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The Art Of the Low-Contrast Outfit

For those of us who don’t have model figures or superhero bodies

Fashion is for the masses; trends are for the few.

Being well-dressed is often a result of simple outfit choices that respect the little details that matter.

This is especially true for people who don’t have the perfect figure. A little dad bod or some extra meat on the hips — this is natural and normal.

Being fit and athletic has its upsides, without a doubt, but we can’t all look that way tomorrow. But we can dress in a way that helps us achieve a similar aesthetic while hiding our problem areas.

Here’s a simple yet powerful dressing art form: Low-contrast outfits.

What Does Low Contrast Mean?

Generally speaking, low contrast can mean many things. When talking about colors and color theory, contrast is a common term.

Contrast refers to the visual difference between colors when seen next to each other.

Complementary colors like red and green have high contrast as they are opposites on the color wheel. Analogous colors like blue, blue-green, and green have low contrast as they are adjacent.

Monochromatic schemes use tints and shades of one color for no contrast. High contrast creates vibrancy but can be jarring, while low contrast is more subtle.

Contrast impacts visual hierarchy and aesthetics. Skillful contrast creates balanced, appealing color combinations.

This last part is key.

Why Dress Well in the First Place?

Famous designer Tom Ford once said:

“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

We have to keep in mind that dressing well has a variety of meanings. It’s cultural, it’s historic, it’s trend-based, and it’s personal.

Nevertheless, dressing underlies certain rules or principles that are universally accepted within a cultural community.

Dressing well also has a lot to do with color theory, the science of aesthetics, and the science of attraction.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the low-contrast method.

Low-contrast Outfits

As mentioned before, contrast impacts visual hierarchy and aesthetics. This explains why contrast can also aid with masking or concealing certain problem areas.

Let’s take a high-contrast outfit first to illustrate the point here.

High contrast

Picture a man with a little dad bod in a red T-shirt and black jeans. It’s a completely normal outfit. Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary.

The issue with this outfit is the contrast between the red top and black bottom. It’s a stark contrast, and it breaks exactly in the middle of the body where the stomach is located. This means more attention is drawn to the dad bod.

For a fit person with a six-pack, the same principle applies, but since there’s no dad bod to see, it’s not a concern.

Low contrast

For the man with the dad bod, the solution would be a low-contrast outfit.

The most well-known color, which isn’t an actual color in reality, that is said to make you look slimmer is black. We’ve all heard that.

But it’s not the black per se that helps here. Not entirely. It’s also a combination of black top and black bottom that really helps.


Because it completely eliminates the contrast and the cut in half in the stomach region. Therefore, the dad bod isn’t noticeable as much.

It’s a simple styling technique.

In fact, this technique has always been used. Just think about military uniforms or suits. They’re usually one color or two shades of one color for top and bottom, only to be accented with other colors at the arms or legs, the neck, or the hat.

Colors and Contrast

It’s not just black who does this trick.

It can be done with most colors, as long as the combinations of top and bottom have low contrast.

Bright colors do have other potential pitfalls, like the match with your skin tone or hair color. But that’s another huge topic.

Back to low contrast: white and tan is a popular color combination for summer, for example. Blue and blue always work. Shades of the same color — monochromatic outfits — these are all combinations that have low contrast.

They look chic.

The key takeaway here is that contrast impacts aesthetics. Skillful use of contrast through color can help create the desired visual effect. Low contrast diminishes problem areas, while high contrast accentuates them.

So, for a more slimming look, choose tops and bottoms in the same or similar colors. Go for analogous shades on the color wheel. Avoid high-contrast pairings that cut your body in half. Monochromatic ensembles keep it simple yet refined.

With just a touch of color theory, you can dress in a way that flatters your body type. Aim for clean, coordinated outfits with subtle contrast. This elegant approach puts the focus on your stylish look, not your flaws.

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