Q. Hey Jordan!
I just bought a black dress, and wanted to know if I could wear it with brown boots. I know you’re not supposed to mix black and brown but…really?
A. I pay about as much attention to the don’t-mix-black-and-brown “rule” as I do to the one that says that you can’t wear white after Labor Day. Which is zero.
(Fun factoid: apparently InStyle agrees, because they sent out a press release stating that “a recent poll conducted by InStyle [found that] an overwhelming majority of their readers declared the old adage of ‘never wearing white after Labor Day’ to be an irrelevant and outdated styling rule.” So there you go.)
For your particular question, my answer would be to add at least one more brown element besides the boots, like a brown belt or cardigan. To tie the look together, consider including at least one two-tone piece, like a leopard bangle or a black-and-brown colorblock handbag.
More ideas (and tips) for black-and-brown pairings below!
While winter is still hanging around, try pairing skinny black jeans or leggings with rugged brown ankle boots and a sweater, and once spring starts making an appearance try a black t-shirt dress with brown knee-high boots and wood-and-gold accessories. (Product info here.)
- If you’re wary of looking mismatched, go for lighter shades of brown; the contrast will appear more deliberate.
- On the other hand, I love the look of layered blacks and espresso browns; it’s very warm and chic.
- Include a tortoiseshell or leopard piece in your look: the black-and-brown spots will tie everything together.
- If your goal is to look elegant and professional, make sure that the browns match (like the girl on the far right, above); if you want an edgier look, try layering different shades and including some two-tone pieces (like Olivia Palermo on the far left, above).
- Make sure to wear at least two brown pieces in an all-black look (for example, brown boots and a brown belt, or a brown purse and a brown cardigan; one brown piece thrown into an all-black outfit can look like an afterthought.
- That said: who cares? I wear a brown leather belt with my black t-shirt and black jeans all the time, and I love how it looks. When it comes to fashion, my feeling is if you wear it with confidence, you’re good.