A monochromatic outfit combines a single base hue and different tints, shades and tones of that hue. Remember that a hue is the pure colour, tints are achieved by adding white, shades by adding black, and tones by adding grey. 

For example, to create a tint, white is added to a red hue to make pink. Black is added to a red hue to create burgundy. Pink, red and burgundy create a monochromatic colour scheme. By combining lighter and darker versions of a colour, monochromatic combinations create visual depth and interest. The contrast between the lighter and darker combinations can be extreme or subtle. You can also simply choose ONE colour to wear head-to-toe, and not add variations of tint, shade or tone of that colour to the outfit.

Some people use the terms monochromatic and tonal outfits interchangeably. Others believe there is a slight difference. To them, tonal dressing means combining outfit items that fall within the same colour family. A colour family includes multiple base hues that are relatively close on the colour wheel. So to be pedantic, tonal outfits are made up of colour variations from a few closely related base hues, while monochromatic outfits are made up of colour variations from a single base hue.

For example, I am creating a TONAL outfit when I combine tomato red, Dutch orange, and shocking pink in an outfit. The brights are the same intensity and close together on the colour wheel. I am wearing a MONOCHROMATIC outfit when I wear a column of the same red separates, or tints, tones and shades of red.

It can be hard to differentiate between monochromatic and tonal outfits. I certainly mix up the two. It’s also fine to use the terms, interchangeably. Personally, I LOVE wearing monochromatic and tonal outfits in brighter and lighter colours. I like to do the look with dark blues too. How about you?