoka Paris

Styling Tip #3 | Pay attention to the accessories

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Being mindful of all the little details (from your sunglasses and jewelry to your bag and shoes) ensures your look is monochrome rather than almost monochrome.

While you’ll see monocolor looks that introduce neutrally-colored accessories (and this is absolutely one way to embrace the style), true monochrome is wearing all a single color or shade.

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For me, accessories (especially footwear & purses) are typically the weakest link of my monochrome looks so by assessing what color shoes and pocketbooks you have, that’s a great foundation to build an outfit from.

Red is a great color choice for this because it’s a common shade for women to have purses and footwear in, making it a breeze to put a look together, if you dare.

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– OUTFIT DETAILS –

RED LOAFERS | By Blanch (similar by Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather and Carmona Collection)

PURSE | Angela Roi (current styles by Angela Roi)

Styling Tip #4 | Make a bold statement in a fierce monochromatic look

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Hello, Barbiecore!

Embrace your love for a specific color (I’m currently obsessed with all things pink) by wearing tip to toe in that shade. If you have a vibrantly-colored winter coat that’s a great place to start.

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This is the color palette for those feeling more adventuresome and who love bold statement-making shades such as fuchsia, sunshine yellow, or sunset orange.

These hues allow you to bring dopamine dressing to its pinnacle and capitalize on its ability to brighten your mood and those around you. Who couldn’t use a bit of good mojo these days?

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– OUTFIT DETAILS –

COAT | Noize (current styles by Noize) use code HARMFREEFASHION for 15% off

Final Thoughts

The possibilities with monochrome fashion are seemingly endless and while the style might seem intimidating at first, it actually removes any decision-making from your outfit selection.

Any color can work to create a monocolor look from black to electric purple or even blue jeans. And for some monochrome jeans inspiration, check out my double and triple denim looks.

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As always, happy thrifting and styling.

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Michelle Rothenburger

Michelle Rothenburger is a vegan fashion blogger whose work has been featured in such publications as Marie Claire, InStyle, Woman & Home, and Vilda. Find out more by reading Michelle’s full story (from bullied to fashion influencer) and feel free to send her a personal message.


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