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You may already have a trusty black blazer in your wardrobe, but brown blazers can actually be just as versatile -- not to mention a great alternative for when black just seems too heavy for your outfit or the season. Brown blazers come in a variety of fits and fabrics, from tweed to leather to satin, and as a result, can be dressed up or down with almost any kind of outfit. So whether you're planning to throw one on over jeans for a casual lunch date or strategically working it into an autumn-hued outfit that's fit for the runway, get motivated and get to shopping for that perfect brown blazer. It could just become the new go-to item in your closet.
Short and Sweet
Brown shades tend to look great when paired with lighter shades in the same color family, like beige or cream -- the combination creates an overall warm vibe that's sure to make almost any skin tone glow. So try an off-white mini dress and edge it up with a brown leather blazer thrown over it. Perfect for any semi-formal event or cocktail hour, this ensemble has a touch of toughness yet remains sweet and ladylike. Actress Gabrielle Union showed how it's done at the 2011 Nintendo 3DS launch in Hollywood, where she was photographed wearing a pale cream, cut-out patterned mini dress, matching high-heeled sandals and a buttery smooth, camel-hued leather blazer. The sophisticated and clean color palette instantly makes the outfit look expensive and goes perfectly with Union's own fresh-faced, natural style.
Feel like going for the cool, androgynous look? Pair a longer, looser, boxier-cut blazer in a grandpa fabric like wool or tweed with a casual blouse then add pegged leather shorts or a pleated mini skirt to balance out the masculine vibe going on up top. This outfit is both casual and trendy and gives you an irresistibly laid-back vibe. Take Miranda Kerr, who was spotted out and about during Paris Fashion Week in 2009 wearing an oversize taupe boyfriend blazer in tweed (and rolled up at the sleeves) over a white button-down shirt and a wispy, abstract-patterned cream and gunmetal mini skirt. She wisely completed the look with gray suede ankle booties (strappy sandals would look completely off here), which keeps the ensemble from looking overly mannish, and instead, subtly sexy.
For a look that's fully fall fabulous, don a sleek brown blazer over an entirely brown-hued outfit. Because of the vast palette of brown shades, wearing the color from head-to-toe is very different from swaddling yourself in say, pink, from head-to-toe. A fully brown outfit can still look interesting and multi-dimensional, as demonstrated by Blake Lively when she filmed a 2010 episode of "Gossip Girl" in New York City. She wore a dark-khaki wool blazer over a feather-patterned, above-the-knee dress that had various shades of brown (beige, chocolate, mahogany). With dark brown opaque tights and rust-colored tall socks peeking out above knee-high, chestnut leather boots, it's easy to see how combining lighter and darker shades of brown keeps the overall ensemble from appearing too monotonous and creates an unexpected sense of depth and uniqueness.
Take the menswear look to another level and modernize the classic suit by wearing a loose brown blazer in luxurious satin to keep the outfit looking feminine and soft. Perfect for when you want to stand out in a sea of dresses, pairing a blazer with loose trouser pants and a ladylike top is formal and classy. Olivia Palermo is proof of this, as she was seen at the Tibi Fall 2010 Fashion Show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City wearing black-and-white (which looked gray from afar) plaid, super wide-leg trousers with a champagne-hued silk top underneath a mocha satin blazer. With the finishing touch -- an embellished bib necklace that had tinges of cobalt blue, black and gold -- the look became cohesive and understatedly bold.