Layering a suit jacket with a longline wool coat is guaranteed to keep you toasty, but it can sometimes look too bulky. Contrasting a black suit with a camel coat counteracts the effect.
Bit of Black
It's not mandatory to wear a 50/50 split of black and brown. Adding just a bit of one of the shades can transform an outfit. See the surprise addition of the wide-leg black trousers under the midi dress. The dark sunglasses and clutch add more inky magic.
Touch of Tawny
We've said it before and we'll say it again: There are more shades of brown to experiment with than chocolate. A basic black jacket gets kicked up a notch with a black denim and tawny fur-trimmed jacket. Finish with this season's must-have plaid pants.
The Ralph Lauren Fall 2018 fashion show was a masterclass in mixing different black and brown fabrics. The rich brown velvet blazer and bow tie plus that lightweight midi skirt have a luxurious vibe that's suitable for daytime thanks to the beanie. Bonus points to those who can find a burnished pair of boots with black and brown tones.
Traditional leopard print combines black and brown — and if Mother Nature OKs it, that's good enough for us. Take the look further with a patent black ruffled mini and chunky black boots. When the temperature dips, add tights.
Not entirely convinced about combining black and brown pieces? Stick with one neutral for your clothes and the other for accessories. This combination of a brown satin dress and black accessories will make anyone a believer. Note how the shine of the frock is echoed in the scarf and patent boots.
This cozy outfit is a lesson in new layering rules as well as how to mix black and brown. Topping cropped flares with a roomy brown coat creates a balanced silhouette.
Naturally, the ever-stylish Olivia Palermo would come up with her own take on mixing black and brown. Not satisfied with two neutrals, she added white plus dusty pink — two hues we'd argue round out a team of neutrals. Her fabric mixing game is strong, with the fuzzy coat, patent skinny pants and sequined black top.
Refresh an athleisure look with tailored black pants and a tawny blazer. If the jacket is embellished, even better. You can still sport chunky sneakers and a turtleneck. And of course, baby blue sunglasses are highly encouraged.
Wearing a black and brown suit isn't cheating. If you can find pieces that do the neutral mixing for you, take advantage. Tortoiseshell sunnies echo the palette mixing and a red lip pulls it all together.
Beyond Basic Black
Forget trying to coordinate different shades of black — just rock faded black skinny jeans with a fuzzy-trimmed brown jacket and white boots. Craving something more? Apply a vivid lipstick for a pop of color.
Black and brown naturally have a decadent, saturated quality that is enhanced with luxurious fabrics like velvet. Ralph Lauren provided fresh inspiration for going out with a black velvet top, hickory velvet pants, a snakeskin belt and patchwork coat. It's a glamorous bohemian look that's supremely chic and, gasp, comfortable.
Three neutrals are better than one. Mix some white into a black and tawny combination for a refreshing effect. A simple white T-shirt tempers a patent skirt and coat for day.
Don't be afraid to add prints into the black-and-brown mix. One subtle way to do so is via a pinstripe dress. Highlight the stripes with a white bag and finish with trendy slouchy boots in brown.
In the Details
A look like this will make you forget you ever thought black and brown couldn't be mixed.
Some people see neutrals as boring, but no one would ever call this outfit dull. The leopard print coat makes a roaring statement on its own. It's subtly enhanced by the baker boy hat and sunglasses with cinnamon lenses.
The Michael Kors Fall 2018 runway showed that a more understated approach to mixing black and brown can still deliver. The slits in the black dress reveal a flash of brown leopard boots with every step.
Bit of Everything
Outfits that combine opposing elements often have the biggest impact, and that rings true with this ensemble. It combines multiple styles, fabrics and shades of black and brown. The bright blue bag provides just the right amount of playfulness.
Patch It Up
With a statement jacket like this, the mixing of black and brown is a no-brainer. Amplify the look by merging unexpected pieces like chunky boots and a tassel-adorned skirt.
There's no need to overthink mixing brown and black. Just go with what feels natural. Take a cue from this model-off-duty way to mix the shades. The timeless combination of a graphic T-shirt, ripped black jeans, a cozy brown coat and black ankle boots brings in the colors without looking contrived.
Some perfect pairings just make sense and should not be questioned, like peanut butter and jelly and salt and pepper. The same goes for fashion. Consider jeans and a T-shirt, a structured jacket with tailored pants and neutral bottoms with a colorful top. They’re no-fail looks that always deliver, hence their appeal. One chic pairing that some may forget about is combining black and brown, and we say that it’s time that changed.
Black is a timeless, sophisticated shade that dominates many of our wardrobes. And brown is a rich, equally versatile hue. When combined, we get something effortless and chic without having to worry about whether our colors match; these two neutrals will always play well together.
For the record, brown doesn’t simply mean chocolate brown. We get the luxurious appeal of a deep, rich brown and stark black, but there are many brown shades that will work, from café au lait to fawn. Similarly, black isn’t restricted to blackest black. Experiment with different tones, from faded ones to blue-based blacks. And don’t overlook how different fabrics and finishes can take a lewk to the next level. Think: patent fabrics, sequins, fuzzy accents and arts and crafts embellishments.
One of the simplest ways to experiment with mixing black and brown is with traditional animal prints. Given the current popularity of snakeskin, tiger and leopard prints, you can tick off two trends in one chic look. If you’re going in this direction, we encourage you to mix different patterns and incorporate solid pieces for a multidimensional look that truly slays.
Click through the gallery to see 21 elegant ways to combine black and brown that definitely aren’t boring.
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