You Can be Effortlessly Chic in Brown with Black

Fashion rules like not to not to wear white after Labor Day are handed down from the older to the younger generations. They are often just adopted and never questioned. Sometimes there were reasons for a rule that don’t apply anymore. When I was a kid, my mother and grandmother taught me not to wear brown and black together. While as a kid I had to obey this rule, today I love to break it. Read and see how you can combine these colors together in effortlessly chic looks.



Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post.


How to be Effortlessly Chic in Brown with Black

The best tricks to wear black and brown together are as follow:


mature woman in effortlessly stylish brown with black sweater leather skirt outfit
Hipstik tights, Sienna Studio leather skirt, Tahari pumps, sunglasses c/o Nordgreen (use code HLSTYLE for 15% off), bag c/o R.Riveter (use code HIGHLATITUDESTYLE to save 10%).



Add Solid Black and Brown Pieces to a Piece in these Colors

The following looks illustrate this concept. In the next photo, the brown-black cropped top determines the hue of the shoes and  skirt for the work outfit. The colors of the coat pick up the black of the skirt that picks out and the taupe of the hat. The bag repeats the trim of the shoes. Consequently, the outwear has a combination of two different brownish colors with black.


influencer in brown with black sweater and coat, brown shoes, pantyhose, black leather skirt
Sienna Studio leather skirt, Max Mara coat, Longchamp bag, Tahari pumps, Nordgreen watch, Hipstik pantyhose, smoky quartz necklace, Fendi inspired sweater c/o Femme Luxe, Fabia hat c/o Tenth Street Hats


In this outerwear example, the zebra print determines the color of the hat, bag and shoes.

Stylist note: It is important that the brown and black of the pattern are both repeated in other items of the look.


teal dress with brown with black coat, brown pumps black cloche
Dip sweater dress, Judith Leiber belt, Hipstik pantyhose, Max Mara coat, Tahari pumps, Sam Edelman bag, Alaska jade earrings, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, cloche c/o Fashionable Hats



In the next example, the leopard print tights and top have the same color combination. A neutral is added with the jeans. The outerwear again combines what shows.


jeans with brown and black tights, sweater, coat
Tahari pumps, GNW leopard print tights, Max Mara coat, Longchamp satchel, smoky quartz belt buckle, LeatherCoatsEtc brown gloves, Taylor’s Gold’n Stone topaz earrings, Fendi-inspired cropped top and distress jeans c/o Femme Luxe


Here another example with leopard print.

Stylist in brown cardigan black dress with Russian scarf
Moda International cardigan dyed brown, GAP LBD, GNW leopard print tights, Söfft shearling booties, Gucci belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Pavlova scarf sports wooden watch c/o Jord



Style a Brown-Black Outfit Based on a Multi-Colors Print

This outfit starts with the black, beige and light brown print of the cardigan. It ties the brown and black of the pants and shoes together. The structured bag screams “I mean business” and helps keeping this outfit work appropriate in a business casual style workplace. All neutrals outfits have to have a twist to not look boring. In this case, it is the see-thru scarf.


author of how to dress for success in midlife in linen pants, cardigan sheer scarf
Oliveo linen pants with thin black stripes and side zipper, Anne Klein T-strap sling backs, Kieselstein Cord belt, H buckle, Hermes collier de chien leather band, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Bulova watch, Kate Moss for Longchamp bag, GNW abstract print cardigan worn as top, and gaze scarf


older woman in white leather pants, black blazer, tan bag
Vittori wool blazer, Newport News leather pants, GNW print cardigan, Bulova watch, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Apostrophe Mary-Janes, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Longchamp bag, and Ray Ban wayfarer sunglasses


short suit
Oliveo leather shorts and blazer, GNW tights, YSL bag, GNW cardigan, Festina watch, onyx flower ring, Harley Davidson booties, statement belt, neckerchief


stylist in work outfit with black and brown
Oliveo leather skirt and faux suede blazer, GNW cardigan, structured bag, DIY necklaces, Hermes collier de chien bracelets and unbranded heels



Create your Outfit Based on a Pattern

Glen check, plaid, hounds tooth often combine black and brown. In case of glen check and hounds tooth, use the styling concept of the two-color print explained above. Plaid often has additional colors which offer more choices which colors to add. More on how to look great with more than three colors

