The 5 essential steps to wearing tone-on-tone like a Pantone boss

Cray crayons

Text: Debby Kwong

Editor: Jolene Khor

There's a little bit more to singing the blues than a keen eye for complementary colours

Spotted on the fall/winter 2018 runways at Bottega Veneta, Marni and Valentino, the beauty of tone-on-tone dressing is in its punchy effect. The response — an enthusiastic nod of approval — is almost immediate because of how pleasing monochrome is to the eye. There's so much noise around us that a straight-up cocktail of azure, sapphire and cerulean or a purple mixture of equal measure can feel like a reprise from the jungle of prints and colour collisions. There's also the added benefit of the illusion of height.

Having said that, dressing in head-to-toe in one colour takes effort. Don't let the minimalistic appearance fool you, this is a work of art requiring thought and planning.

Step one: Pick a colourway. There are essentially two opposing categories in this department — mad or muted. Happy jewel tones such as greens, purples and golds belong in the former, kicking and screaming for attention; khaki, camel and ecru belong in the latter, a quieter, more sophisticated corner. There's no right or wrong answer here, only intended purposes. Once you choose a side, step two: Gather pieces in various saturation levels. Start with the solids, then add prints (carefully!) for dynamics. With rich hues, create visual interest with contrasting textures and cuts. Imagine a slinky slip dress with a dramatic fuzzy coat. Sizzling. Those going neutral, play with tailoring and layering. A matching trouser and jacket combo with a darker coloured knit top is eternally smart. Step four: Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise. Avoid snarky OL comments when in beige with fierce footwear and flashy jewellery. Yes to bringing out those dramatic jewels for nine to five. Bright brights don't need the extra eyeballs. We'd rather you keep it clean with matching sunglasses and little white bags, but silver dangles can be forgiven.

Step five: Slay girl, slay.


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