How to master the monochromatic look

Monochromatic means single color.

There are a lot of perks to wearing a monochromatic look. It takes away the challenge of finding coordinating pieces in the perfect colors. You can build an outfit that is just as striking as if you were wearing a bold print, and the finished product looks uber-classy. This is also a great way to really show off some statement jewelry because it becomes the attention-grabbing piece when worn with a solid backdrop. Wearing a monochromatic outfit also can be very slimming and it can make you look taller (yes, please). You’d be hard-pressed to find another outfit combo that can look as chic as a monochromatic look.

Because it’s easy and simple, monochromatic style provides relief in a world that promotes constantly needing the next greatest fast-fashion piece for your closet. If you’re looking for some new items for your wardrobe, think thrift for budget-friendly and unique finds.

All Black

The easiest way to dip your toe into the monochromatic style would be styling an all-black outfit. Yes, you might think that sounds very boring and uninspired, but there are tricks to add visual interest to your monochromatic look. Try looking for all-black pieces that add some contrasting texture to the outfit, such as leather, wool, chunky knits or silky fabrics.

All black doesn’t have to scream rock ’n’ roll either, as shown with this chic and work-appropriate monochromatic outfit. This top features peplum detail, adding femininity, and the pants add another texture with piping down the leg. Top it off with a great blazer like this one that features leather-like detail at the waist, add some black heels and you have an all-black outfit that can take you from boardroom to date night in a breeze.


Perhaps a little more daring than an all-black outfit is a white monochromatic look. The same concept applies to white as it does with black. Think about what could add visual interest. This Ann Taylor sweater has ribbing detail that contrasts nicely with a clean pair of white jeans. If you want to add another layer, for style points or for warmth, try adding something with a different texture, like a drawstring-waisted coat or this fabulous faux-fur vest.

Expand on the basics

There are certain colors that would be really challenging to create a monochromatic look with, such as green, so if you’re just testing the monochromatic look out, we suggest sticking to easier colors such as pink and blue. (Think dark blue jeans with a navy top.) Also remember that wearing a lighter color on top and a darker color on bottom is a great way to bring focus up toward your face.

About Goodwill: Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2017 helped improve the lives of more than 70,000 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin. Goodwill NCW is one of four companies in the nation to be honored with a Platinum Well Workplace Award from the Wellness Council of America, which recognizes our commitment to wellness in the workplace. The organization includes 27 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, 24 human services programs, a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store, plus online shopping at, a women’s apparel website, and It offers four Donation Express sites and 10 convenient donation bins throughout the Fox Cities. Goodwill NCW is a Platinum Level member of, the world’s largest source of nonprofit organization information. Visit

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