July 27, 2014

Can You Wear Black with Brown? Frugal Fashionista

Mar16

When I decided early on to be a Fashionista who dresses in second hand designer clothes, I knew that all the typical fashion rules couldn’t always apply. For instance, rules that change season to season are things that typically won’t impact me. By the time I get around to purchasing that newest “must have” fashion accessory, it’s either here to stay and I found it at a yard sale,  or it’s been determined that the fad didn’t catch on.

Traditionally in life, I am a big time “rule follower.”

But every once in awhile, rules were meant to be broken, and this fashion rule was one of them. For years, the undertone in the fashion world has been to avoid black with browns, but I’m glad to see that tide turning.

Wearing black and browns together open up so many more possibilities in ones wardrobe.

 

Brown Sweater Top  – $4 Goodwill
Eddie Bauer Black Jeans – $5 Goodwill (amazing, since I never find great jeans at GW)
Black Limited Shirt – $1 yard sale
Accessories – necklaces, earrings and bracelet – $4 yard sale

Since black and browns are both neutral, they do work well together, but you have to be deliberate in pairing them.

Last year when I was in Miami with TJ Maxx, I was trying on a few asymmetrical sweaters. As the stylist passed by me, he mentioned, “Oh, I just love black with brown.” It was definitely a random comment, and I wasn’t intending to be deliberate in that, but it stuck out in my mind as a fashion recommendation I wanted to experiment with some more.

assymetrical sweater TJ Maxx The Asymmetrical Sweater: Frugal Fashionista

I’ve only recently started wearing browns, and am thrilled to see the additional options it brings in my wardrobe.

This latest long, funky sweater I found at Goodwill for $4. It’s comfy and different, but not the most flattering. It’s ok, I am enjoying it anyhow.

Many long necklaces worn together is really popular right now, and every time I see someone who chooses to accessorize like that, I love it, yet I’m always a bit nervous to wear them myself. WHY? I finally told myself it was crazy, and put two brown $1 yard sale necklaces together.

Here’s what I found out by experimenting. By themselves, the necklaces looked kind of off, and sat in my jewelry box unloved all year, but put together, they look like they belonged. It dressed up the outfit, and paired with two more accessories found at yard sale finds – my earring and cool bracelet, the accessories pulled the outfit together.

As I began noticing browsing fashion looks that caught my eye, I realized that these tall, brown boots with a LBD (little black dress) kept popping up. You all know my horrible addiction to LBD’s and now, just by copying other people’s creativity, I have a new look to try out.

If the celebrities are wearing black and browns together, so can we. Although the really light shoes with those black jeans? That’s definitely NOT deliberate, and I highly recommending replacing them with some boots or if you desire to stay with the heel/skinny jean look, go with black heels with black jeans, or at least dark brown shoes with black jeans.

source

I would wear all the pieces in this collage (minus that one large rip on the thigh). Those tall boots with those jeans, jacket and belt? Love it!

I’m posting this example of black worn with brown ( even thought I don’t love it) because these Banana Republic Leather boots in like new condition, is still, to this day, one of my best finds, and I do wear them with a black skirt.  Obviously, there are better options, but sometimes, it’s “good enough,” and overall look is fine so the boots don’t stand out as much.

When I posted about easy it is to wear monochromatic colors, I was in all brown, and yes, ten pounds thinner (ARG – mad at myself), but I would easily throw a black jacket or sweater on this outfit as well. Long black accessories? Absolutely!

browns opt Help Me, Help You...Frugal Fashionista  dressforless opt2 Help Me, Help You...Frugal Fashionista

So, are you convinced at all to break the “Wearing Black with Brown” fashion rule?

There are still going to be those few that stand back and think, “Hmm, she does not match,” but then again, what fun would it be if we all dressed the same? Someone has to daring. When you dress confidently, it’s amazing how just that attitude pulls it all together. :)


Comments

  1. Absolutely! I just wore a dress with a black cardigan and brown belt and shoes to a fashion conference and no one blinked an eye.

