Gen Z seems to make a different color, silhouette, or brand start trending every week, but this latest one is a little surprising — and appears on track to stick around. It seems tons of people have fallen in love with an unlikely neutral shade, one you own but probably don’t think too much about, and you're going to want to work it into your closet ASAP. It seems the color du jour is herbal and/or chocolatey brown. You may think that styling such a subtle, versatile color is easy, but there are some nuances to know before you start wearing Gen Z's favorite shades of brown like a true fashion TikToker.
Brown tends to be one of the more intimidating neutrals, IMO. Unlike black, it doesn't pair with everything, not seamlessly at least, and to really nail the color, you have to be a little strategic in terms of choosing the right shades of brown. Overall, the main way brown has endeared itself to the hearts of Gen Z, though, is through monochrome dressing that works for both maximalists and minimalists. Plus, it’s a favorite clothing color of pretty much all of the Kardashians and Jenners, most of whom are known to rock multiple shades and textures of brown in any given outfit. Believe it or not, layering a bunch of brown tones over each other, as the famous family likes to do, creates a super dynamic effect. And with so many different shades of brown out there, it can be more fun to play with than, say, black or blue. You can mix in plaids, animal prints, and other patterns to embolden your 'fit even more.
Every new trend sounds a little daunting at first, but it's much easier than you think to get a Gen Z-approved brown look. Scroll below to check out some of the best ways to style the color.
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Shiny Brown Leather
Brown leather pants are a staple in Kim Kardashian's wardrobe, so that means, sooner or later, they'll be a staple in yours as well. While you may not want to pass Go and collect a full-on latex suit in brown, try opting for a roomier, easier pair of pants instead. Sleek, brown leather pants are a versatile base for any outfits you want to try — they pair amazingly with any kind of shirt, from a bra top to an oversized button-down, and the play on light adds dimension that a dark color like brown can lack. The result is a visually interesting outfit that looks like it requires a ton of effort, but doesn’t.
Neutral Brown Corset Tops
Romantic-style corset tops are already everywhere, so consider making your next Bridgerton-inspired purchase a brown one. To keep the look light and regency-esque, opt for a lighter shade of brown, like a tan or camel. For the hot days, you can wear this top alone, perhaps with a pair of denim Bermuda shorts or a mini skirt. And when fall comes, a brown corset top will look incredible under a blazer for a super editorial look.
Cozy, Textured Brown Loungewear
Cozy clothes that I can wear on Zoom calls? Yes, please. Looking cozy isn't going out of fashion any time soon, even as the world starts to open up again. While the tie-dye sweatsuit trend of 2020 brought vibrancy and funk into my life when I needed it most, I love the sharp, put-togetherness of a brown loungewear set. Tons of matching loungewear sets out there play on this trend, specifically with shades of chocolate brown, cognac brown, or super duper light brown. You’ll want to look for sets with visible texture — large knit patterns or teddy fabric — to kick this brown look up a notch — and as an excuse to wear your comfy clothes outside.
Mixed And Matched Brown Patterns
If wearing brown on its own feels a little blah to you, fret not. You can load up the brown patterns for some more visual interest, as Gigi Hadid did in the photo above. The neutral shade makes layering prints a hell of a lot easier. One of the simplest ways to play with patterns is to start with a pair of plaid pants, which is a good, easily launching pad in terms of giving you other color options to work for your top or shoes. If you’re planning on mixing different patterns together, a good rule of thumb is to pair large patterns with small patterns, so neither clashes or competes with the other.
For the braver souls among us, or just the people who can’t be bothered to layer, you can simplify your life with a brown jumpsuit, catsuit, bodysuit. Choose your favorite shade of brown, throw a jacket on top, and pair with layers of jewelry, and you've got yourself the easiest, no-brainer brown outfit that works for a day of errands or a night out with friends.
It’s understandable you might not be ready to go full-on brown catsuit or even brown patterns. If nothing else, opting instead for brown basics will help you get used to this neutral if you’re not yet feeling the color. Soon enough, putting away your white tanks and black bodysuits in favor of brown ones will warm you up to this new neutral and give you more confidence to play with the color in other ways.
Brown Animal Print Dresses
You and I both know, even if you don’t have plain brown in your closet, you have at least one leopard print item. There’s your brown right there! Animal prints like cheetah, leopard, giraffe, some zebra, and some snake patterns are what I like to call easy brown statement items. Meaning: They’re likely already in your closet as a statement piece, but you barely notice the fact that they’re brown. Even if they’re not, you may be more likely to introduce a leopard print dress to your wardrobe than you are a louder, funkier pattern.
Easy Brown Trousers
You simply cannot go wrong with a comfy pair of brown trousers. If there were a real fashion bible, this would be, like, the seventh commandment. Sure, brown basics and leopard print are easy and fun, but brown trousers are a gateway to more elevated brown looks, like, say, a full-on suit or cocktail dress. Brown trousers afford the color a bit more sophistication and make for a well-rounded brown collection.
Brown Staple Jacket
Consider a brown staple jacket in your closet almost like a safety blanket. If all else fails, throw on a classic brown leather jacket or a cool suede fringe-y one, and consider your outfit saved. When it comes to materials like suede and leather, brown also gives it that lived-in, vintage look that’ll make people think this jacket has been passed down through generations — in a good way.
Layers Of Brown
Layering different shades of brown together is a fun way to add tons of dimension to an outfit. In other words, it makes your look much more exciting, as opposed to a flat image of the same shade of brown. If you’re new to layering different shades of the same color, try to start with shades that are the same temperature of brown, i.e. warm or cool, but opposite in terms of light and dark. This creates a solid contrast in your outfit that’ll make it stand out.
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