What Is Monochrome Fashion? How To Show Up In Style

by Sara Wennerstrom / Aug 12, 2022

When you think of chic styles and runway looks, you may picture a fully coordinated outfit in a single color. That put-together outfit is a monochromatic one. So what is it about stepping out in head-to-toe silver or a black ensemble that’s so effortlessly stylish? And how can you play with bold colors beyond neutrals when you dip into the world of a single hue?


In this piece, we’ll explore what is monochrome fashion, how to style a single color wearing different tints and textures to give it depth and dimension, and why the monochromatic approach has a home in your wardrobe. Read on for classic monochrome outfit ideas that will expand your horizons and creativity for seasons to come, so whether you’re a pattern person or an admirer of the nuances of a gray palette, we have something for everyone to enjoy.



What is monochrome fashion?


Monochrome fashion is wearing an outfit that consists of one color. A breakdown of the term’s Greek roots shows that monochromatic translates to “single color:” mono meaning single and chromatic meaning color. Therefore, the principle of this fashion styling is fairly simple, but don’t misinterpret its simplicity as boring – or a cinch to pull together.


Though different people might have varying approaches to the concept, it isn’t uncommon to stick to one color but break up the outfit with assorted shades. For instance, if your color of choice is red, you can incorporate darker shades like maroon and venture into lighter territory with a borderline pink hue, all while still meeting the definition of monochromatic outfits. Ultimately, this look works because it’s timeless and consistent, so even if you go for exuberant orange florals, there’s still enough cohesion to make us think of words like “sleek” or “sophisticated.”


Alunna Bag in Pebbled Ice


6 monochrome fashion styling tips


Let’s unpack some styling tips that extend beyond just reaching for a matching color combo. With this guidance, you can craft dynamic and interesting outfits that will turn heads in any situation.


  1. Combine fabric textures


When you’re wearing a single color, especially if it’s a more neutral and subdued hue, you want to add depth to the outfit. An easy way to do this is with different fabric textures that play off one another and the garment you want to occupy center stage. An all gray or tan outfit can easily come off as one-dimensional and unappealing to the eye without some intrigue. So think silk and cotton, denim and sequins, or leather and lace. With so many fabrics to choose from, your outfit doesn’t have to be basic just because you’re sticking with the basics.


  1. Remember balance when combining pieces


For any ensemble, it’s best to be mindful of the silhouette of each piece you’re pairing. This doesn’t just apply to monochromatic outfits, but like the appeal of combining textures, awareness of the shape and the fit of a piece ensures that you’re wearing something flattering. Imagine, for example, a flowy white top with bell sleeves matched with white skinny jeans and a chunky brown belt peeping out to lengthen and establish a statuesque appearance. If you go for a flowy top with similar bottoms that drape over your legs, then you aren’t creating enough balance between the loose and the fitted components of a visually appealing outfit.


  1. Go with monochromatic colors that work


The easiest color or shade to start with for a monochromatic newbie is black, white, or a combination of black and white. Dark neutral hues like navy, brown, and gray are also a safe launching pad for your foray into monochromatic fashion. But if you have a signature color that compliments you effortlessly, don’t play by the rules and go for a bright and bold look that makes you feel confident as you step out into the world.


Circa Bag in Mimosa Tigerlily


  1. Accessorize in a way that elevates your look


Accessories aren’t just the perfect finishing touch for an outfit; they can also be the star of the show. Imagine a belt with a bejeweled buckle that effortlessly cinches the waist while adding a bit of sparkle to an all-black ensemble. Or perhaps a bag to take that blue theme to new heights.

Senreve’s Aria belt bag in the color wave is that perfect light blue, icy hue to elevate your look as you sling it around your waist or across the body for a too-cool aesthetic begging for a snapshot as you cross the street in style. And if you choose our Dragon leather, which is the embossed leather that mimics the texture and color variation of a crocodile — you’ll have another unique texture to incorporate into your monochromatic outfit.


  1. Introduce a pattern


Hopefully, it’s clear that one note doesn’t mean that you should fall flat. With the number of options at your fingertips, don’t limit yourself to only associating monochromatic with solid pieces, even in different textures.

A pattern that highlights the dominant hue is another great way to add depth and dimension to an outfit, making it much more than a standard uniform. But be mindful of the use of print or pattern; you don’t want there to be too much going on and ultimately overwhelm onlookers. So keep it balanced and trust your instincts.


  1. Incorporate different shades of a favorite hue


Unless you’re buying a set, it can be tricky to color match pieces perfectly. And why would you want to when varying shades can add another element of fun to your monochromatic masterpiece. Doing this with intention is very different from rummaging through a dark closet for identical shades of black.


So always craft a thoughtful look, and don’t be afraid to match that dark purple outfit with a lilac bag. Our Mini Maestra bag in the shade lavender is destined for greatness and versatility. Wear it as a backpack, crossbody, satchel, or tote — patented for design and utility.


Smaller SENREVE bags in neutral hues

SENREVE Convertible Jewelry Box Bags and the Circa Bag in Pebbled Chestnut


Why wear a monochrome style?


In case you need more convincing, here are a few reasons why you should consider delving into the beloved look.


  • - It's impactful. A monochromatic look makes a statement — consider the classic power suit. When a well-tailored suit in a brilliant shade of powder blue struts confidently across the conference room, everyone in attendance can’t help but do a double-take.


  • - It can simplify outfit selection. Although you shouldn’t view the monochromatic look like a uniform you can pull out of the closet without planning, it can make outfit selection a bit easier when done right. Not every look is about spending hours locating just the right piece — sometimes, it’s about making it out the door on time for that morning interview or having a reliable classic to return to for a spontaneous night out. The monochromatic look, especially in darker neutrals, truly takes the effort out of your put-together appearance. 


  • - It’s easy to mix and match. When you already have a basic color to work with — and you have enough options in your closet — it’s a breeze to mix and match for that ideal monochromatic look. Plus, if you decide to switch it up and incorporate several colors, then you have solid basics to experiment with for an engaging ensemble


  • It’s the perfect backdrop to highlight a bold accessory. If you want to take your monochromatic outfit to the next level, incorporate a shoe in the same color to make good use of those chunky teal suede boots you thrifted last summer. Or make the outfit a single, neutral color and the accessories a bright burst of electricity to contrast the plain foundation.


The Strati Sporta in merlot is sure to be your new favorite sidekick when you want your outfit to pack a punch. Available in our Pebbled leather, it is accented with a unique version of the signature Senreve buckle closure — the Crescent Clasp.


One color family, endless options


The elegance of the monochromatic style is crucial to why it’s endured for so long as a fashion style staple. So the next time you shop your closet, consider which recurring colors you can make use of in your quest for single color perfection. You can even organize your closet by color for maximum impact and ease when it comes to selecting an outfit for the day or night ahead.


And with Senreve’s collection of bestsellers designed for the multifaceted, modern woman, you’ll have no shortage of bags to add a statement or effortlessly enhance that monochromatic look. From clutches to crossbodies and those that can become both, we care about giving you options, so you can show up feeling as powerful as your power suit.