How to tonal dress this summer
This season is a celebration of colour. Don’t think mix and match though – it’s about using different tones of the same shade to create a look that’s both coherent and intriguing
In many instances in life, tone is everything, and that is certainly true for Spring/Summer 2018. Minimalists: rejoice – tonal dressing is the order of the season as we head into warmer climes. As always, the summer months bring with them a familiar offering of eye-catching prints and patterns, but present on many of the catwalks for SS18 was an interspersing of uniformity of colour that will undoubtedly appease many a man adverse to the season’s relatively bolder trends.
Labels such as Lanvin, Sacai and Casely-Hayford alongside newcomer Gustav Von Aschenbach all made strong cases for the power of tonal this season; each displaying looks that played with various shapes and proportions but found cohesion in a singular colour. From Lanvin’s flowing and fluid use of fabric to Casely-Hayford’s more structured and tailored approach, we saw the wearability, versatility and universality of the trend that appeals to a plethora of tastes and styles.
As we transition into the summer months, we don’t tend to think of grey as a key staple palette in our wardrobes, but I would suggest a rethink on this one. Grey can actually be quite a tricky colour to match up, but I find one of the most striking ways to wear it is by contrasting with varying shades of the same hue. Pairing light grey trousers and a dark grey shirt is a great example of how wearing a light and dark version of the colour will create a contemporary take on the trend.
If you do want an accent tone, avoid black at all costs as it tends to look quite clunky alongside grey. Opt for a white T-shirt, wear the shirt open, and finish off with a pair of crisp-white trainers from Common Projects (£309) to create a fresh and modern aesthetic.
The best entry point into the tonal trend is to envision it in terms of your pre-existing wardrobe
Undoubtedly, the most accessible induction into mastering the art of tonal dressing has to be the suit. Absolutely ideal for a summer wedding, this classy option from Hugo Boss [pictured] in light blue is a brilliant, fresh alternative to more traditional colours. While you may be tempted to wear it with a classic white T-shirt to dress it down, in keeping with the tonal theme, consider opting instead for a fine-knit polo or T-shirt in luxurious French navy – it looks much more striking.
The key message is not to seek out an identical colour match, but opt for something a shade or two darker or lighter for maximum impact. The best entry point into the tonal trend is to envision it in terms of your pre-existing wardrobe to make it work for you.
If we view tonal dressing as the apparent antidote to some of the season’s more adventurous or playful styles, it might conjure up notions of it being safe, boring, or even monotonous. However, that is not the case, as it’s not simply dressing head-to-toe in a singular hue, but rather cleverly matching similar tones in flattering shapes and volumes that creates a sleek and polished look that works well for any occasion.
For more info, see hugoboss.com