Change your tone this winter

Simple, subtle and slick.

Tonal layering is the answer to looking effortlessly stylish during the cooler months.

Tonal dressing is not a new concept but has become increasingly popular in recent years. Channel the likes of Maps Maponyane and Rich Mnisi by using tonal layering to create some classic, seemingly effortless ensembles.

Written by  Natalie Fraser


Winter layering gives us an opportunity to style a new fit with existing clothes, finding interesting combinations you can mix up all year round.

But the question to answer is: how do you layer inorder to elevate your style and yet keep your outfits flexible, from brisk and breezy mornings to beers with friends at a bustling bar? We’ve got the combinations to keep you going, no matter the forecast.


Choosing your colour

Tonal dressing is about exploring a variety of tones within the same hue. So, first things first – choose your hue. It’s all about expressing yourself in a colour that best suits your personality, style and compliments your skin tone.

Ranging from bright and bold colours to muted greys, blues and tans, it is important to note that not all colours work for all people. Be careful not to fall into the trap of trend colourations if the rest of your wardrobe cannot carry it.


You want to explore tonal dressing but still shop pieces that will find a comfortable home within your dressing repertoire. For instance, opting for blue tones means you throw a variety of denims into the mix which can be paired with lighter shirts and navy coats or pullovers.

Furthermore, when wearing lighter tones, you can ground your look with white and if you’re on the darker end of the spectrum, a pop of black won’t hurt. Keep it simple and consistent, whatever that may mean for you, and you’ll come out with a look so strong, Giorgio Armani himself will be the one asking you for style tips.


Choosing your pieces

In order to hit the mark with tonal dressing, you need to consider more than just the colour. Be conscious of the textures, textures add extra nuances and in certain cases, completely read as a different colour (so blue is not always blue).

Easiest way to avoid this pitfall is hold pieces up against each and do a quick comparison and if the piece you’re matching to is at home, peacefully waiting, a simple picture will do. Use texture as peak interests and to add detail to your look.


Start with the piece that you absolutely want and build your look by pairing back to it. You first want to add in your fundamentals, such as your shirt, trousers, etc. and then start layering or adding in. A camel coat, for example, can be paired with some light chinos, an eggshell cotton shirt and beige knitted pullover.

This will give you subtle variety in both tone and texture. 


Once you understand the basics, the art of tonal layering will come easily, keeping your wardrobe both timeless and on trend.