Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Wear Black and Brown Together, or How to Incorporate an Expensive Garment into The Common Capsule Wardrobe

It could happen to anyone of us - you're minding your own business, and then... you see it. The garment that makes your heart sing. Something that you admire aesthetically, that looks perfect on you, that is beautifully made, from gorgeous materials, and that will last the rest of your life...  But OWWWW... it's expensive.

The biggest question to answer: can I wear this wondrous garment frequently enough to make it worth the purchase price? I'm NOT going to say it's an investment, because only in a few cases will you be able to sell something for more than the purchase price, which is the technical definition of an investment. But in a way, if you get more joy from something, and it enhances your image, your confidence and your identity in ways that exceed what you pay, then I guess it IS an investment...

Such complexities are to be discussed over a long lunch with a few glasses of wine. In this very real-life case, the love is also compounded by the color of the garment: black. Black, for someone who wears mostly earth-tones. Must we walk away? I think not; there are possibilities here!

  • The Really Special Item

JacketIssey Miyake

I've mentioned shopping around once you've found something that you really want - this jacket is a perfect example! There are stores carrying this jacket in a price range of over $300; it's well worth spending a half hour looking at a dozen websites and doing some insightful Googling to save that much money.


  • A few garments from a warm-toned Common Wardrobe

beige scoopneck dress – Uniqlo,  brown v-neck tee – J. Crew (sold out!), copper brown jeans –
 Maison Martin Margiela, ivory turtleneck – Uniqlo, brown velvet trousers – Loro Piana
brown dress – Lauren Ralph Lauren

With a jacket that makes this much of a statement, I think it's important to keep the other garments in your outfit pretty simple and streamlined. A print, too much texture, or other ruffles/pleats/tucks etc. would distract from the glorious craft of the jacket and quickly become too much.


  • The Match-Makers - accessories that include the colors in question, and that bring them together in beautiful, harmonious and happy ways!

None of these items looks as if it's at all unnatural, or a stretch, to combine warm copper brown and black in the same item! Just one or two or these worn with black and brown clothes helps make everything look intention. Keywords to remember when looking for this kind of thing: bronze, copper, caramel, saddle, tiger eye. Brown isn't always called brown, especially in jewelry.

This is the traditional color combination for riding boots - how nice that it works so well for us here!  These particular boots come in wide-calf sizes, and the loafers come in all widths, which was very considerate of someone.


Double disc earrings – Monies, bronze and onyx necklace – Aesa, silk scarf – Emilio Pucci
crackled bead black rope earrings – Maria Calderara,  black watch with brown band – Charles Hubert,
 riding boots – Naturalizer, wrap bracelet – Vivien Frank Designs,  loafers – Trotters
  • A few ways to wear a black jacket with warm-toned garments






                Beara Beara       

22 comments:

  1. Wow -- gorgeous jacket!

    Thank you, Janice, for your imaginative combinations and clever ideas. I read your blog every morning -- it's a bright spot in my day!

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  2. Black and brown is my favourite combination, much more so than navy and black, but over here it's quite hard to find brown tones, black is such a dominate colour in shops, unlike Italy - so many lovely brown shades in their shops.

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  3. Wow, is right. Got to run, but I will study this some more.

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  4. Gorgeous! Just a heads up, the link to the Lauren dress isn't working (error 404).

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    1. I think House of Fraser is having computer issues - everything I try to find on their site seems to go awry. It's a pity, because that's a really gorgeous dress when you see the details of the fabric. Thanks for letting me know!

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  5. Love this! Are the first 6 pieces in any other posts? It makes me want to see the whole wardrobe.

