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

Filtering by Tag: black

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.

Wearing black only

Mark Kwak

I've seen it a million times. Guys wearing all-pitch-black getups. Uniform combination of black shoes, black shirt, black jeans, black jacket, black watch, black scarf and black rimmed glasses. So yes, black is cool, and it's especially appropriate during fall and winter. However, I personally think you can always do better by adding a little extra color to your outfit, even if it's subtle. This actually applies to any color, since a little variety in an outfit can help it from being too boring or uniform. For example, here's an all-black outfit I'm wearing. The difference is that I wanted to add a subtle hint of color (some green and navy gingham on the shirt which together looks like black, and brown lining on the boots), and also distinguish my blacks a bit from each other. Notice my jeans are a lot lighter than the rest of the outfit, while still having that underlying black color to it. My scarf also has grey on the inverse side.


See? Denim on denim can sometimes work.


From a closer distance and with ample lighting, you can see that the shirt is actually blue and green, not black. Some red highlights on my watch as well.


Hmm, my Red Wing boot lining matches my coffee table.


I like to cuff my pants when wearing boots. Show a bit more of the boot.

Jacket: Ralph Lauren Black Label | Shirt: Black Fleece | Watch: Casio G-Shock

Scarf: Merona (similar) | Belt: Paul Stuart | Jeans: Diesel | Shoes: Red Wing

Now, I still would prefer to wear a lighter shirt with an outfit like this, but if you want to wear all-black, my recommendation is to find some way to make each piece slightly different from one another. Or else it'll just look like you're in a black jumpsuit, since others won't be able to distinguish one piece of your outfit from another.

So go out there and continue to wear black (even though some will tell you it matches with nothing... which I don't believe in the slightest). But also remember it's okay to still have some color or differentiation in your outfit to make it more interesting. Grey can be a great friend in this case, and despite what people will tell you, brown can work marvelously if used properly.