March 17th, 2023

Saint Laurent: The Best Brown

Brown looks better than ever and this season and Saint Laurent got it right. The peacoat is particularly good-looking — an absolute forever piece. Coat, blouse, bag.

  • Ready to embark with brown. Looks fresh and gorgeous richness to it.

    JeanMarch 17th, 2023  6:10 PM

  • Preston, that’s a good peacoat.

    TracyMarch 17th, 2023  6:30 PM

  • Indeed

    PrestonMarch 18th, 2023  7:58 AM

  • “No brown in town”…Neither in the country. Sage, grey, beige, ecru, burgundy, black or navy but BROWN???
    Even my Grandparents were never wearing it LOL

    Rue des GirofleeMarch 18th, 2023  4:21 PM

  • Rue des Giroflee: d’accord!

    PaulaMarch 18th, 2023  5:16 PM

  • Brown looks amazing with a pink or blue accessory (I love a good scarf!) – don’t pass on the rich color with a lot of potential on account of the grandparents’ do’s and don’ts! Irina

    IrinaMarch 18th, 2023  7:25 PM

  • Irina, my Grandparents, especially Grandma, will always be one of the most important style role model to me, even if she passed 30 years ago. Not without a good reason English used to say that one should wear brown in the country, you blend with the surrounding, dirt is not that visible, old but very universal wisdom.
    Have you seen House of Gucci? There is a funny sequence when Rodolfo Gucci a very chic and sophisticated man, is showing the Flora scarf to Paolo which was a clown really. Please, hear what he told him about brown and pastels.
    When I look at the black or navy classic pea coat and at the brown one, not only my personal taste and feeling of aesthetics but also intuition is telling me clearly what to choose. I love to see dark brown chocolate, brown labradors, roasted coffee beans or my brown ski helmet going well with H orange silk scarf but not more than this.
    Merci Paula! I wish you post your IG or fb profile if you have one.

    Rue des GirofleesMarch 19th, 2023  6:24 AM

  • Interesting comments. My grandmother and my aunt were both beautiful dressers. Both wore a lot of brown, mixed with grey flannel, camel, and even black. If my grandmother wore a black suit, she always wore rich brown alligator accessories with it (shoes, bag, gloves) which she felt brought “life, but not color” to the all black. I just purchased a beautiful brown suede jacket, which is something I’ve been wanting for a long time. Love the SL pieces.

    KathyMarch 19th, 2023  8:02 AM

  • Rue des Giroflee, either feel free to concur with your grandparent’s’ sentiments and avoid wearing brown, or break from their rules. I, for one, will continue to follow my heart when choosing colors.

    Have a nice day!

    SharonMarch 19th, 2023  8:03 AM

  • Wanted to add Preston – with brown clothing, like a suit, my grandmother wore Bordeaux alligator leather accessories. To me, she was always very sophisticated and ahead of her time.

    KathyMarch 19th, 2023  8:05 AM

  • Kathy, I agree with you, brown alligator accessories are a different story, some shades are just perfect.

    Rue des GirofleesMarch 19th, 2023  8:42 AM

  • Brown is not usually the first color I gravitate towards but lately I am finding myself choosing it more often. Isn’t cognac considered a shade of brown? I love boots and bags in cognac. And I agree that brown alligator leather is so luxurious. I have a brown leather blazer which I just love!

    SLFMarch 19th, 2023  12:48 PM

  • I recall way back, much longer than I wish to admit to, reading that brown suits were acceptable business attire in Boston perhaps, but no where else. Never in New York! I think this “advice” was directed toward men, but may have been in Dress For Success, not sure. I don’t think in today’s more fashion oriented business world, the rules are any where near that rigid. How can the pieces pictured above be considered any thing less than chic?

    AprilMarch 19th, 2023  3:09 PM

  • I was so confused by this conversation about “no brown in town” and found this on Both my mother and grandmother had strict rules about dressing but I never heard this. I learned something new about color today. Thank you!

    Rule 2: Do not wear brown in town.

    It’s worth repeating my maxim from the first instalment in this series: “Rules are there for a reason, but there is nothing wrong with breaking them. These statements are not contradictory. Once you understand the rules, you can work out how to break them effectively.”

