How to Wear Black and Brown Together

Welcome back to 26 Days of Fall Outfits! Today is Day 15, and today I want to show you how to wear black and brown together. Pairing black and brown is no longer a no-no. In fact, it’s a great way to update your look with basics you have in your closet. A black dress with brown riding boots creates a pleasing contrast of dressy and casual, and then the jean jacket seals the deal.


How to Wear Black and Brown Together

This is one of my favorite ways to wear a LBD. A little black dress (LBD) is a wardrobe essential, and this one from CAbi is so easy to wear because you can dress it up or down.

This necklace was gifted from Dionne at Paparazzi Accessories, and for you all who have asked for resources for less expensive accessories, this is the shop for you! Everything is $5 or less. I’m serious. And look how cute this is. 

Fall Fashion: LBD with brown riding boots and jean jacket

So here’s the look all put together. I just added silver hoops and a silver link bracelet, and I carried a light brown clutch. I was struggling with the bag I wanted to carry, and this seemed to blend in nicely.

How to Wear Black and Brown Together

These are my new prescription sunglasses from Lens Crafters.

Fall Fashion: LBD with brown riding boots and jean jacket

And here’s another look at the whole outfit.

How to Wear Black and Brown Together

Outfit Details: LBD c/o CAbi | Frye Phillip Harness Tall boots in Whiskey (cheaper option, budget option) | denim jacket c/o CAbi (old; option) | necklace c/o Paparazzi Accessories | FitBit Leather Wrap Bracelet | Oval Link Bracelet (budget option) | Silpada High Impact Hoop Earrings

Let’s discuss boots for a minute. If you have one pair of boots in your closet, I firmly believe they should be brown riding boots because you can wear them with everything — even black and grey.

These Frye Phillip Harness Boots were a total splurge last fall. I’d been wanting Frye boots, and I was in Seattle for a blogging conference when I found myself in a hotel two blocks away from the flagship Nordstrom. In fact, I could see it from my room. Not good, y’all. Not good at all.

At that point, I hadn’t tried on Frye boots. I’d only been eyeing them on the other fashion blogs I read, and I thought I wanted the popular Melissa Button style. When I got to the store, I discovered that the Melissa wasn’t flattering on me, but the sales associate brought out the Phillip Harness boot. He swore to me that they are perfect for women with smaller calves like mine, and he was right. I love the way they shape my calves.

I hemmed and hawed and finally came home with these boots. I haven’t regretted it for a second. The quality is like nothing I’ve ever had. There is no polyester lining in these boots. They are leather to the core. These boots will last me a lifetime, and Frye boots only improve with age.

That said, there is no need to go out and drop $350 on a pair of boots. You can find cute cognac riding boots at any price point. Here are some current shopping options and some things to consider when choosing boots.

Tips for Buying Brown Riding Boots

  1. Buy real leather if you can swing it. They will last longer, and they will be so much kinder to your feet.
  2. Be aware of how the shaft of the boot fits your calves. If you have skinny calves, you don’t want them to gape around your legs. See how mine fit. That’s what you want. You may have to try on a few styles to find the right one. On the other hand, if you have larger calves, look for boots made in the Wide Calf version. Lots of brands make these nowadays — like the Sam Edelman Penny, another classic cognac riding boot, and one that I highly recommend. When shopping online, most boots will give you a calf circumference, so you can compare those numbers when trying to find a boot that is right for you. For example, my Phillip boots are have a 15″ boot shaft and a 14″ calf circumference. The Melissa boots that I thought I wanted have a 15″ calf circumference, so you can see why the Phillip work better for me. For comparison’s sake, the Sam Edelman Penny Wide Calf boots have a 16 3/4″ boot shaft and a 15″- 16″calf circumference. Plus, it says that it stretches to fit a wider calf. So they are taller and wider.
  3. A tighter ankle makes your feet look bigger. If you have big feet, you might want to be aware of this. I just read it on another blog, and I realized that I noticed on Sunday that these boots make my feet look bigger than normal, and I think that’s why. It’s not a big deal to me because my shoe size is only 8.5, but if that’s something you’re self conscious about, keep it in mind.
  4. Buy cognac, not chocolate brown. Cognac is more versatile and looks better with black and grey. Of course, it also blends well with lighter neutrals and, well, everything else too.