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    1. No, they're not. I just quickly looked for a handful of simple, warm-toned pieces to represent what my friend might already have in her closet. You can look back to the Step by Step Wardrobes (see the link at the top, underneath my toes, for a page that lists all of the steps), at least a couple of them include a great deal of brown, and one of them specifically is brown, black, coral and blue. Thanks for asking!
      Janice

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    2. I study all of your warm tone wardrobes closely! I like the soft, casual feel of these, and I think that copper color makes the whole thing glow! I have kept one black cardigan with a bit of a brown suede belt. This shows me how to wear it with the rest of my things. :) After reading your posts I have fine-tuned my wardrobe, and now have mostly brown, camel, copper and blue, with an accent color or two thrown in. Thanks for your work and sharing your talent!

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  6. In spite of my extreme cheapitude, I love the idea of incorporating an expensive piece as you show here. Issey Miyake is as close to an art piece/investment as exists in the fashion world. I've often fantasized about owning such a piece. Love black and brown together also.

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  7. Hi Janice,
    I am so excited by how you have helped my with my dilemma that I typed a long comment and then lost it. It was really good too!!
    Thank you for doing this so quickly and yet so well. I swore off black a few years ago even though I wear it well. I found it was too easy to find garments and accessories plus I am an "autumn" and my heart really sings to copper as do my blue eyes.
    However, there was this jacket. Everything but the colour and the "dressy" style is perfect for me and my lifestyle and I absolutely cannot replicate it at home.
    Who did I turn to but Janice? Who has responded in spades. I now see that the jacket has to be styled with components that rally to its aesthetic without rivalry. The velvet jeans, the earrings the boots and shoes. I can visualize it paired with rich but subtle cream jeans and leopard print sandals in the summer; or a long flowing jersey dress in copper and the same sandals.......on and on.
    I am still going to wait for the sales with my fingers crossed because this one item is way beyond my budget and I live in Canada where our prices are way higher. I am left with a definite resolve: I am going to plan a capsule with black and copper; it is so elegant.

    Deb from Vancouver

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    1. I'm so glad you like it! Your outfit suggestions would be lovely... if the weather were warmer, I might have thought of them...
      Stay in touch with the stores that carry the jacket, so that you can be aware of how low the inventory might be. There probably weren't dozens of these made, and now that we've shown them to so many people, they might fly off the racks!
      big hug,
      Janice

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    2. I have only located 3 medium across the world ( available to me), so fingerscrossed.

      Deb from Vancouver

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  8. From a daily reader and infrequent commenter: I love this grouping. It's similar in feel to my wardrobe, which is black, chocolate brown, and ivory. English country, menswear touches. Have worn tigers eye for years. :) Would love to see more items that mix these colors.

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  9. I enjoy wearing black and brown together, especially in the winter. As a fair skinned redhead, I need the warmer colors. Black accessories dress up the casualness of the brown. It goes the other way too - my industry "uniform" is a black suit. That's too harsh for my coloring, but I can make it work with the right colors up next to my face.

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  10. Oh, that jacket...you could just swoon. Thank you for showing it, Janice! I don't have occasion to wear such a piece, but it's great to see that such imaginative, beautiful jackets exist! --Susan S,

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  11. Love the jacket and the capsule. Yet another redhead here, requesting that you expand this capsule just a tad. I love the ideas. Janice this blog takes a lot, and I do mean a lot of work. It is the first thing I read in the morning.
    keep on keeping on,
    your loyal follower,
    eclair

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  12. Great post! I love black and brown! We need those bridge accessories, but it's a great combination!

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  13. I've always worn black and brown together. Love the way you have put it together in the wardrobe here.

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  14. Yes, loving the black and brown combinations. As a redhead, needing a travel/business wardrobe, black and something to warm it up is the ideal. Keep it coming!!

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  15. I love, love, love these selections. They might be my most favorite ever. The flared dress is beautiful.

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  16. Adore that you work with brown and all the lovely warm colours which are hard to find in the UK (It's pretty much black, grey and navy for core items.) Another inspiration!

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  17. Lovely stuff! I particularly love the warmth and richness of the black and brown accessories with gold touches. Mmm-mmm!

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