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Fashion rules are handed down from the older to the younger generation. They are often just adopted and never questioned. Sometimes there were reasons for a rule, but they don’t apply anymore. This post shows that a look can be effortlessly chich in brown with black. Read and see how to pull off the look.

  1. Break Old Fashion Rules
  2. How to be Effortlessly Chic in Brown with Black
  3. A Brown-black Outfit Explained
  4. Wearing Black and Brown Together as a Statement
  5. Effortlessly Chic  Brown with Black Outfit Ideas
  6. Conclusion: Breaking Old Fashion Rules Is the New It

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Break Old Fashion Rules

When I was a kid, my mother and grandmother taught me various fashion rules. One of them was never wear brown and black together. While as a kid I had to obey this rule, today I love to break it. I like to combine this fake suede brown blazer with my black pencil leather skirt. Another old fashioned style rule I like to break is not to wear white after Labor Day.

mature work outfit

mature style outfit details

fashion sowing how to wear brown and black together in an  office outfit
Outfit details: Orvis suede blazer over GNW Luxe sweater, Newport News leather pants, Gloria Vanderbilt pumps, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, and statement necklace (all own)


How to be Effortlessly Chic in Brown with Black

The best tricks to wear black and brown together are as follow:

  • Find a piece that already has the two colors and work from there.
  • Start with a leopard or animal print that have both colors and work from there. For a guide on how to look ageless in animal print see the post at the link.
  • Take inspiration from nature for your Look of the Day.
  • Doing so is the most easy and safest way to get the look right.
  • Stay with neutrals when adding another color, i.e. avoid bold or bright colors.
  • Go for a medium or light brown.
  • Try chocolate and black. Stylist’s note: This is the hardest, but most sophisticated look to pull off.

styleist in a little black dress as a business casual outfit

Söfft booties and GNW leopard print tight details

wood watch

Gucci belt

Stylist in brown cardigan black dress with Russian scarf
Outfit details: Moda International cardigan dyed brown, GAP little black dress, GNW leopard print tights, Söfft shearling booties, Gucci belt, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Pavlova scarf (all own) sports wooden watch c/o Jord


A Brown-black Outfit Explained

When wearing brown and black together, go for browns that are on the medium to light side. The cardigan has a black, beige and light brown print which ties the brown and black of the blazer and skirt and the beige and black of the shoes together. To give the outfit some further edge – in addition to wearing black and brown together – I wore my studded heels. The structured bag screams “I mean business” and helps keeping this outfit work appropriate in a casual workplace. To up the style factor, roll up the sleeves.

stylist in work outfit with black and brown
Outfit details: Oliveo leather skirt and faux suede blazer, GNW cardigan, structured bag, DIY necklaces with glass polished by the Rhine river, Hermes collier de chien bracelets and unbranded studded heels (all own)

Wearing Black and Brown Together as a Statement

Another way to wear brown and black together is to make use of a pattern that encompasses the colors like in the example look the plaid skirt. The brown white shearling motorcycle jacket picks the colors up. The sweater knotted around the waist serves to add shape and at the same time is the “reserve insulation” in case it gets cold in the evening. It picks up the color of the plaid skirt, as does the black cashmere sweater, the hat, and the jacket. Keeping the jacket open as well as the boot toppers up the style factor. You can find a guide how to look mature in boot toppers at this link.

influencer in all neutral color outfit and sunglasses
Anne Klein cable knit cashmere sweater, bias plaid skirt, GNW tight, booties (all own) and boot toppers c/o My Top of the Boots



midlife blogger in effortlessly chic street style winter outerwear with brown and black
Outfit details: Andrew Marcs motorcycle jacket, GNW and unbranded cashmere sweaters, plaid skirt, GNW tights, booties, Yves Saint Laurent bag, Ray Ban sunglasses, smoky quartz necklace and bracelet, Hermes collier de chien bangle (all own) and boot toppers c/o Top of the Boot


