Brown is the new black

Swap out black for warmer, earthier tones this fall season

Hannah Levy and Haley Bandemer

Black and white. Simple. Classy. Easy … right?

As we descend into the thick of fall, with leaves turning colors and the smell of cinnamon wafting through the air, fall fashion is taking a tasteful turn. It’s time to camouflage with the season of pumpkin spice through cozy, autumnal pieces. Say goodbye to your go-to and highly-adored black clothing items, and join the rest of us in giving a warm welcome to all things brown. From turtlenecks and handbags to loafers and hoodies, brown clothing is tugging at shoppers’ purse strings.

There’s something about brown’s warm hue that seems less formal, less bland than black. Less closed-off and absolutely more original. It is both grounding and inviting with hues, often running red or with hints of purples and oranges, that make a simple outfit all the more interesting. Think hot-cocoa and hazel eyes. Our favorite dark neutrals — black, grey and navy, lack the “earthy color” that results in an “understated elegance hard to achieve with any other hue,” says market editor Rachel Besser at Vogue. Brown is unisex, softening the harshness of sharp lines and calming the flare of feminine pieces in a way that highlights minimalism and “natural beauty.” 

From shades of rich chocolate to a rusty redwood or a light sand, the spectrum of brown provides consumers a wide range of options to indulge in. The color uniquely adds color to any outfit, almost secretly. 

“It’s possible that we are living in an elaborate computer simulation programmed by people or beings who are running a process back to the 1970s,” says Vox. The color brown brings a moment to every outfit. “Leaning into muted colors [feels] fitting”. It is a new form of expression, brown, and we would not want it any other way. 

Now that we have you on the edge of your seat, practically racing to go make your first brown purchase of the season, let’s pause for a moment. Brown, in all its earthy-goodness, will have to be paired with something else … so the question remains, ‘what to wear with brown?’ From denim and light pink to white and olive green, brown acts as a canvas for style exploration. Mix and match, play and have fun. Throw on some leather or a cable-knit sweater for some texture. Add an animal print for depth. Spice up your simple! 

We are not suggesting that exotic prints or splashes of fluorescent colors become your new staple — we will leave that choice up to you. Or, should you throw all of your black staples out the door. However, you are not going to want to miss out on this trend. The revival of brown fashion is a gift to us all, a choice that is undeniably safe yet interesting. Gone are the days where you automatically reach for your favorite black sweater, the one that matches everything and is unraveling at the seams from overuse. We challenge you to opt for something a bit more coffee-colored. Your wardrobe will say, “thank you.”