Can You Wear Black + Brown?

{the do’s and don’ts of wearing black and brown}

A wonderful reader recently wrote in wondering whether black and brown can really be worn at the same time.  He is right to wonder – while black and brown can be worn together, there are certain rules that should be followed.

First, in a professional context, when wearing black and brown, wear a lighter brown so that the contrast is obvious.  Wearing black and chocolate, without incorporating a print combining the two, will look unintentional.

Casually, the rules are far more relaxed.  Take Desiree’s recent outfit combining a black and brown striped tee with sea foam pants.  So cute and totally appropriate for weekend wear.

House of Marbury - Black and Brown

[Photo credit and Camel Pea Coat available here.]

Second, when wearing black and brown, wear more than one piece in each color.  In other words, if you’re wearing a black dress and brown boots, for example, consider adding a brown belt, brown bag, brown scarf or brown jewelry.  Again, this will make the combination look intentional.


[Photo credit here.]

Third, wearing animal prints and furs is an excellent way to mix black and brown.  And, wearing all black + an animal print shoe is most certainly appropriate and encouraged!

House of Marbury - black brown and animal print

[Photo credit here.]

Fourth, if you own a chocolate suit, wear it with a neutral or lighter brown shoe instead of black.

house of marbury - brown suit brown shoes

[Photo credit here.]

Fifth, if you’re wearing black shoes, you must absolutely wear a black belt.  Wearing black shoes and a brown belt is a big no-no.

house of marbury - incorrect-brown-belt-black-shoes

[Photo credit here.]

Finally, mixing a variety of  browns + black is totally chic and seasonally appropriate.


[Photo credit here and here.]

Do you mix black and brown?  What tips and tricks do you use for pulling off the look?

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