Sexual selection determines the elaboration of morphological and behavioural traits and thus drives the evolution of phenotypes. Sexual selection on males and females can differ between populations, especially when populations exhibit different breeding systems. A substantial body of literature describes how breeding systems shape ornamentation across species, with a strong emphasis on male ornamentation and female preference. However, whether breeding system predicts ornamentation within species and whether similar mechanisms as in males also shape the phenotype of females remains unclear. Here, we investigate how different breeding systems are associated with male and female ornamentation in five geographically distinct populations of Kentish plovers Charadrius alexandrinus.We predicted that polygamous populations would exhibit more elaborate ornaments and stronger sexual dimorphism than monogamous populations. By estimating the size and intensity of male (n=162) and female (n= 174) melanin-based plumage ornaments, i.e. breast bands and ear coverts, we show that plumage ornamentation is predicted by breeding system in both sexes. A difference in especially male ornamentation between polygamous (darker and smaller ornaments) and monogamous (lighter and larger) populations causes the greatest sexual dimorphism to be associated with polygamy. The non-social environment, however, may also influence the degree of ornamentation, for instance through availability of food. We found that, in addition to breeding system, a key environmental parameter, rainfall, predicted a seasonal change of ornamentation in a sex-specific manner. Our results emphasise that to understand the phenotype of animals, it is important to consider both natural and sexual selection acting on both males and females.