What Monochromatic Actually Means and How to Wear It

Thanks to all the Hemingway and Beckett I read in college, I went through an all-encompassing minimalism phase years ago. My apartment was basically barren. Anything that was there was pure white, and I proudly told people that I could fit all my belongings into my car if I ever needed to leave town on a moment’s notice.

While I've since added color to my apartment (begrudingly), minimalistic monochromatic is back on the runway and I'm drawing on my bare-essentials experience to help navigate this trend and avoid the pitfalls of looking too boring.

Remember: monochromatic is more than just sticking to one color, a boxy dress or a nehru jacket.

monochromatic style
  • Pair a minimalist outfit with bold accessories, such as a gorgeous pair of heels.

  • Accentuate femininity by defining your waist, or accentuating your face with a boatline neck.

  • Minimal/monochrome doesn’t mean two seams and the designer is done. Look for structured pieces that are well-tailored, which gives a piece details without fussiness.

  • Making a bold color choice can transform an uninspiring piece into something special.

monochromatic style

“It girl” Alexa Chung does a wonderful job of wearing minimalism fashion without looking the least bit boring. Notice that she paired her simple sweater dress with a masculine hat, but then a throw-back-overtly-feminine bag, and modern shoes. Mixing accessories can elevate boring to bold.

minimalist fashion

Remember that less is not always more. You can’t throw on your boyfriend’s XXL white Hanes undershirt and call it an homage to monochromatic. Of course, if you’re Sharon Stone apparently you can throw on your boyfriend’s Gap white button-down and wear it to the Oscars. But don’t try that if you’re new to minimalistic monochromatic - that level of gumption takes a real pro.



  • Arianne says:

    I could tell the same thing about my fashion style when I was in college. Almost every single day, my outfit from head to toe would either be all-white or an all-beige ensemble. BUT I think I was able to pull it off because I always secure my waistline with a different colored belt and a large elaborate-designed buckle.

  • Minerva says:

    Monochromatics are really my favored style. Sometimes, an all-black outfit is just what I need to be sure that I am not out of fashion. After all, you can never go wrong with black, right? At least in my case, I don’t look like a gothic girl when I wear monochrome black. A white purse against all the black always does the trick,

  • shauna fox says:

    I always thought monochromes are boring. Like there’s no style essence or something. I’d like an outfit that burst with colors, bright and vibrant. Maybe I am not fit to wear monochromatic in this sense.

  • Koreena Rose says:

    I like minimalist fashion aka monochromes, because it gives me peace of mind. Loud and vibrant mixed-and-matched outfits sometimes clashes my mind.

  • I used to wear monochromes when I was still working in an office before. I thought I was being minimalist, too, because I didn’t really want to grab anyone’s attention by wearing colorful clothes.

  • Letty Baker says:

    Thanks for the style tips on wearing monochromes, pr as what my daughter would say, fifty shades of grey colored outfits. Forgive my daughter for her lack of fashion knowledge about colors. Bet she got it from me who also happens to wear different shades of grey whenever I go to work.

  • I think, the key to wearing monochromatic outfits successfully is to make sure that the colors blend with the season. Like this summer, it’s best to wear different shades of yellow, or pastel greens or even hot pinks!

  • helgakrappf says:

    I wear monochromes all the time. I am not an expert in colorful outfits per se.. I actually fail in color combination, so monochrome it is.

  • Princess Lia says:

    I like wearing bold colored clothes, so even though it’s in a monochromatic style, I know I’d still stand ou

  • Ginger says:

    Sometimes, it’s easier to wear monochromes because you can be sure that the colors won’t clash with your shoes and all.. just sayin…

  • Erin says:

    Thanks for clarifying this: Monochromatic is not just sticking to one color, a boxy dress or a nehru jacket. – I am clearly mistaken then. Now I know better, thank you!

  • Karina says:

    When I wear monochrome, I usually go for black; sometimes blue. I just try to put a little embellishments so as not to look stiff.

  • Kandy Gurl says:

    I haven’t really tried wearing clothes with monochromatic style and stuff. I thought it looked boring. But thanks to your tips, maybe I can do something about it once I bought myself monochromes. Thank you!

  • When I wear monochromes, usually in the office, I spice it up with bold earrings or bright colored scarves.

  • Taylor says:

    I really referred colored clothes over monochromes. If ever there’s a chance or an event that I really need to use a monochromatic outfit, I’d still splash it with minimal colors so as not to look dull and boring. THanks for the tips, too!

  • mistydew says:

    I think monochromatic style is in this 2015. I see a lot of stars opting to do the monochromes and it looks great on them. Thanks for the tips on how to make it more fun to use with colors.

  • Rizza V. says:

    Well, I think this is a great idea, splashing a bit of color to monochromatic outfit. It wouldn’t hurt to play a little with your wardrobe every now and then, so people won’t think you’re bland or out of style. Just my thought..

  • Susan Armstrong says:

    I think I read somewhere that monochromatic styled outfits are mundane, too bland, boring, etc. But I don’t think so. That is, if you know how to make the colors work for your advantage. Using contrasting accessories also help.

  • Aaliyah Jane says:

    I think I’m one of those who thought monochromatic styles are really dull and boring. With this post, I think I’m having a change of heart.

  • Gabbie says:

    I’ve been using / wearing clothes in monochromatic style, simply because I am afraid to mix and match different colors. I am a little color blind too, making it difficult for me to choose the appropriate ones. I have different shades of grey, different shades of purple and brown on my wardrobe and mostly whites, too.

  • Hannah Devereaux says:

    I’ve always stayed on the neutral zone and monochromatic styles. Not because I’m afraid to mix and match other colors. But I feel at ease with it. Thanks for this wonderful post :0)

  • Kelsey says:

    I usually go for minimal style and monochromes, too. I also let my accessories do the talking instead of my clothes. A bold pair of red stilettos or a fashion jewelry would surely divert one’s attention from the dress.

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