LOOKING polished and pulled together in warm or hot weather (not that we’ve had much of it yet) can be challenging. One wardrobe tactic we haven’t seen for a while but has been gaining fashion favor is the practice of wearing clothing in the same or similar colors. Whether you call it tonal (wearing colors in the same palette like pale yellow and saffron) or monochromatic (the same hue top to toe) dressing, the goal is to look chic and confident without expending a lot of effort.
At a loss for what to wear to a Kentucky Derby party earlier this month, I rooted around in my closet and decided to pair a new beige ribbed cotton crewneck sweater with wide-leg cotton khaki pants I hadn’t worn for years. It was a winning combination for which I even gathered a compliment or two, but more importantly the strategy had sartorial legs. I could use it all summer long and into the fall and winter. In fact, designers such as Max Mara, Tom Ford and Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga opted for tonal looks on their autumn 2019 runways. Boring, you say? Solve that potential pitfall by adding a handbag, shoes or a belt in a contrasting color. Or break up monochromatic pieces by mixing textures—say a silk skirt with a metallic top.
For those whose talent doesn’t lie in creatively mixing prints, there’s good news. Shirts and skirts and tops and pants in matching patterns have been popping up on retail sites. It’s another foolproof way of looking coordinated, especially when you want to leave the house in a hurry.
With so much cacophony in our daily lives, we offer some harmonious wardrobe suggestions.
Hello, sunshine. Tbilisi-based fashion designer George Keburia is fond of bold color, as evident in these right-from-the-spring 2019 runway Straight-Leg Linen Pants ($330) and matching Short-Sleeve Linen Shirt ($330) at Moda Operandi. We’re fond of the contrasting white buttons and the blouse’s boxy silhouette. There’s an old-fashioned formality about this outfit, the kind of thing you’d wear if you were invited to a swank country club for lunch or to a haute Preakness party.
LEFT: A head-to-toe tonal look from Zara. A flowy v-neck Blouse with Ruching ($39.90) with elastic hem in the front pairs with a longish Satin Skirt ($69.90) with forgiving elastic waistband. Add neon kitten heel sandals and a forest-green faux suede tote for the full monty. RIGHT: If I had a summer-in-the-city wedding on my calendar, I’d make a beeline for this elegant-looking, on-sale Knotted High-Neck Long-Sleeve Silk Blouse (reduced from $325 to $243) and Paneled Knot-Front Silk Midi Skirt (reduced to $162). Both are from Vince and available at Neiman Marcus.
LEFT: If you care about that kind of stuff, florals are still a fashion go-to, so you can be on trend with Tibi’s Poplin Deep V-Neck Top ($350) and flirty Poplin Ruffle Skirt ($395). The pair makes a cool summer look that you can dress up or down depending on the occasion. RIGHT: If you were to amortize the amount of times you’d wear Proenza Schouler’s cotton-silk blend, mid-length pleated Plissé Knit Skirt ($950) (another one with elastic waistband) and its matching Plissé Knit Top ($890) from Farfetch, you may just be able to justify the dough for this spendy duo. The spearmint color is delicious and think how easily it would pack up in your suitcase with barely a wrinkle when you take it out.
How cute is this Pleated Midi Skirt (with elastic waist—another one), $79.99, and matching Scarf Print Shirt ($49.99) from Mango. Perfect for Memorial Day and July 4 bashes or for looking stylishly coordinated anytime this spring or summer. Wear it with a straw tote or faux croc mini cross-body bag.
LEFT: Beige is big. Look polished all summer, courtesy of Vince’s Cargo Wide-Leg Pants ($385) and cotton and silk Utility Shirt ($265). RIGHT: I’m not and have never been a fan of tie-dye, but I’m making an exception in the case of Massimo Dutti’s cream-and-indigo, cropped Straight Fit Tie-Dye Print Trousers ($110) and Tie-Dye Print Cotton and Silk Shirt ($79.90). A laidback combination that will have you coming back to it on repeat.
LEFT: Louis Pasteur said that chance favors the prepared mind. Okay, he was talking about scientific insights, but we also could apply the idea to this partying time of year. Be ready for an occasion with Ann Mashburn’s girly Pale Blue Shantung Silk Victoria Top ($275) and matching Gracie Tie Skirt ($295) with wraparound sash. RIGHT: Los Angeles-based label Mijeong Park gets points for its neutral colors and California-comfortable clothing like this Linen Blazer in Lilac ($270) and coordinating Linen Wide Leg Pant ($175) from Need Supply. Keep calm and carry on.