One challenge issued and 16 photos later, I realize that word might not mean what I think it means. Embarrazada! (Yes, that’s a linguistic joke that demonstrates embarrassment by using a word from a different language that looks similar but means something totally different.)

Helpful and color-theory-savvy fabbers tell me that “tone” refers to the intensity of a color (right? If I’m still off-base, please correct me now). The colors themselves can be similar or high-contrast. The point is the intensity, how light or dark they are. According to this definition, “tonal matching” means everything is all the same tone, nothing is lighter or darker than anything else.

The look I’m taken by at the moment, and the one I’m trying to work out, is pretty much the opposite of that. It centers on a color, then adds in lighter and darker variations of it, and other colors close to it on the color wheel. I will add pictures to this thread if I come across good examples of the thing I mean. Recent YLF examples are the gorgeous play on blues that Brooklyn posted to Irina’s thread on tonal matching, Angie’s third photo in that thread, for which she gave finds a little later, and the outfits in this blog post, particularly the lilac one. Those aren’t my colors; what I want to emulate are the ways the color shifts between different intensities of lilac and shades of pink/coral. Similarly, Angie’s pink and orange outfit doesn’t use colors I wear—it’s the way similar shades are paired up that I want to work on. The looks I’m so attracted to, and that I want to build in my wardrobe, are built around those itty-bitty steps on the color wheel and shifts in intensity.

In the interest of clearer communication, I’m looking for a word or phrase to describe this kind of matching and differentiate it from wearing all light colors, or all dark. Can you help me out?