1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email

What to Wear with Brown Shoes for Women

Working Brown Shoes, Heels and Boots into a Woman's Wardrobe

By

Black shoes, and especially high-heeled black pumps, are a staple in most women's wardrobes, but there are some colors that just don't work well with black. To cover all of your bases, it's best to add a pair of silver or gray shoes, and a pair of brown shoes into the mix.

This article addresses what to wear with women's brown shoes, including heels and boots.

Brown Shoes and Earth Tones: A Natural Match

Dark red, forest green, burnt orange; think of all of the colors of fall, and you've conjured up an image of earth tones. Just like the bark of tree trunks, brown goes wonderfully with all of those hues, but to really be certain you're getting it right, also look to make a tonal match. For example, a dark green skirt will work better with dark brown shoes than it will with light brown shoes.

In cases where that's not possible, err on the side of caution, and make sure your boots or shoes are darker than your pants or skirt.

Neutrals with Brown Shoes

Whites, grays, blacks, creams, ivorys, tans, and taupes. This is an easy one, since, by sheer virtue of being a neutral color, any of these should work with just about any color of footwear, including brown. But, of course, some combinations are easier to pull off than others.

Take, for example, trying to wear brown pumps with a gray skirt. This is totally doable, but it requires a lot of attention to detail, like tonal values and color balance. In other words, if your skirt is a dark gray, you'll want dark brown shoes, and you'll need to mix other brownish neutrals into the rest of your outfit and accessories as well.

On the other hand, some neutrals are super-easy to wear with brown shoes -- in fact, shades of cream, ivory, tan, and some taupes are begging to be paired with brown boots and shoes -- and often, brown footwear will work better with these shades than black will.

Can You Wear Black with Brown Shoes or Boots?

As a neutral color, black could have been addressed in the last section, but I broke it out on its own, because the topic of pairing black and brown is an issue that's totally worthy of further discussion.

It seems as though people are scared of combining these two colors, and I believe that fear comes from the world of men's fashion, where guys are instructed from an early age to choose either black or brown shoes, then told which colors to wear with each. And, generally speaking, this is reliable advice -- for men. Let's face it, when a guy puts on a black suit, it's easy and proper to reach for a pair of black shoes, along with a black belt. But for women, there are so many other things to consider. But, when done well, black and brown makes for a dynamic and wonderful combination.

There are a couple of ways to incorporate brown shoes into an outfit that's heavy in black. The first is by adding in pieces that feature both hues, as a lot of animal prints do.

Another way to insure success when pairing black clothing with brown footwear is to make sure that both colors are distributed throughout the outfit, and that your browns are very closely matched. For example, try pairing brown shoes or boots with a black skirt and blouse, and add in a brown belt and bag that match the brown shoes as closely as possible. To really pull the look together, opt for jewelry that incorporates or works well with both colors, like copper-toned pieces or gemstone beads.

Other Colors that Work Well with Women's Brown Shoes: Blues and Pinks

Most blues work wonderfully with brown shoes, and turquoises are especially nice when paired with chocolate brown. In fact, in recent years, this has been a notably popular combination in everything from stationary to home decor, and of course, in women's fashion. Another winning combination is chocolate brown worn with pink, reds, and purplish berry shades.

The trick in wearing brown with any of these colors is, again, to be sure that touches of browns are worked throughout the entire outfit, and keep your accessory colors as closely matched as possible. In other words, don't go mixing a pink dress, a black belt, and brown shoes, unless you really have a clear mission in mind.

Brown Shoes with Metallics

Though I'm sure it's been done, and probably amazingly-well, I can't imagine a time when you'd want to wear a pair of brown shoes with a metallic dress or gown.

But if you ever do find yourself in that situation, it will help you to know that brown shoes go best with yellow- and pink-based metallics, like gold, copper, bronze and brass -- and not so well with silvers, chromes and pewters.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.