The brown-white shearling motorcycle jacket picks the colors of the plaid skirt up. The sweater knotted around the waist serves to add shape and at the same time is the “reserve insulation” in case it gets cold in the evening. It picks up the color of the plaid skirt, as does the black cashmere sweater, the hat, and the jacket. Keeping the jacket open as well as the boot toppers up the style factor. You can find a guide how to look mature in boot toppers at this link.


influencer in all neutral color outfit and sunglasses
Anne Klein cable knit sweater, bias plaid midi-skirt, GNW tight, booties, Bulova watch, Taylor’s Gold’n Stone smoky quartz, necklace, and boot toppers c/o My Top of the Boots


midlife blogger in effortlessly chic street style winter outerwear with brown and black
As above, but with Andrew Marcs motorcycle jacket, YSL bag, and pom-pom hat


midlife style blogger in leather vest with glen check skirt
Pendleton glen check midi skirt, GNW Luxe sweater, Esther Chen leather vest, Antonio Melani booties, GNW leopard pattern tight, and Taylor’s Gold’n Stone necklace


stylist in black and brown mixed pattern skirt, top, cardigan work look
GNW cardigan worn as top under long black GNW cardigan with plaid skirt, GNW black tights and Clark brown booties, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and DIY statement belt


mature woman wearing leopard print boots with classic glen check and a solid black sweater
Black GNW de Luxe sweater, smoky quartz necklace, Pendleton skirt, GNW tight and Manolo Blahnik boots


Wear Black and Brown Together as a Statement

The following photos provide outfit inspirations in this chic color combination.


H buckle styled with knotted belt and military dress
Zoom-in to show sleeve details, watch,  belt, and bangle


stylist in black military Victoria Victoria Beckham dress
Victoria Victoria Beckham dress, Kieselstein cord belt, H buckle, Longchamp bag, and Anne Klein T-strap pumps. The offset of the H-buckle from the center balances the knot on the other side. Since military style is associated with strong order, the knot creates a stylish twist.



midlife fashion blogger in a LBD in US 4 being happy with her size
GAP sheath, Gucci G belt, GNW tights, Clark booties, Hermes collier de chien bangle, pendant necklace



All Neutrals Looks with a Pop of Color

Here some examples of all neutrals outfit with the two colors. More on styling neutrals.


fashion blogger over 50 in black leather skirt brown blazer
Oliveo faux suede blazer, GNW cardigan as top, Oliveo plaid shirt, Kieselstein Cord belt, Siena Studio leather pencil skirt, GNW tight, Clarks booties, Hermes Medor watch, Hermes collier de chien bracelet, necklace with brooch as pendant, and YSL bag



mature style outfit details
Zoom-in on Taylor’s Gold’n Stone smoky quartz necklace and belt buckle


fashion sowing how to wear brown and black together in an office outfit
Orvis suede blazer, GNW Luxe sweater, Newport News leather pants, Gloria Vanderbilt pumps, Kieselstein Cord belt, and smoky quartz necklace



wood watch
Zoom-in on wooden sports watch c/o Jord



over 50 years old woman in LBD and green pumps
Ellen Tracy dress, Hermes collier de chien belt and bangle, Hermes Medor watch, Dooney and Brooke bag, BeBe leather jacket, Head band, Nine West pumps. The bag ties the look together.



Styling with Texture

The outerwear below is composed of a chocolate shearling coat, black hat and gloves as well as a brown bag. These items pick up the color of the tights and booties. This look demonstrates that the two colors alone can make an interesting look when you add texture (hat, shearling cuffs).


stylist in shearling coat and hat
Vittori chocolate shearling coat, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, Yves Saint Laurent bag, GNW tights, Clark booties, and beret


stylist in black and brown coat
Black and brown striped coat (thrift find), Clark booties, Michael Kors satchel, Vince leather joggers, headband, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves



Conclusion: Breaking Old Fashion Rules Is the New It

Think of brown and black as an all neutral dressy outfit and create interest with details like see-thru or texture. The easiest way to get the look right, is to start with a piece that has already the two colors in the print like the one in the gallery below.



Photos: G. Kramm

© 2013-2022 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved


Related Posts