Do you own a closet full of black, brown, grey, and brown outfits and neutral clothing? If so, why not try and mix up your wardrobe by combing multiple neutrals into one outfit? (Who says you need color?)
You’d be surprised at how often we are asked, “is it OK to wear black and brown together” (or black and navy, navy and brown, and so on). So today we’re here to demystify the process.
Although sometimes considered a fashion faux pas, it’s actually fine to wear neutral clothing with other neutrals. You’ll still match and look super-stylish.
Check out these three neutral clothing outfits for ideas on mixing neutrals in a look:
The 3 Best Ways to Wear Multiple Neutrals Together
Breaking the Barrier: Black & Brown
Although wearing black and brown together is often considered to be one of the biggest fashion “don’ts,” we all know that fashion rule is outdated.
This particular color combination is actually what inspired me to write this article. When done right, black and brown look surprisingly chic together in the same outfit.
For this look, I took a basic black high waisted jean and added a light brown sweater. This brown teddy coat adds a bit of trendiness to the look but is also perfect for when the weather starts getting a little chillier.
The black Michael Kors boots are a bit pricey but they will be in your closet forever. You can match these boots with literally any outfit and for any event. Going to a meeting with your advisor, fall brunch and shopping with the girls, or even just regular class? Rock these boots and you’ll look 10/10.
The zipper on the side of the boots matches with the light tortoiseshell pattern on the bag. These little details help tie in all of the brown in the outfit. The bag also adds a textural contrast to the look.
A Trendy Approach: Camel & Gray
If you’re a girl who loves trends, try mixing two classic fall colors — gray and camel — into a single outfit. The result creates a classic, yet fashion-forward look.
- Sweater – Banana Republic Factory
- Pants – Express
- Coat – Shein
- Sneakers (similar) – Amazon
- Bag – Ted Baker
Camel coats are always essential for the fall/ winter. You can use them to add class to any outfit, whether dressy or just a bit more than causal.
For example, in this set, I paired the coat with some gray trousers. It’s nice to invest in a pair of dress pants like these because besides styling them into a semi-chic outfit, you can use them for any business casual setting.
The light gray sweater is perfect before it gets exceptionally cold out — it’s such an early to mid fall staple.
Next up, the beige sneakers are perfect if you are not in the mood to wear booties or a slight heel. You might initially think they’re too casual but thanks to the dressier nature of the coat and the bag, the sneakers actually look balanced.
Like I said before, the bag really uplifts the outfit, matching perfectly with the pants and bringing the whole look together.
Going All Out: Gray, Navy & Black
After mastering the art of mixing two neutrals, try combining three (or more!) neutrals into a single outfit.
This can work for a multitude of different color combinations, but I decided to work with two shades that aren’t often paired together — black and navy — with some splashes of gray.
It might seem unusual to pair all three of these colors together. But as you can see, they actually all flow and look cohesive in this look.
Having basic pants like these black jeans sets the outfit and then you can add this gray sweater for contrast. It is not fitted, giving the whole piece a cozier look.
This double-breasted navy coat makes the outfit chicer and adds that navy contrast for interest.
Now to tie in all of the other pieces — a black tote bag and some black booties help to even out the other neutrals and ground the outfit.
This is a perfect look for fall when you don’t want to cave in and wear head-to-toe black, like so many of us tend to do. Instead, just take these three colors and be a little more unique!
Tips On How to Pair Neutral Colors (Black, Grey & Brown)
1. Pay Attention To Contrast
As much as we love our neutral colors like grey and brown, it’s important to remember to pay attention to contrast when pairing shades like these. Wearing colors that are too similar in the shade can result in a bland and boring outfit.
To avoid this, mix things up by either mixing varying shades of neutrals (like a dark charcoal gray and a light camel brown), or pairing your neutrals with brighter colors or patterns. This will help add some visual interest to your look and make it more eye-catching.
Paying attention to contrast is also important when it comes to choosing accessories. If you’re wearing a neutral-colored outfit, consider adding a pop of color with your shoes or handbag. This will help add some extra personality to your look and make it more unique.
So next time you’re putting together an outfit, remember to mix things up and pay attention to contrast. It’ll make all the difference!
2. Consider Seasonality And Formality
If you’re thinking about what colors to wear for your grey and brown outfits, consider the seasonality and formality of the occasion. For instance, grey and brown can look great together during the fall and winter months, but may not be as great a choice for a summer wedding.
It’s also important to consider the setting. Generally, black and white read as more formal than grey or brown. That said, grey and brown can be dressed up or down depending on the event. Just be sure to consider the context before deciding what to wear.
3. Consider Wearing Dark Shoes
If you’re looking for a way to change up your grey and brown outfits, for instance, consider wearing dark brown shoes. This can help add some contrast and make your outfit more interesting. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your style.
In general, a darker shoe works well with an outfit that’s comprised of a bunch of neutrals. This is not a hard and fast rule, though — sometimes a bright white boot, for instance, can provide a ton of needed contrast.
What do you think of these outfits and neutral clothing in general?
For more on this, be sure to check out our guide to styling white and beige outfits.
Do you like mixing neutrals? What’s your favorite neutral clothing combination? Which outfit is your favorite? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!
If you liked this article about grey and brown outfits, consider checking out these other articles below —
- How to Wear Black & Grey Denim
- How to Wear Dark Colors in the Summer
- How to Find Your Perfect Colors
- 4 Cute Ways to Wear Brown Ankle Boots
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2010; it was completely updated and revamped in 2022 with new photos and information.