“Never wear brown in town” is a saying derived from the men in the financial district in London. It refers to men being frowned upon for wearing brown dress shoes as opposed to the more sophisticated black. Although this unwritten rule has never traversed overseas, we have held another strict fashion faux pas involving these two colors.
Until recently, it’s been forbidden to wear brown and black together in any combination. I myself have never been a huge fan. However, when done correctly, it can create a chic look from two colors that should already be the workhorses in your wardrobe.
What Black and Brown are not:
Before getting into how to pair them together, we must first understand what black and brown are not. They are not statement pieces or wow items to 98% of your outfits. Prints and fun fabrics aside, they’re usually staple items that work well with most any color and on most skin tones.
That’s another reason why they’re hard to pair together. Neither will make an outfit pop solely as a “statement piece.” Additionally, there’s not enough contrast in the colors (especially chocolate and black) to provide the same kind of attention as pairing your outfit with red or another bright color.
As simple as 1-2-3…4
So how do you wear them together and not look like a fool? It’s simple. If you can count to 4 (I know you can) you can pull off this look flawlessly and be regarded as a style connoisseur at the same time.
When I wear these colors together I refer to each item of clothing as number, starting from the top and working my way down. It goes like this:
1’s are my outer layer of clothing such as jackets, blazers, cardigans, etc.
2’s are my shirt or top.
3’s are my trousers.
4’s are my shoes.
The key is to coordinate the color of your 1’s and 4’s (blazer and shoes) and 2’s with your 3’s (top and trousers). What this does is create balance in your overall look. Not only are you minimizing any stark contrast at your top and bottom but you’re also creating an even plane for your entire look.
If you dare feel the need to add a statement piece you’re allowed to do so with accessories. However, that is an expert sartorial move and I’d recommend starting with accessories in the same tone as the colors you have on.
Next time you’re wondering how to switch up your outfit, give it a try. It will be a welcomed opportunity to pair some staple pieces and it’ll give life to items not typically worn together.