Turning Tonal for NYFW:M

Tonal Looks For NYFWM

TONAL, or monochromatic, looks are on the rise! 

They were all over the runways this past week during New York Fashion Week: Mens. From Todd Snyder, to Billy Reid and John Varvatos, it's a trend that has become an integral part of modern menswear styling. Just wear one color and you're good to go!

Well, not quite... 

I decided to ditch my suits and shearling this NYFW:M and wore nothing but monochrome! Tonal looks are easy to put together if you follow three simple filters: texture, proportion and variation in hue. Scroll through each look to nab a few tips!

Turning Tonal for NYFW:M
Turning Tonal for NYFW:M

Winter Neutrals

The devil is in the details...

Basically, it's the minor variations and details that make this look work. If everything was the same shade of khaki, or there weren't variations in texture, it would come across as flat, boring and (probably) nerdy.

So let's break it down:

TEXTURE: The marled texture in the sweater, the nubby-ness of the scarf, the nap in the suede jacket and the stripes in the shirt all add visual interest.

PROPORTION: It's the middle of winter, so the high neckline of the scarf signals cozy layering, while the cropped roll of the pants makes it almost spring appropriate. It's the balance of the two that takes the styling up a notch.

VARIATION IN HUE: Of all the looks, this one has the widest range of colors, but it sticks within the warm-khaki color palette. Any more variation and it wouldn't be tonal, but it definitely needed the darker camel to break up the lighter hues. 

Turning Tonal for NYFW:M
Turning Tonal for NYFW:M

Blue Man

When wearing a monochromatic look in a dark color, make sure you have lighter elements. Pieces that pop out! Gold buttons can make a huge difference!! 

TEXTURE: Suede under wool, marled socks and indigo-dyed cotton. Mix it up, especially when they are the same shade!

PROPORTION: This time the proportional difference is in the length of the coat and the pants. Long vs. short. Cropped vs. turtleneck. 

VARIATION IN HUE: I'll be honest, I tried on 3 different socks before landing on this pair. The sky blue in the socks lightened up the overall look. Solid navy or gray just made everything heavy. The little pop of green in the coat also offset's the large block of navy without overpowering the color statement. If you're wearing all one color, throw in little bits of other color to shake it up. Here it's green, the next look it's white.

Turning Tonal for NYFW:M
Turning Tonal for NYFW:M

Gray the Otter Way

This was the easiest on for me. Everything in my closet is gray. I just kinda grabbed stuff and threw it on.

TEXTURE: Marled sweater, striped scarf. Those two were enough.

PROPORTION: Stuck to a pretty classic proportion: long pants and double-breasted wool topcoat. 

VARIATION IN HUE: When layering up grays, make sure they are all the same temperature. Either warm-gray or cool-gray. Every shade of gray either has a little more red in it or a little more blue. "French gray" is a traditional warm-gray color. This look leans more towards the cool-grey side.

The pop of white is also super important!! It's my go-to to polish things up. 

Turning Tonal for NYFW:M
Turning Tonal for NYFW:M

Black is the New Black

Well, not quite black... but varying shades around black. Just think, Dark Knight.

TEXTURE: Marled pants are my new favorite thing! The texture of the tee even ties back to them (thanks, Matiere).

PROPORTION: Knee length coat with drop crotch, cropped pants. The combination takes the styling beyond you usual black denim. 

VARIATION IN HUE: Black, charcoal, black/white marled... it's all in the same family and you won't look like you should be backstage at a theatre. 

So what do you think of the tonal/monochromatic look? How would you wear the trend??

Let me know in the comments below!

StyleAaron Wester