This Fall 2021, there’s no turning back from the No-Rules Era of American Style that started to bubble up a few years back. (Pandemic style only crystalized this eccentric way of getting dressed.) Suits are now bigger, bolder, and weirder than the slim-fit, clean-cut look that dominated offices decades prior. Footwear is all about the most anarchic kicks you can get your hands on: high-style mules, loafers on acid, or funky boots. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For the Fall 2021 season, designers and labels have entirely done away with yet another antiquated rule: the notion that black and brown shouldn’t be worn together. Looking at the latest collections, it’s clear that the once faux-pas of wearing those two shades simultaneously is a thing of the past. The move can be seen in just about every nook of fashion, from mass-fashion retailer Uniqlo and streetwear mainstay Stüssy to the cult-loved and extremely upscale The Row. Whether it’s a double-breasted saddle brown coat worn over an all-black ensemble or an earthy brown workwear suit paired with glossy black leather clogs, the rule-breaking style move is out in full force.
For decades, the logic was black and brown were opposing colors that should never be mixed. That rule seems quaint in an era when bling-covered footwear and designer skirts can be spotted on today’s most advanced-level dressers. This fall, perhaps you’ll dive into the unruly and stylish world of black and brown—and if so, here are a few ways to help you make it happen.
The Brown Top Layer
Take a move from Swedish label Our Legacy and wear an earthy brown flannel or cardigan over a black base layer for a look that’s a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. Make that base layer leather, if you dare (and it’s cold enough).
Black and Brown Patchwork
Mix browns and blacks in a single garment with this advanced-level shirt from Stüssy. Add the coordinating trousers for the full-on suit look.
The Workwear Suit
This excellent two-piece, workwear-inspired suit—offered in faded shades of brown or black—from designer Christophe Lemaire and Uniqlo drops later this month and will be worth the wait. Pair your brown suit with a black tee, or vice versa.
The Two-Tone Accessory
Brown and black accessories mean never having to question which neutral is the right finishing touch. Take a page right from the Uniqlo U look-book and wear Birkenstock Bostons with a loose-fitting suit, or grab a two-tone beanie for all your weekend fits.
Fully Invested Layering
No label does quiet luxury quite like The Row, and an overcoat in such a rich shade of brown makes for an easy pairing with black. Bonus points for playing with textures, too, like wearing a brown wool coat with a brown silk shirt and black trousers.
Black, Brown, and Beyond
This color-blocked sweater from COS takes two shades of brown and ups the ante with a bold pop of red. With bold knitwear, all you need is a simple pair of relaxed-fit black pants.
The Luxed Up Chore Jacket
A modern and rugged chore coat in a delightful shade of roasted caramel corduroy is an easy shortcut to cozy and fall-ready style. Let the beautiful brown jacket do the talking by opting for a quieter cotton-silk pique sweater.