June 18, 2020
Brown is the most annoying color to try to find in clothing. Well, okay, maybe it’s olive green, or a true purple, but for those who would love to build a core wardrobe in brown, it’s maddening!
So when I was asked about these sweaters, I jumped on the idea right away:
Brown goes beautifully with just about every neutral…
I love brown and black together – I know that it violates that rule about wearing warm and cool colors together, but I’ve never believed that to be true! Nature is full of examples of warm and cool colors together…
Grey might be the most difficult of the six neutrals to wear with brown, but it’s still not a big struggle. A little bit of silver jewelry and you’re perfect!
Brown looks amazing with white – imagine this outfit for an early fall day…
Nobody could be shocked that brown looks good with camel! This scarf opens up the possibilities of wearing your new sweater with all sorts of shades of tan and brown:
Stone is one of those neutrals that seems to go with absolutely everything. I could easily see a pair of stone pants make their way into my wardrobe…
Brown and navy are classic for men – brown leather goods with navy always looks interesting, and beautifully rich. Even if you never want to own a brown sweater, brown shoes and bags can bring a whole new look to your old wardrobe favorites!
It might feel painfully early to be looking at cashmere, but if you’re trying to find a relatively uncommon color, or if you wear a size that sells out early, or if you want to budget to buy something that you’re going to own for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, it’s never too soon to start planning!
p.s. Eight years ago, a friend received a very vivid Hermes scarf as a gift. She was a little bit unsure about how to wear it, so I conjured up eight outfits for her!
I really like all these color combinations, and I totally agree about wearing warm and cool shades together. I love cool gray and camel together.
Linda from Bluffton says
Camel brown is so chic! Thanks for inspiring me to try again to find the right shade of it for my coloring. I can find a zillion bags and scarves with it … but not clothing. Well done.
Oh that brown and navy scarf — fabulous ! I always enjoy how you do themed accessories as the leaf earrings to go with the Tree of Life scarf !
Yes, this value of brown is perfect for me, and yet when I think of brown , a deeper value pops up in my brain . I much prefer this one , it’s far more versatile ! My monitor or shows it as more of a deep camel color . And yes, it is the color that is challenging to find in the marketplace , darn ! In fact, I need a cardigan in this hue, as my other one is now pilled ! Any leads ?
Those Michael Kors flats are so darned cute too !
LL Bean has two styles of cashmere cardigans in this color (they call it “saddle heather”):
long open cardigan (https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/119952?page=womens-classic-cashmere-open-cardigan-with-pocket-misses-regular&bc=&feat=brown%20cardigan-SR0&csp=a&attrValue_0=Fig%20Heather&searchTerm=brown%20cardigan&pos=1) or a zip-front hoodie (https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/123022?page=classic-cashmere-sweater-zip-hoodie&bc=&feat=brown%20cardigan-SR0&csp=a&attrValue_0=Fig%20Heather&searchTerm=brown%20cardigan&pos=2).
Of course, being cashmere they are not cheap. Only you know if they meet your budgetary and other requirements.
Thank you !
Hélène G. says
Thank you to think about persons who love brown colours, Janice : it’s my case !
I love these colours with orange, yellow ochre, and, as you write it, black, and white, or peusdo-white : I heard that Balenciaga advised three colors to be smart all over the life : black, dark brown, and white. He also thought taht these three colours could be used absolutely in all circonstances.
But the love of brown is not so frequent, effectively.
Lisa P says
I love these combinations! Very chic!
Sally in St Paul says
What a lovely shade of brown. I liked it with the navy, of course (though I usually think of a more cognac brown to pair with navy…my winter standby is navy with cognac riding boots), but surprisingly, it was the black outfit that knocked it out of the park for me. It helps that the Tree of Life on the black background is gorgeous and I love a good pleated skirt, but really, this softer somewhat-cool-looking camel brown is a terrific pairing for black. I like it much more than the darker browns with black.
