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How to Pull Off a Monochrome Outfit

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Remember when your dad would wear light wash jeans with similarly colored polos, and you were appalled? Like so many other dad outfits, this monochrome look is cool these days, so we all have to live with the fact that dads are amazing trendcasters.

Below, assistant market editor Tanisha Pina explains how to do the monochrome thang the right non-bad-dad-fashion way. And next, why lace is the Gemini of fabrics. —Stephanie Talmadge

Monochromatic Outfits Are the Easiest Way to Get Dressed
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Story by Tanisha Pina. Photos by Joe Harper.

Monochromatic outfits might be one of the easiest ways to create a look that feels polished, but not forced. The trick to pulling it off without looking like an extra in a Fruit of the Loom commercial is mixing different fabrics and proportions.

Below, five outfit ideas to buy and try, inspired by some of our favorite looks from outside the shows at this past Paris Fashion Week.

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Calling all over-achievers! Wear the trend to its fullest by getting your shoes and accessories in color uniform, too.

What to Buy: Theory Wool Flare Pant, $355; Theory Mock Neck Sweater, $200; Steve Madden Ankle Strap Sandals, $99.

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Playing around with different texture combinations — like heavy knits and leather — is the perfect way to keep monochrome fun. (Bright orange boots don’t hurt either.)

What to Buy: H&M Rib-Knit Sweater, $19.99; Rebecca Taylor Leather Skirt, $795.

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For something a little more subtle but still special, try mixing up fabrics, like cashmere with linen or wool.

What to Buy: Uniqlo Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater, $69.90; J.Crew Cropped Pant, $118.

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Make an all-black outfit feel new by playing with proportions and layers, like extra long sleeves and shorts with tights.

What to Buy: Base Range Sweatshirt, $145; Coach Leather Short, $495; Wolford Velvet Sensation Tights, $105.

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For the advanced monochromatic dresser, experiment with different shades of the same color.

What to Buy: Rag & Bone Ribbed Sweater, $350; Topshop Satin Midi Dress, $115.

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The Ever-Shifting Symbolism of Lace
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If fabrics had astrological signs, lace would be that ever-adaptable, maddeningly indecisive Gemini with whom society has an ongoing "it’s complicated" relationship. If you have your doubts, try this fun exercise: Close your eyes and picture a lace ensemble. Got a mental flash of Kate Middleton’s queenly bridal gown? Her daughter Charlotte’s pristine baptism dress? Maybe, if you’re tuned into retro fashion, lace is Jane Birkin in a white lace crochet number with a plunging neckline — or screen goddess Sophia Loren wearing the raciest sheer black lace nightgown 1964 ever saw, thanks to Marriage Italian Style. Perhaps, in your mind, lace will always be the regal innocence of Grace Kelly after 5 p.m. wearing the white lace ball gown neither Birkin nor Loren would have touched with a 10-foot pole.

Our visions of lace can be virginal and virtuous, stately and inspiring, or, if you’re a dedicated follower of Milan Fashion Week, a chic gothic widow caught between innocence and desire, á la Alberta Ferretti and Roberto Cavalli. They can include Miranda Kerr in an emerald lace cocktail dress, Kendall Jenner in a boho beige lace dress at Coachella, and everything you learned about Alencon lace while being fitted by a Parisian designer for your wedding veil. And by "everything," I mean all of the times he scolded you: "Why is this so much money, you ask? Because it has never touched the dirty inside of a sewing machine, that’s why!"

But lace is also those H&M machine-made micro lace shorts every teenage girl from Tulsa to Tacoma saved up one hour of her babysitting money to buy this past summer. It’s as much a symbol of feminine cool to an adolescent as it is a symbol of you know what to her Frederick’s of Hollywood siren-red lace teddy-wearing mom.

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