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  2. Yes!! I wear black and brown together all the time!! my color and small print loving friends call me neutral girl:)

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  3. I love wearing brown and black. Brown goes well with so many colors.

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  4. OK, this is it. I just totally cleaned out my closets a few months back and am faced with chaperoning a San Francisco Symphony children’s concert tomorrow. We will probably have to stand outside in the rain for awhile before we go in, and I was wracking my brain trying to figure out something warm/appropriate to wear without buying anything new (seriously depleted wardrobe here). Voila! Black skinnies, tall brown boots, black tee, brown sweater, green scarf (so I don’t get pinched). Seriously, you just saved my day tomorrow.

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    Jen Reply:

    Yea! Glad you are set for a fun day tomorrow. :)

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  5. JennyRose says:

    Great post! Warm colors flatter me so I have a lot in the brown family. I love black however and it just makes me feel chic and strong. One thing I have done is buy scarves that match both brown and black to maximize their matching potential. I plan to use those scarves to pull together by browns and blacks as well.

    Thanks!

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  6. I love your fashionista series! I like black with brown–it seems like it makes the brown look richer because the black just sort of recedes. I also think your two necklaces together look great. I’m just getting into chunkier necklaces and love how they instantly elevate an outfit.

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  7. I think the tan boots look good with the black skirt because they are in a tone that matches your skin plus your hair. So you still looked pulled together head to toe because you are starting (hair) with a color in the same family as you end with (boots).

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  8. I think you can definitely wear black and brown and look great. I think the only thing would be you wouldn’t want to wear a really dark brown with black because then they would be too close to the same color, but all of your options look great.

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  9. I absolutely wear black with brown. I think it’s a great color combo. I love the trend of layering necklaces recently. Fun!

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  10. Haha. I can’t do it. I can’t! My husband every now again will mix the colors (his whole closet is brown and black) and I cringe. I like my blacks and browns just not together. ;)

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    Heather Reply:

    Oh Sarah – me too! I can’t put them together – I just can’t! I’m glad I’m not the only one who cringes – but now that I know it’s a new fashion trend, I won’t be so shocked to see that combo out and walking around! Honestly, I still hear my Mum in my mind ‘ Choose one neutral or basic – never two dear’!

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  11. Kerry D. says:

    I love the discussion–yes, black with brown, love the series and love the examples… except the last one–the long skirt, skimming t-shirt, in faded black, with textured brown boots. I just didn’t think it did justice to you and your great shape. Maybe a looser fitting top with that skirt. Or, the sleek t-shirt with a shorter skirt that has some fullness and bounce. I think it needs some contrast. And maybe more saturated blacks.

    Yay! Please keep up the good work. Especially here in the South Bay (south of SF, CA) fashion is nearly dead as everyone goes around in baggy clothes and flip flops. Everyone, let’s have fun with our fashion, express our real personalities instead of hiding, and just plain look awesome!

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  12. Sue @ House Pretty says:

    I must be SO out of the loop. I have been shopping at thrift stores my whole adult life, and even though I have never worn brown because I never thought it looked very good on me, pasty white skin and all, I actually never knew that black and brown together was a fashion no-no. Shame on me!

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  13. When I was growing up, it was forbidden – forbidden I tell you! – to wear black with brown. Then, six years ago I moved to the Midwest where they apparently had not gotten that memo, or they just didn’t care (pioneer spirit and all – you know?). Black and brown was all the rage and I just did not know what to do. Seriously. But eventually, it began to grow on me and before I knew it, I was sporting the formerly forbidden combo myself.

    So now I’m wondering…how soon before we can wear white before Labor Day?