Shopping Suggestions for Brown Riding Boots (Cognac)

splurge riding boots

SPLURGE: (1) Frye Phillip Harness Tall Boots in Whiskey, $357 | (2) Frye Melissa Button Boots in Cognac, $367 (3) Frye Melissa Tab Knee-High Boots in Redwood Vintage Leather, $417 (wide calf option)

moderate riding boots

MODERATE: (1) Sam Edelman Penny Boots in Whiskey, $149 (wide calf option) | (2) Naturalizer Jennings Knee High Boots in Cognac, $198 (wide calf option) (3) Lucky Brand Heloise Boots in Chipmunk Leather $139 (wide calf option)

budget riding boots

BUDGET: (1) Payless Questt Riding Boots in Cognac, $49 (wide calf and extended calf options available) | (2) Merona Kasia Leather Riding Boots in Cognac, $89 | (3) Journee Collection Kai Women’s Tall Boots in Chestnut, $69 | (4) Journee Collection Lynn Tall Riding Boots in Chestnut, $74

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For more fall outfit ideas, see the Fall Fashion section of my blog. You can also visit my shop for some of my top fall fashion finds.

And don’t forget to visit Cyndi to see what cute fall outfit she’s styling today!

Join The Conversation

28 Responses

  1. I agree that cognac, whiskey or luggage (whatever you wish to call it) is a very versatile color in bags and footwear. My husband has always owned shoes in cordovan which serves the same purpose for men.

  2. Thanks for addressing the brown boots with black and grey question! I love grey but thought I’d have to buy black boots to wear with it. Glad that I can wear the brown boots that I already own!

  3. I love brown and black together. So glad it’s acceptable to wear them together now!

    Last year I finally broke down and bought two pairs of tall boots, a pair of brown riding boots and some tall black boots. I love them both, but I find myself constantly reaching for the brown ones! I am in complete agreement with you that brown boots are a necessity for every girl’s closet!

  4. Super outfit. I am loving that black and brown and black and navy are okay to wear together. Didn’t think about that with shoes, but the brown boots look great.

    I love that you seem so giddy with each new combo/piece. Another reason I love having my morning cuppa coffee with you.

  5. So glad you mention Sam Edelman boots. My all time fave bootie is the Petty and the new one Paige is like Petty with a fringe element that I know you and Cyndi have been talking about. This outfit looks great.

  6. I used to be very against black/brown, black/navy. Now I love it and I think it looks great together! Thanks for showing it and for giving options to mix it up!

  7. Thanks for sharing all the links for boots. I think I am going to have to buy wide calf so I can get over my skinny jeans. I tried the Frye boots same problem. Love the LBD with the Jean jacket.

  8. Love this outfit!!
    Question…..I have a mid length solid black dress (heavy cotton, scoop neck, 3/4 sleeve) that I don’t know what to wear with it.
    Would this jacket/boots combo work, or should I do short bootie style shoes and no jacket?
    I was thinking of a scarf and bootie shoes, and black tights.
    Ugh…I’m so bad at this! Which is why I love your blog!! lol
    Oh, and for boots….what is the difference between “wide calf”, “extended calf”, and “wide athletic calf”???

    1. Hi Patti. So…. what do you mean by mid-length? The length has a lot to do with what boots look best. You want some leg to show. If it would come down over the knee length boot, then you would want a shorter boot.

      Black tights and booties should work with almost any dress/skirt. But I’d need to see it to be sure. 🙂

      Wide calf is for people with thicker calves. Extended calf is taller – for tall women. And Wide Athletic is same as wide – for thicker calves, women with more muscular calves. Does that help?

      1. Hi! The dress length is mid-calf, so by your reply I guess I should stick with the booties so some leg shows, right?
        The dress is scoop neck and fitted through the waist, then has slight flair.
        I think for work I could put a scarf or just jewelry with it, but would love to do the blue jean jacket on the weekend if you thought it would work. Also, do you think any sort of flat shoe would work?

        1. Mid- calf is a tricky length. I would probably do wedge pumps or heeled wedges so you have some leg showing. Booties would probably cut off the leg. If you wanted a flat, a pointy toe flat would be best to elongate the leg. I hope that helps!

  9. Hi Jo-Lynne,
    Love this outfit! I too have never thought to put brown and black together. I do have a question and I might have missed this some where. The small handbag you are holding where can I find one. I have been looking for a small clutch or handbag to carry. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Michelle. It is cute, right? Unfortunately, no longer available. I would just search clutch on Zappo’s or Nordstrom, and then filter by your price range, and you can also filter by color. There are so many out there right now. This one is a Tory Burch, and it has a long strap that I usually use when I carry it. I like that it can be used both as a clutch and a crossbody.

  10. I love this outfit! I’ve been looking at Frye boots for a couple years now and finally pulled the trigger today and bought the Phillip Harness. They are gorgeous. I can’t believe I spent that much on a pair of boots but am thinking they will last me many, many years. My Nordtrom only had brown, no whiskey, and I went with that. Thanks for all your inspiration – I’m even making your easy pulled pork recipe for dinner tonight. Yum!

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