Effortlessly Chic Brown with Black Outfit Ideas

The following photos provide outfit inspirations in this chic color combination. All neutrals outfits have to have a twist to not look boring. In this look of the day, the see-thru scarf is the twist.

author of how to dress for success in midlife in linen pants, cardigan sheer scarf
Oliveo custom-made linen pants with side zipper, Anne Klein T-strap slingbacks, Kieselstein Cord belt, H buckle, Hermes collier de chien leather band, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Bulova watch, Kate Moss for Longchamp bag, GNW abstract print cardigan worn as top, and gaze scarf (all own)


Ditch old fashion rules. Brown and black look great together. #fashionover50 Click To Tweet
fashion blogger over 50 in black leather skirt brown blazer
Details:  Oliveo faux suede blazer, GNW cardigan worn as top, Oliveo plaid shirt, Kieselstein Cord belt and three horses buckle, Siena Studio leather pencil skirt, GNW tight, Clarks booties, Hermes Medor watch, Hermes collier de chien bracelet, necklace with brooch attached as pendant, and YSL bag (all own)

The following inspiration is a fall business casual look. Yes, you can wear white after Labor Day. Another old-fashioned rule to break. In this look, the key piece is the cardigan that ties the separates together.

older woman in white leather pants, black blazer, tan bag
Outfit details: Vittori wool blazer, white Newport News leather pants, and GNW print cardigan, Bulova watch, Kieselstein Cord belt and buckle, Apostrophe Mary-Janes, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Kate Moss for Longchamp bag, and Ray Ban wayfarer sunglasses (all own)


over 50 years old woman in LBD and green pumps

stylist wearing black, brown and green together

LBD with motorcycle jacket
Details: Ellen Tracy dress, Nine West pumps, Dooney Brouke bag, collier de chien belt, Medor watch, head band, and BeBe leather jacket (all own)


stylist in black and brown mixed pattern skirt, top, cardigan work look
Printed GNW cardigan worn as top under long black GNW cardigan with plaid skirt, GNW black tights and Clark brown booties, accessorized with DIY statement belt (all own)


short suit
Oliveo leather shorts, Oliveo faux suede blazer, GNW tights, YSL bag, GNW cardigan, Festina watch, onyx flower ring, Harley Davidson booties, statement belt (all own)


H buckle styled with knotted belt and military dress

stylist in black military Victoria Victoria Beckham dress
Wearing brown and black together to twist a classic outfit. Victoria Victoria Beckham military dress with tan Kieselstein cord belt, H buckle, tan Kate Moss for Longchamp bag, Hermes collier de chien bangle, and Anne Klein tan T-strap pumps. The offset of the H-buckle from the center balances the knot on the other side. Since military is associated with strong order, the knot gives a stylish twist to the outfit.


Styling Outerwear

Outerwear is an outfit too. Always make sure that what shows from your “indoor look” and your coat, jacket or cape plus shoes, bag and accessories also make a nice outfit. Don’t miss this styling opportunity. The outerwear in the photo below is composed of a short chocolate brown shearling coat, black hat and gloves as well as a brown bag. They pick up the color of the tights and booties. This look demonstrates that the two colors alone can make an interesting look when you add texture like the hat, shearling cuffs.

stylist in shearling coat and hat
Vittori chocolate brown shearling coat, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves, Yves Saint Laurent bag, GNW tights, Clark booties, and beret (all own)


stylist in black and brown coat
Black and brown striped coat (thrift find), Clark booties, Michael Kors satchel, Vince leather joggers, headband, LeatherCoatsEtc gloves (all own)


Conclusion: Breaking Old Fashion Rules Is the New It

Think of brown and black as an all neutral dressy outfit and create interest with details like see-thru or texture. The easiest way to get the look right, is to start with a piece that has already the two colors in the print.

Breaking old-fashion rules is the new It. #effortlesslychic #styletips Click To Tweet

Do you break old fashion rules? Do you wear brown and black together?

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Photos: G. Kramm

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