The Dr Scholls loafers are fab and make a perfect complement to the sweater; if I were a heroine buying one of those sweaters, those loafers would come home to me as well so I could add just about any pair of pants and have instant cohesion in my outfit. I am especially liking the idea of this sweater and loafers with blue jeans in any shade. I would be tempted to add a scarf like this one to coordinate with navy or any shade of denim:
This is a beautiful sweater!!! I agree about wearing it with black, navy, AND gray (these are my core colors!). My accent colors are maroon (or burgundy? Is there a difference?) and dusty pink and this sweater would work with both those colors (especially with the scarves I have in my closet). Now I’m tempted…..
Also, I have those suede Blondo boots and I LOVE them. Perfect for Wisconsin winters.
Beth T says
Brown isn’t a natural colour for Soft Summers like me. Looking at the colour charts, my options are: Rose Brown; Truffle; Latte; Cocoa; Flint; Mole and Taupe. They sound quite nice but try finding them in the shops.
I have never seen a brown rose unless it’s dead. I will happily eat truffles and drink latte and cocoa. Flints are more grey than brown. Mole from Wind in the Willows is one of my favourite book characters. Taupe is a colour that varies wildly depending on clothes company from beige to darkish brown or grey and anywhere in between.
Sometimes, I wish that a colour genie would pop up and show me which is the brown for me.
In my minds eye my outfit would be a pair of soft brown jersey trousers, with tops and cardigans in ivory, pale blue, light pink or light jade. I have the tops and cardigans and the scarves that would go with the brown trousers but can I find any? Sigh…
Sally in St Paul says
I recently purchased the alpaca heather Starfish knit pants from Lands End and they are a soft brownish taupe color. They might be a lighter brown than what you’re looking for, but worth taking a peek to see if they are compatible with soft summer coloring.
Sally in St Paul says
P.S. They also have a “coffee bean houndstooth” knit pant that looks fun.
Beth T says
Thanks Sally. I have seen those and that is the kind of colour I’m looking for. I ordered that style last winter when I was looking for some navy trousers. Unfortunately, the cut of the Starfish didnt suit me (bizarre name). However I’ll check out the houndstooth as another option.
Beth T says
I’ve just ordered some wide leg trousers from Lands End in a colour called Dovetail. The houndstooth ones dont appear on the UK site.
Linda P says
Hi Janice! All kinds of brown live in my closet! I opt for lighter shades in the spring and summer (beige, tan) and darker shades for winter/fall (choc brown, caramel, maybe even camel). However, I do find brown(s) to be a crossover between the seasons. I believe once upon a time you featured a color combo of black, camel, ivory and lightish grey, which I find to be a very good mix and match in my closet. PS love the shoes you chose !
My husband isn’t one to dole out a lot of outfit compliments, but I swear every time I wear my sweater in that same shade of brown with grey skinny jeans and brown ankle boots he tells me how nice I look as soon as he sees me. Doesn’t have the same effect on him if I wear the sweater with other pants or the grey jeans with other sweaters – only when they are worn together does he seem to take notice. Don’t know what that means, but I know enough to wear that combo when we are planning to spend a free day together!
I wonder if blue denim could be considered a 7th neutral? It goes with everything from dressy to casual and the various washes compliment every shade on the color wheel.
TBH, denim blue is my first neutral! – nancyo
More than a decade ago, I had a terrible foot flare up, and spent the better part of a year wearing brown hiking boots, the only shoes my foot could tolerate. I had to get very creative to incorporate the brown into my winter-type colors. I found a beautiful (dark) brown and black scarf at Liberty and you’d better believe I splurged on it. – nancyo
Carol S says
Love the post. Love the mixing of neutrals.
In my mind, I don’t have the rule that brown is warm and black is cool. Black is achromatic so no colour. Neither warm nor cool. I have heard it said so many times that it is believed.
Anyways – jumps off her tiny soapbox & hugs all round.
Connie Pettit says
Over the years your series of How to Wear a V-Neck Sweater (in various colors) have been perfect. They are timeless and classic. I love your examples of how to create different outfits for any situation.
I have studied most of your posts for years, and following your lead my wardrobe has slowly transformed. My closet used to be stuffed with clothing, but there was nothing to wear. It was stressful and disappointing. It’s now a whole new world, with carefully selected appropriate items. Thank you for your guidance, Janice!