Discover more from The Cereal Aisle by Leandra Medine Cohen
Brown is coming back in fashion, which is good for the rest of your closet
This is a public post about how to style yourself. To see the last one, click here.
This is a post about how to wear brown, which has soft-launched its own ascent back into fashion. Some might hesitate because the earthy tone can seem dated, or too thematic with like, Thanksgiving but there is a way to look modern. That is captured here.
Wear brown with pastel
Wear it with summer clothes styled for the winter; it invigorates them in an unexpected way
Black and brown match
When combining brown with another dark neutral, just pick one. (So either navy, black or charcoal grey)
It also looks great with light and mid-wash denim — particularly on suede shoes
If you’re mixing it with metals, you’re probably going to want to go yellow gold, but try for silver AND RHINESTONES.
👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 A new thing I’m trying, what do you think?
THE MAIN EVENT
Thesis: Brown is the new black. Only it’s not actually the new black because nothing is ever actually the new black. Another “color” will never eclipse the latter’s pervasiveness. It is as ancient a member of style’s lexicon as like, Abraham (the forefather, not my husband) is one of the Old Testament.
Less sensationalized thesis: Brown is back in fashion and people who may not have cared much to explore dark neutrals outside the realm of black might be more willing to take the risk now.
Whose fault is this? Well, it is *originally* Miuccia Prada’s fault.
But for the recent surge, Daniel Lee at Bottega, the twins of The Row (just had a fantasy that my twins launched The Aisle, which held as much cultural cache as the former) and Gabriela Hearst, for her own brand and Chloe are most responsible.
Why does this matter to me? Because maybe you’re under the impression that brown looks dated, or seasonally thematic. The thing is, you don’t have to look old-fashioned or like a decorative gourd if you don’t want to.
There is a way to wear it and look modern.
Ok. What’s in it for me? More lively ways to wear shit you probably already have in your closet. Like, for example, a pastel color.
Or, idk, do you own anything orange?
Color looks softer with brown, less obvious than when worn with navy, and less harsh than with black.
Also a good way to wake up clothing you have not, and typically do not wear until it is summer. Like, idk, a white linen top.
Which, for sure you can wear with grey or navy or black but the earthy tone is more unexpected. Like the difference between greeting someone and asking how they are vs. being like, “how’d your last Pap smear go?”
Where can I get a pair? The Real Real if you’re looking to buy second-hand. My preferred search phrase is “brown pants,” refined to display only women’s pants and then further refined by style (straight leg) and size. There is some searching involved to be sure, but you might get lucky and land on, for example, either of the pairs pictured above. When looking at product pages, scan for blends like virgin wool and spandex or pure breeds like wool gabardine.
Other good brown stuff: Boots (fun or plain; I like these!), skirts (wide or straight), sweaters — less inclined towards a dress (yes to this vintage Dior suit tho!), just generally (although…maybe I take it back?), but if you’re a wearer, maybe you want to go for a brown-based print?
What else can I wear brown with? Black if you want. That works.
You can also match it with navy or charcoal grey if that is preferred. When combining brown w a solid dark neutral from the optic family (colors that fade into white, as opposed to ivory), you want to keep the combo to two. So for example, if you’re wearing navy trousers and a brown top, don’t wear black shoes. Go with a pair from the brown family (could be camel, could be burgundy) or navy — metallics like gold or silver are not off limits either because they both kind of derive from those families too (gold to brown, silver to navy). If you want to take a bigger risk, a completely different color like pink or green is cool too. I like white:
The brown thing you wear, btw, doesn’t have to be a pair of pants/a bottom at all. In the below instance, the boots are brown (they’re reg leather but the preference is really suede; the color catches so nicely) and styled with jeans. Mid or light-wash denim is a good, soft compliment.
You can also go full caca-but-make-it-fashion:
It might look nice, in fact, with your equiv of a best black coat. (Not pictured, but same rule about combining dark neutrals applies here.)
Trying some loafers with matching socks also works when you pair them with sweatpants.
The instinctive metallic pairing is with gold because brown’s a sepia tone but try silver (more often pair with optic tones like navy/grey/white). It might surprise you.
Conclusively, I offer this tip, from Laura.
Now, do you have any interest in a tutorial on wearing summer clothes the winter way, or would a “how to wear jewelry this time of year when I want to feel like a fucking swan but am more emanating a dead turtle vibe” dispatch be better for next time?
Mindful Mr. Sloth