Fashion Challenge: Wear Black and Brown Together

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Black and brown outfit

Here at CF, we love to break the rules, especially when it comes to fashion. And we’re sure you’ve probably heard your mom, aunt, or stuffy friend repeat one of the most pervasive old rules, “never mix black and brown in an outfit.” So, in the spirit of fashion risk taking, this week’s challenge is to squash that dated fashion rule, and create a fabulous outfit containing both of these colors!

Breaking this “rule” is not new to celebrities, as seen in the photos above. So if you’re feeling on-edge about trying this look, let these examples calm your nerves. After all, if celebs like Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and Kate Moss all break the “rules” and win fashion points, you certainly can, too!

Ready to rock this week’s challenge? Read on for ideas!

Tips and Tricks for Mixing Brown and Black

  • Remember that neutrals go with everything! I don’t know who decided that certain neutrals shouldn’t be mixed and matched. Neutrals, after all, go with every color, including each other.
  • Try a lighter shade of brown. It’s easiest to pull of a black and brown outfit when you utilize shades of camel, taupe, or nude. These create a nice contrast with the black.
  • Try it with leopard print. This classic print contains both black and brown, so building an outfit around it will be a cinch.
  • Wear black tights with brown boots. It’s an easy and practical way to tackle the challenge.
  • Chocolate brown and black is the combination that’s probably hardest to pull off, but you’ll look great as long as you wear it with confidence!

Outfit Inspiration

Outfit 1: Leather Jacket and Dress Combo

How to wear black and brown - outfit with a black dress and brown jacket

Jacket, Dress, Boots, Tights, Ring

A black fitted dress will look awesome with a camel-colored motorcycle jacket. Add interest with lace tights and Sherpa-lined boots. Finish with a foxy ring.

Outfit 2: Sweater and Boots

How to wear black and brown together - outfit with a black jacket and brown accessories

Sweater, Earrings, Boots, Belt, Jeans

A black sweater with brown accessories is an easy way to try this week’s challenge using items you probably already own. Don’t worry, the shades of brown don’t have to match each other — that’s another silly old fashion rule! Finish with some simple earrings.

Outfit 3: Aviator Jacket and Jeans

How to wear black and brown together - outfit with a brown jacket and black pants

Jacket, Jeans, Scarf, Boots, Beanie

This season, shearling aviator jackets are so hot! Don’t be afraid to pair a brown one with a pair of black jeans, especially a funky pair like these! Finish the look with boots, a beanie, and a warm scarf.

CF Reader Looks

Here are challenge outfits sent in by CF readers like you. If you want to see your look featured here, too, read the instructions below for sending in your outfit photos!

Caitlin – San Francisco, CA

Caitlin, a college fashionista from San Francisco

“I’m wearing a camel colored cardigan here, paired with a simple black skirt and a black ruffled tank.  To break up the black, I am wearing a brown belt and brown boots, too.  It’s hard to see in the picture, but I’m also wearing gold glitter tights to bring out some brown-ish tones.  Definitely will be wearing this color combo in the future!”

To see more of Caitlin’s fabulous style, check out her blog, A Case of Cait.

Took the Challenge? Send Us Your Photos!

Did you wear an outfit with brown and black pieces this week? Send your photos in at fashionchallenge AT collegefashion.net along with your name, school, a description of what you’re wearing, and the URL of your blog if you have one. We’ll feature these pictures here to inspire other CF readers!!

Thoughts?

Are you going to take the challenge, or do you already mix brown and black on a regular basis? Do you think this is a fashion rule we should follow? What other fashion rules do you follow, or you think can be broken? What challenges would you like to see in the future? Let us know with a comment!

22 thoughts on “Fashion Challenge: Wear Black and Brown Together”

  1. neutrals dont get along with other neutrals… they dont compliment each other… a very light shade of grey might work… but pure black with brown is an eye sore…

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  2. HI I HAVE A COUPLE QUESTIONS MY GIRLS AND I ARE GOING OUT TONIGHT AND I WAS GOING TO WEAR A BLACK LONG SLEVE WITH BLUE JEANS AND MY BROWN JAKET WITH MY BROWN BOOTS .. WILL THAT LOOK ALRIGHT ???? I NEVER REALLY MIX BROWN AnD BLACK BUT I WANT TO WEAR THE BOOTS ! CAN YOU PLEASE HELP THANKS JESSICA

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  3. I did this today! Brown, tall leather boots with a mostly black ensemble, and a brown/white/black plaid scarf to tie things together. Got some compliments and definitely will try it again.

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  4. Whoever invented that rule is completely ridiculous. Especially the one about wearing black, brown, and blue together. It can look good, folks!(: As proven by this article.

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  5. I never even heard about this rule until I started watching What Not to Wear and they said it was an old-fashioned rule. So I’ve only ever known this as an acceptable thing to do. I love all of these outfits. Except Outfit #3 doesn’t have a shirt.

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  6. I’ve usually avoided wearing black and brown together but a few weeks ago nothing seemed to go with a chocolate brown skirt I own. I just ended up wearing a black shirt and quite a few friends complimented me on the outfit. So I guess it’s a pretty good combination after all. But then again, it depends on outfit itself too.

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  7. This is definitely the hardest rule for me to break. It has been ingrained in my mind since I was little!! However I really want to try it. Its torture worrying about not mixing the two!!

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  8. I am so into this fashion risk since I put gray and brown together. Since I got my black leather jacket I am so wearing brown with my most prized possession.

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  9. I’ve heard of this rule many times and it just tears me up into laughter. My mom has this silly rule that you should never wear white or light colors during winter :/

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  10. Oh, please. What a silly rule!
    Everyone knows black goes with everything!
    I love tucking a black shirt into jeans with a brown/tan belt, boots or flats, and bag.
    Just the other day, I got a little riskier and carried a tan satchel while wearing a black leather jacket and tan moccasins.
    I liked the way they contrasted!

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  11. I agree with LeLe- I wear black and brown often- usually black tights with chocolate brown suede boots. It’s comfy and looks good! 🙂

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  12. i’ve recently decided tO forget about this rule when I bought some brown leather boots yet most of my clothes are black. So far I love it. It feels very sophisticated. I like to wear by boots with a black turtleneck and a tweed-plaidish blazer. Looks great.

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  13. I agree that a great way to ease into it is by incorporating a leopard-print accessory, which has both colors…I’ve got a black and tan plaid scarf that I wear for the same purpose. I wish I found this post in high school when I was still taking silly fashion rules such as this one to heart!!

    Also, love those boots in the second outfit! The lighter caramel-y hue would probably be great transitioning into spring (I’m dreaming of sunshine already – too much snow up here!) 🙂

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  14. i AGREE whoever invented that rule is ridiculous.
    i’ve tried to tell my sister they’re neutrals so they go with anything and she’s just like, “no. black and brown should never go together.” *shaking my head* stubborn.

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  15. if there was a rule that was meant to be broken it’s this one. i do it every day. i love mixing neutrals all the time.

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  16. I definitely break this rule ALL the time. I don’t see why it ever was one- they look GREAT together. I even push it farther and wear grey and brown and black all together… :D.

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  17. Thanks for this! I was afraid to wear my tan ugg boots, dark blue skinny jeans, black long sleeve v-neck, and leapord headband becouse i dint know how it would look but now thanks to this im eager to try it!

    Reply

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