Brown isn’t really a fashion colour, is it? It’s the colour of gravy and uniforms. Of the past, of dads and dirt. “She wore brown on the red carpet,” said no one, ever. What football team won the World Cup in brown?
And yet it is everywhere this season. On the catwalk, shades of camel and chestnut were layered up at Chloé’s autumn show. Etro, Coach and Tory Burch went heavy on brown suede coats, while more than half the Gucci collection featured brown tones in some capacity. This week’s Grazia touts the “brown jacket” as the autumn cover up (and “a way to take those summer prairie dresses into the new season,” says Laura Antonia Jordan, its fashion features editor). And then there’s Olive, the Beckham’s brown cocker spaniel, British Vogue’s October cover star.
Its trickiness is part of its appeal. Miuccia Prada, the label’s head designer and a woman who deploys brown in lieu of black, once said: “Brown is a colour that no one likes … so, of course, I like it because it’s difficult”. To pull it off is a status move. Jordan wears it because “it’s less harsh than black”. She thinks its image problem is unfair: “the key is how you mix it,” she says. She pairs hers with purple, blue and yellow. Cord and suede also work well in brown (the 70s continues to inspire this season) and if you are planning on wearing tweed (fans of Zara and Marc Jacobs likely will) then the same applies here. Ignore the “no black and brown” rule – since the 50s, it has been Balenciaga’s go-to pairing – and consider autumn’s repeat trend, the trench, which looks best in classic beige. Failing that, brown and cream polka dots (a Pretty Woman classic) are big at Topshop, and then there is animal print, of which tiger, ocelot and leopard are trending this season. See? Brown is everywhere. With that in mind, here are eight of the best pieces on the high street.
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