Tones to try

5 tonal looks to experiment with for any occasion


Photography: Jonathan Taylor | Styling: Mandy Nash

If you’re anything like us, tonal dressing can be a daunting prospect – pulling off the all-black look is one thing but when it comes to colour, matching and balancing the right hues can be hit or miss. It’s also difficult to gauge when or where you should be experimenting, especially if it’s something new. With a bit of practice, and our advice, you have another tool in your styling belt and will be channelling your inner Yeezy in no time.

Where to wear it: The night out bar hopping


A tonal dressing starter pack, if you will, sweats are easy enough to style and timelessly on-trend enough to make this look within reach for just about any wardrobe: this is all about feeling comfortable without compromising on style. Grey melange should be your go-to when it comes to sweats, although black can work too – and you get bonus points for a matching pair of sneakers that elevate the outfit.

Where to wear it: The office


One of the benefits of dressing tonally is you’ll always look like a considered, fashion guru. That way you can confuse whoever enforces workplace style guidelines with this versatile look. It’s a solid balance of beige tones, each puzzle piece in the right place to form something unique as a whole. It helps to incorporate sophisticated garments like the timeless trench coat or a roll neck knit if you want to elevate it an outfit and get it office-ready.

Where to wear it: The daytime braai


Dressing for an occasion that’s during the day should be handled with care: it’s a fine line between looking like you’ve tried too hard and going too far with the comfy-casual aesthetic. Some smart chino shorts contrast with the laidback style of the hoodie in just the right ways, and the layered red hemline adds intrigue to a straightforward look. It’s an ideal combination that suits the relaxed atmosphere of a braai, while letting everyone know you’ve made an effort.

Where to wear it: The big date


The fashion stakes are never higher than when you’re fifteen minutes late for a date, after trying three different outfits and realising that that’s not something that only happens to women. A solid tonal outfit shows you know what you’re doing, even if some of your charm fails you during dinner. Match the chinos with the sneakers, and then opt for tee in a colour that complements your bottom half. Whether you add a button-up, like in the example above, or a simple black bomber, the look is already established and hard to mess up at this point.

Where to wear it: The admin day


It’s different for everyone: either you’re paying bills, grocery shopping in bulk, or endlessly renewing your license, often all organised on one day, but it’s something we dread. Start your day off with something that has you covered for comfort first, and oozes style as an added bonus. If you’re playing with sweats, make sure the grey melange tones are as similar as possible, as this allows the opportunity to experiment with a second colour. Layer the hemline with a soft nude tee and, if you’re incredibly well-prepared, a pair of minimal sneakers featuring the same colour. You’re going to be incredibly comfortable all day, and your maintained style will give you the illusion you’re not doing boring stuff with your free time.

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