Are "Matchy-Matchy" Looks a Fashion Faux Pas? Science Says, Yes

Celebrities-Color Coordinated
Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images, Donato Sardella/Getty Images, Humberto Carreno/Startraksphoto

We think it's a fashion "do," but science has ruled it a fashion "don't."

According to a new study, our affinity for monochromatic color palettes and matchy-matchy sets is something of a fashion faux pas. In the recently published article, "The Science of Style: In Fashion, Colors Should Match Only Moderately" by researchers at the University of North Carolina, participants rated clothing based on how "fashionable, good, and liked" they were. The result? "Maximum fashionableness is attained when outfits are neither too coordinated nor too different." In layman's terms, anything that's too coordinated—or conversely, too discordant—is inherently unfashionable, or just, not cool (who's going to break the news to Solange?!). To the scientists and researchers, the verdict is anything but surprising—it's in line with our behavioral tendency to find the balance between extremes.

For us though, it's hard to take seriously, especially after witnessing two seasons-worth (and counting) of one-shade wonders. Made popular by Lupita Nyong'o (above, left; in Calvin Klein Collection) who dominated the awards show circuit in practically every shade of the rainbow, the monochromatic movement has gained momentum on and off the red carpet, luring trend-setters like Jordana Brewster (above, center; in Max Mara) and Victoria Beckham (above, right) in its wake.

Celebrities-Color Coordinated
Getty Images, Startraksphoto, Splash News

The trend isn't exclusive to bold shades, either. Diane Kruger (in Roland Mouret), Rosario Dawson (in Roksanda Ilincic), and Jessica Szohr prove that coordinated separates peppered in prints, from sophisticated polka dots to playful fruits, are still going strong.

For the self-proclaimed stylishly challenged, science's empirical approach to fashion might be the answer. But we say, wear whatever your heart desires. Rules are meant to be broken, after all.

Click through to see all of Lupita Nyong'o looks, on and off the red carpet.

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