Here’s how to wear one colour (or colour family), head to toe


Words: T. MacInnis

Tonal dressing might sound a bit intimidating, but we promise it’s less complicated than it sounds. And, even though it’s a simple thing to implement in your wardrobe, it can make you look instantly put together. Read on to find out what tonal dressing is, and how you can make the concept work no matter where you’re headed or what you’ve got on.

What is tonal dressing?

Tonal dressing means wearing colours from the same colour family head to toe. It’s easiest to do with more neutral colours like browns and greys, but you can also achieve it with bright hues like blues and reds. No matter what colour family you choose, you build your outfit by mixing and matching shades that fall into that family.

We recommend starting with a colour you already have in your wardrobe. Chances are, you’ve got a pair of beige or grey trousers, a grey jumper or even a neutral-toned suit. Start with one of those pieces, then build your look from there with a new item or accessories in that same colour family.

epsom coat

How can I make tonal dressing work for the office?

The great thing about tonal dressing is that it makes that coveted subtle statement. You’ll look like you put some effort into your outfit, but never like you tried too hard. If you choose a navy suit, wear it with a lighter blue tie, a light blue shirt and even navy shoes. If you’re going for a taupe suit, pick a darker brown tie, and brown shoes. You can always stick with a white shirt if you’re more comfortable, as long as any colour you add into the mix fits within that main colour family you’ve chosen.

epsom coat

How can I make tonal dressing work at the weekend?

Tonal dressing doesn’t mean you can’t work with a pattern. This checked overshirt, for example, gives you the option to go with browns, greys or whites, or even bend the rules a bit and mix in a few different things. Either way, you’ll get a cohesive look that’s not too matchy-matchy, but still looks considered. That’s ideal for a weekend spent relaxing, or even a city mini break.

That brings us to another benefit of tonal dressing: it can make packing a breeze. If everything’s in the same tone, it’ll all go together no matter which pieces you decide to pair.

epsom coat

What are some staple pieces I need for tonal dressing?

In the same way tonal dressing makes packing a breeze, it can also be a great way to start building a capsule wardrobe. Again, because you’ll have pieces in the same colour family or tone, everything in your wardrobe will go together, maximising the amount of outfits you can build. A jacket you can layer, a neutral T-shirt, or joggers you can dress up or down are all great pieces to start with.

epsom coat

How can I make tonal dressing work as a groom?

Of course, we love to apply this concept to a groom outfit. Combining tonal dressing with another big trend this year – all-black, head to toe – and you get this super unique suiting look that makes another subtle statement. Particularly great for a wedding in the city, choosing all-black is edgy and romantic. Go for it if that’s your vibe.