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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Black & Brown

Mark Kwak

In the past, I've heard on numerous occasions that it's not smart to wear black and brown together. Brown shoes with black pants? Never! Well, I don't know what people were thinking when they created this "rule" of style in the past, but I have chosen not to follow it. Perhaps it's my rebellious nature, but more likely, it is my love for well-pulled-off black & brown outfits. I mean who can argue with this look:

 Source: Styleforum

Now, I will insert a caveat here: I don't think wearing brown with black is necessarily the best option all the time. And not all brown/black combos work seamlessly either; there are certain tips you need to follow in order to pull the look off with success. So let me give you those tips:

The first one is that you should make it look like you put the two colors together on purpose. Since so many people have this deeply ingrained rule of never pairing black with brown, it takes a little more effort to convince others that the pairing can actually look great. If you're wearing a pair of brown shoes with black jeans, add a brown belt to the mix. Or if you're wearing a black sweater with brown pants, add a pair of black shoes and socks to complete the look. Here's an example below:

gq coverSource: GQ

The second tip is that you should try and use a lighter brown when pairing with black. Think more desert camel, less Northwest grizzly bear. I personally think that lighter browns showcase a very aesthetically pleasing contrast from black when worn together. Look specifically for the color description "walnut."

And finally, remember to listen to your gut. If you like the look of brown + black, by all means, go for it. I personally love the look. If you don't feel that comfortable wearing the two colors together, then work with something else. All I'm saying is that you shouldn't avoid wearing the two colors together just because of an age old rule that told you that you couldn't.

Have fun with it. I know I will.