In the past, whenever a friend peeked into my wardrobe, the first thing they said was, “It’s 90% black clothes.” Which is to say, I was something of a black clothes loyalist. After all, it’s the easiest, most versatile colour that’s always flattering, and always situation-appropriate. What other colour could compete?
Turns out, I’ve found my new number one: brown. It started with a pair of brown tailored trousers, and over the past year my collection has slowly expanded to include cosy knits, my new go-to loafers and my favourite winter coat. Brown has truly become my top choice, and the cold seasons are when the colour truly thrives.
Thankfully, this season also happens to be the time when brown is trending, on and off the runway. At their AW23 shows, the likes of Paco Rabanne, Stella McCartney and The Row all sent gorgeous pieces in camel, mocha, chocolate and umber down the catwalk. From separates to handbags, dresses to knee-high boots, top labels proved that brown is the modern classic colour that is a softer, more effortless alternative to black staples.
So how do you approach styling this season’s top colour? The easiest place to start is swapping some key staples for brown alternatives, then styling the same way you would its black counterpart. For example, brown tailored trousers paired with a white t-shirt or slouchy knit is the perfect balance of sleek and laidback. For a more fashion-forward, effortlessly elegant look, try building a monochromatic look. Play with the wide variety of tones to build a brown look from head-to-toe, breaking up the outfit with layered jewellery and a great bag.
No matter your budget, you can bring a touch of brown to your wardrobe this season. From dresses to shoes, these are the best styles I’ve found.
Style Notes: Marisa proves that a maxi brown dress paired with heels is an effortlessly elegant option for evening wear.
Such an easy, versatile style that you could also take into spring.
Yes, it’s an investment, but this dress is so timeless you’ll turn to it for years to come.
Ideal for those who like a shorter hem.
This mocha tone is so good, and this silhouette could easily go from day to night.
I’d love to wrap myself in this brown cashmere on cold days.
Brown gingham is the minimalist’s ideal pattern.
Maxi dresses are trending this season, and this brown ribbed style is the top of my wish list.
This slinky number is perfect for evening events.
A strapless dress that could be styled in so many ways.
Style Notes: From cardigans to oversized jumpers, brown knitwear is the easiest way to introduce brown into your autumn wardrobe.
Made from regeneratively grown cotton and recycled cashmere, this timeless knit is well worth the investment.
A 100% cashmere turtleneck in a rich, dark chocolate tone? I’m sold.
This colour would also look great styled with white jeans.
A contemporary take on the classic cable-knit.
Trust Toteme to put a cool Scandi spin on a chocolate jumper.
This would look great with a slip skirt, too.
Wear buttoned up with tailored trousers or open over a white t-shirt with jeans.
The best kind of boyfriend is made of cashmere.
Slouchy and soft, this could be styled as part of a monochromatic look, or with jeans and trainers.
Style Notes: When it comes to tailored trousers, brown keeps things a bit softer and more informal than business black.
This season’s trending jean style in a vintage-wash brown—perfection.
The ultimate evening trouser.
The wide waist-band detail gives these tailored trousers a contemporary edge.
French women swear by corduroy trousers, and this wide-leg pair exude Parisian cool.
A classic tailored trouser.
I love the grey-brown tone, and the fact this pair is crafted from organic cotton.
Another great corduroy option—the dark tone makes these perfect for creating an all-brown tones look.
Very into the Seventies vibe of these houndstooth trousers.
Style Notes: A long brown coat looks supremely elegant, especially when layered over lighter tones.
The cosiest coat I’ve ever seen.
I always love a leather trench, but this chocolate version looks especially elevated.
Toteme’s best-selling coat style in a luscious chocolate brown.
Made for layering.
Such a retro vibe.
A classic shearling-trimmed aviator jacket style.
A vegan leather trench option.
How warm and cosy does this look?
Style Notes: Follow Aimee’s lead and invest in the perfect pair of brown shoes to round out a tonal look.
I’m obsessed with the croc-effect in brown.
These versatile suede boots are a cross between Western and Chelsea boot styles.
A much more affordable suede boot option.
My dream pair of knee high boots.
Such a versatile and comfortable knee-high option.
Loafers are the must-have shoe this season.
The result of this collaboration is the ideal marriage of comfort and style.
Loewe trainers will score you some serious fashion points.
Style Notes: Brown bags are truly timeless, and a much softer accessory than a black style.
The super popular crossbody bag in a sumptuous brown tone.
This looks so much more expensive than its price tag.
I keep seeing my favourite influencers wearing Dragon Diffusion’s woven bags.
Such a sleek style.
The Puzzle Bag is the investment piece that every stylist and tastemaker swears by.
A suede bag is so luxe.
Another woven Dragon Diffusion option.
I have my eyes on this as my next work bag.
Opening image: @anoukyve