Is It OK to Wear Black Pants With Brown Shoes & a Brown Belt?

Mel B looks stunning in a pair of tan boots worn over skinny black jeans for the 'Get Fit with Mel B' premier.

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

There is a long standing debate about wearing brown accessories with black clothes, or black accessories with brown clothes for that matter. But fashion gurus are finally putting the issue to rest. "There are no rules against wearing these two neutrals together because they go with everything, which means they work well with each other, too," says Annika Harris on The Frisky website. Depending on the shade of brown and material of the shoes, belt or purse, wearing brown accessories with black clothing is not only acceptable, it is surprisingly chic.

Choose Your Shade Wisely

When pairing brown shoes or a belt with black clothing, pick a shade of brown that is flattering to the style of the outfit. More often than not, a rich tan color that provides enough contrast against black will pair best with a more sophisticated or preppy outfit -- such as cropped cigarette polyester pants and a black button up. If you are going for a more rugged look, a distressed dark brown will blend well with distressed or faded black jeans.

Pair Like With Like

Don't try to mix brown accessories in different materials with your all black outfit. In other words, if you are wearing tan leather shoes with black pants, choose a belt or bag in the same material and tone -- or suede dark brown pumps with a suede bag in the same tone. Mixing different materials and shades of brown with black makes it harder to create that pulled-together look.

Patterns and Prints

"Stripes, plaid, or paisley add more visual interest to an outfit of black and brown neutrals," says Harris. Adding a print that contains the same brown as your shoes and belt will allow the black and brown colors to blend nicely. Keep the print to just one main piece, either your jacket or blouse for example. Wearing one piece that has both tones in your outfit is the easiest way to pull off the brown/black combo.

Other Accessory Options

Consider other options for accessorizing brown with black as well. If you don't have a belt that matches the brown shoes you want to wear with your black outfit, opt for a brown bag or hat in the same tone and wear a black belt instead. You can also pull in a rich brown leather jacket that matches your shoes or belt for a more casual look that still pulls the look together, or choose an earth tone wool cape for a dressier look with boots or heels in a similar color.

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