Closet Constructor: Sorry, But Brown Is Your Color

Spring isn't just for pastels, you know

April 5, 2024 12:55 pm
a collage of items on a picture background
Brown is making a comeback.

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Welcome to Closet Constructor, a weekly series where I (a style editor) help you (a well-meaning person who likes clothes) discover new, interesting, and affordable ways to really start dressin’.

Here at InsideHook, we aren’t afraid of tackling the big questions. You know the hard-hitting, sometimes gritty stuff: the widening generation divide, challenges of aging and, of course, what colors you should be wearing this spring. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.

The InsideHook Spring Style Guide
Leveling up your seasonal swag has never been simpler

I jest, but the associations between seasons and specific shades are no joke. (This phenomenon is not to be confused with seasonal color analysis, a pseudoscience spawned, like so many others, in the ’80s.) Remember the whole “no white pants after Labor Day” thing? Chances are, most of you could rattle a few hues that you equate with spring off dome right now, and they’d most likely be the same. Yellows, greens, general colors of life.

One color that you probably don’t associate with spring style? Brown. And yet, as I’m sure you’ve realized by now, here I am, asking you to wear mud-colored things this season. Hear me out. While it gets a bad rap for being boring, the versatility of the shade is unmatched. Few other colors have the ability to mix and match with so many different shades, from bright pops of reds and oranges to delicate creams and sky blues. Its ability to bring out the fullness in lighter tones, while complimenting brooding black and navy, makes brown an invaluable asset for temperamental weather and transitional wardrobes.

Another Aspect is doing right by brown this spring .
Another Aspect is doing right by brown this spring.
Another Aspect

To be clear, I am not alone in suggesting that brown is a particularly strong investment at the moment. WWD reported that buyers at Paris Fashion Week were rabid for dulcet chocolate tones, while GQ recently suggested that this year’s award show red carpets might have been more more aptly described as maroon. If you’re more of an anecdotal cat, look no further than Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig in a recent music video for a single off the band’s new album, Only God Was Above Us. Ezzy is draped in a louche polo (I am 80% sure it is a new-season Filippa K joint, but you can find a similar and much cheaper option at Zara) that can only be described as delicious, and an instant copy-paste spring fit.

The metaphorical egg in this spring brown chicken equation is an influx of new apparel beating the traditional drab allegations. Brands like Another Aspect — like last’s weeks MFPEN, another Copenhagen-based brand on the cutting edge of cool — and the Olsen twins’ heady luxury label The Row, are moving beyond classical uses for the shade, adding tons of wavy patterning (brown stripes is the way) and funky fabrics to a historically buttoned-up color.

This illumination should hopefully shift your query from “Why would I wear brown?” to “How can I pull it off without looking like a total herb?” I’m here to hold your hand, buddy. Opting for rich, fringe tones from the brown family — aforementioned chocolate is a flattering coloring for most men, and redder hues like umber and chestnut offer a different depth of complexity than your standard brown chinos. Likewise, inviting textures (linen for spring, a novel concept) add a whole new dimension to the color that lighter shades tend to miss out on.

Todd Snyder’s recent spring drop includes one of the best broutfits to hit shelves thus far this season — elsewhere, Lemaire’s S/S24 offerings are similarly incredibly silky, and the new Uniqlo U Wide-Fit Jeans are a revelation – with a dusty, dark chocolate work suit (that’s workwear suit, not suit for work, although it certainly could be) cut from a crispy Irish Baird McNutt linen and woven in Portugal. Its familiar silhouette is perfect for testing out the brown waters (gross) while the matching Gurkha trousers are devilishly on trend and all but guaranteed to make an impact.

That’s all she wrote. Enjoy your weekend. Get outside. Watch out for earthquakes. Bet on brown.

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