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    Diana Reply:

    That’s funny–I knew “never” to put black with brown, but didn’t know to stay away from white before Easter! Well, I knew not to wear an all-white dress, but what about white cardigan sweaters, or a black and white top? Fashion is too funny :)

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  14. I love how you pulled them together with the jewelry. I think they look great together for something different. The title of this post made me laugh as my 4 year old daughter had just corrected her 8 year old sister the other day when she came out with a black/brown outfit. “Don’t you know you don’t wear black and brown together?” Seems I have a future fashionista on my hands!

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    Jen Reply:

    Now THAT is funny. AT four she knew that? Impressive. Well, now you’ll have to correct her. ;)

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  15. Julie Schaal says:

    Black and brown is a longtime staple of the very chic. Same with black and navy! In terms of color, black is the result of all the colors on the color wheel mixed so that is why it really does go with everything :)

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  16. I love it when you post one of the fashionista series, and you always look SO good! I also love black and brown together and have a favorite blazer with both colors…sort if ties everything together. By the way, I also did the 30 day shred. Did you ever publish your results after the 30 days? I don’t remember seeing them.

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    Jen Reply:

    I never did a final result except a post that shared me finishing strong and feeling amazing. I was in such good shape, toned etc and then I didn’t do another thing, and have gained everything back I lost, plus some. SO…..you know that in the next few weeks, I will be starting up again. Not every day, but just being more intentional because this winter, I seriously didn’t do anything. UGH! It’s always a cycle. And thanks for saying that about the Fashionista series, because it’s harder and harder for me to post seeing the difference in my weight, but it’s real life. :)

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  17. Marcee Rodgers says:

    I personally don’t like it on me, but you look INCREDIBLE. Now the one I think everyone should avoid is black with navy.

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  18. This is hilarious–and perfect timing–because the other day I tried on an outfit that included both black and brown (I don’t remember what it was exactly). I thought, “Wow! Does that almost not even look too bad?!!” I was shocked to think that some blacks and browns can go together quite comfortably. I didn’t end up wearing it, because I didn’t realize it was becoming less taboo, but I just might now :)

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  19. Tim Gunn, the lord of classic style, has said in many magazine interviews that black and brown is one of the chicest color combinations out there. Kudos to you for your intuitive style moxie!

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  20. Lisa Stice says:

    one of my favorite color combinations. I absolutely love black and brown.

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  21. Love the black and brown combination too. Grey and brown looks really nice together too, especially if the brown is a rich dark one!

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  22. I often wear a chocolate brown top with black trousers and shoes to work. If it’s a bit chilly I throw a black cardi over the top. Sometimes I get negative comments about the colour combo from the local “fashionista”, but the reality is that that old rule went out the window several years ago, so I’m not bothered!

    Never thought about wearing two long strands with it, but that would really tie it all together. I’ll have to go on the hunt… :-)

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  23. Hi Jen, it may be too late to post a comment on this topic, but I think a wide black or brown belt would looking smashing over that brown goodwill sweater that you said wasn’t the most flattering. If you place the belt right below the breast on the seam that is already there it would cover the seam and add more of a shape to the sweater. Just a thought!

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    Sandy Reply:

    @Himilce, Great idea!

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  24. You made a comment about the light shoes with dark jeans. I’m pretty sure that was intentional on her part…nude colored heels are in, and combined with a pair of skinny jeans (even dark ones), you have a hot new spring trend.

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  25. I love the black dress and brown jacket with the scarf! You said now you would change it, I love everything about it, just the way you were wearing it! It is my favorite on the page. You look wonerful in it! Thanks for your ideas!
    By the way, I know just what you mean about those 10 pounds. Arg is right! I’m mad at myself too!

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  26. Hosanna says:

    I’m going to agree with a previous poster and say that nude shoes are SO IN right now. So the celeb wearing them with the skinny black pants is spot on for the trend. Nude heels do a lot to “lighten up” black pants in the spring and summer. That’s how I’m wearing them, anyway!

    I also mix black and brown and love it.

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