The Art Of Tonal Dressing

It might sound a bit odd to only wear one colour when dressing but it can actually make more of a statement than wearing a lot of different colours. This move is known as tonal dressing, and its a great sartorial skill to master. But before beginning on this adventure, please hold off from running to the shops and buying top, trousers, jacket and shoes in the exact same colour (no one wants to look like they are starring in a Clockwork Orange remake). The key to pulling this look off is to look more for texture, pattern and fit to bring visual interest to your look. Ready to give it a go?

Come on then…

What is tonal dressing?

Wearing a “tonal” outfit doesn’t necessarily mean wearing the same colour for each piece, its more about playing around with a family of colours or shades. With blue for instance, you want to be looking at everything from navy, indigo to sky blue.

The lack of colour range can occasionally make for a boring outfit, so to combat this, using different textures and weaves is paramount to adding depth.

Which colours work best?

In theory, any colours work for tonal dressing, but to ease yourself into it, neutral colours are a great place to start. Blues, browns, greys and sandy colours are great, they come in a variety of light and dark shades that will stop your look feeling too uniform. Don’t be afraid of breaking the outfit up though, a simple white t-shirt will work with any tonal outfit.

Ultimately, just play around. Whether your style is smart or casual, play close attention to a particular family of colours, pick your fabrics and have fun.

Written by Tom Loughran