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.
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How to be Effortlessly Chic in Brown with Black
The best tricks to wear black and brown together are as follow:
- Find a piece that already has the two colors as a print or pattern and work from there. Doing so is the most easy and safest way to get the look right because a designer had picked the color combination.
- Take inspiration from nature. Start with an animal print that have both colors and work from there. More on how to look ageless in animal print.
- Go for two or three pieces in solid brown and solid black in a color blocking way, and add a third neutral color, i.e. avoid bold or bright colors.
- Go for a medium or light brown.
- Try chocolate and black. Stylist’s note: This is the hardest, but most sophisticated look to pull off.
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.
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.
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.
Here another example with leopard print.
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.
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.
Wear Black and Brown Together as a Statement
The following photos provide outfit inspirations in this chic color combination.
All Neutrals Looks with a Pop of Color
Here some examples of all neutrals outfit with the two colors. More on styling neutrals.
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).
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
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