Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
So you've scored the perfect brown purse and can't wait to show it off. Now you may be wondering what hues highlight the burnished beauty of that bag. An earth color, brown plays nicely with a huge range of bold colors, neutrals, prints and, yes, even black. Choose your favorites and take that tawny tote for a test drive; you may be surprised at how much mileage you can get out of one terrific accessory.
A brown bag is a natural foil for earthy neutrals, such as camel, cream and terracotta. A cabled cream sweater and terracotta skirt can make a great pairing for a fall or winter outfit. A camel sweater-dress or wide-legged camel trousers make a clean, classic statement with your brown accessory. For spring or summer, try another neutral: crisp navy, in a shirt-dress or indigo-wash jeans and a white blouse.
A brown bag may seem limiting at first glance, but when you consider wearing it with prints, the outfit possibilities expand in exciting ways. Think leopard, python or giraffe prints in a blouse or dress. Consider a preppy-inspired plaid skirt in tones of red, tan, cream and black or a navy-and-white nautical stripe top to convey a classic vibe. If you're feeling exotic, pair your brown bag with earth-toned batik or Southwestern blanket-weave pattern in a jacket or scarf over a skinny jeans or a classic trouser.
Bold color is the perfect complement to a brown purse of any shade. Try canary yellow, orange, cobalt blue or royal purple in a solid skirt or blouse. An emerald green dress pops elegantly with a brown handbag. Feeling bored? Pair lipstick-red trousers and a camel or cream blouse with your brown bag and banish those blahs.
The rule about not mixing brown with black is as old and outdated as the "no white after Labor Day" myth. You can mix black and brown if you keep an eye on the tones of your brown bag. A reddish-brown -- like oxblood, cinnamon or sienna -- makes a great foil for a black dress or suit. Lighter, tawny browns -- such as buff, ocher or fawn -- are gorgeously highlighted by a sleek black trench or trouser.