    So, why does the rule ‘no brown in town’ exist? Because brown was the colour that a gentleman working in the city wore when he returned home, or on the weekend.

    During the week he wore black, blue or grey, all in suitably dark tones. Brown was the colour of the country, of tweed and felt hats; of shoes most obviously.

    The colours of hats and shoes demonstrate this rule most effectively.

    Shoes show how English the rule is. For decades other countries have worn shoes other than black for business without any implied lack of decency or formality.

    The Italians wore little other than brown, the French (though fairly conservative themselves) strayed into other colours, and the Americans developed a fondness for oxblood – as well as a love of brown in some areas.

    But for the English, business meant black. They were therefore free to characterise anyone in brown shoes as off-duty, casual, and come up with a rhyming code like ‘no brown in town’ to remind anyone who was tempted to stray.

    Hats show how practical the rule still is. Even today, most lovers of hats would say they do not wear a brown or green hat for business, sticking to shades of grey or perhaps navy.

    In this slightly antiquated item of dress, therefore, the rule continues to be relevant, reminding people that they should treat business with the dignity it deserves (as the Austin Reed maxim goes).

    However, the most important thing to realise about this rule is that it is out of date. Brown shoes, suits or jackets are no longer forbidden for business in England, or anywhere else.

    It is the spirit of the rule that is still relevant: wear business attire for business.

    In any office there will be items that would be considered unprofessional to wear. For some, that would be trainers, or jeans. In my office, unfortunately, the only thing that would probably be unacceptable would be shorts.

    That is what the rule means, and understanding it allows you to break it intelligently. Wear brown, but make sure your attire is always and everywhere appropriate to the work your environment.,hats%3B%20of%20shoes%20most%20obviously.

    Laura Zinn FrommMarch 19th, 2023  4:02 PM

  • Brown accessories (shoes, belts, bags, gloves, hats) are altogether different than brown clothing. Brown suede jeans, which I own, and brown suede Tyrol, Italian, or western jackets with fringe are altogether different than a brown wool coat or a brown cotton shirt. UPS drivers wear brown cotton shirts and shorts and we love them. WWI Army veterans wore brown suits and we honor them. Am I going to look chic in a brown cotton dress or wool coat? No. I’ll look tired and dour. Will I feel good in brown suede? Yes – it’s best in leather and skins (and possibly velvet).
    Time will certainly tell if brown has the same lasting power that ink blue, camel, grey and black have and whether a big investment in expensive brown clothing will be wise. I just know that, for myself, on a dismal cold grey sleeting freezing day next winter, I won’t be lusting for a brown coat. No matter what color the scarf is. 🙂

    PaulaMarch 19th, 2023  11:43 PM

  • I personally prefer wearing brown in leather accents, but it can be chic in clothing, too. Miuccia Prada has been showing us how for decades, with her black and brown looks. I enjoy wearing black and navy together, and that also used to be off limits, until Yves Saint Laurent sent all kinds of beautiful color combinations down his runways! I’ve been going down a rabbit hole, lately, on how Morocco transformed Saint Laurent’s way of seeing color. He talked about seeing—not just a color—but the light on the color. Everything has looked different to me since, even if it’s simply a green lawn with the sunlight on it.

    MMarch 20th, 2023  4:41 AM

  • Dear Readers- If you don’t like what I post, stop reading my blog — no need to write multiple negative comments. Also, please do not email me directly on this, I don’t need to hear yet another argument on why some of you dislike brown clothing.

    PrestonMarch 20th, 2023  6:50 AM

  • I just read this thread for the first time early this morning, so brown has been on my mind, really as a bit of a mea culpa. I keep thinking about Amy Poehler’s famous line: “Good for her! Not for me.” When I see something differently than a friend, that line keeps the fun in fashion. And then sometimes the fresh perspective shakes me up a bit. I recently passed on a beautiful cashmere scarf because the brown tones didn’t work for me. This thread is making me rethink the scarf!

    MMarch 20th, 2023  10:12 AM

  • Preston, one of the many things I love about your blog is that you don’t tell your readers what we should or shouldn’t wear. You offer wonderful, thoughtful commentary on what you find intriguing. You also have an expert eye for combinations that work for you and might work for others. I am always grateful for your suggestions.

    EricaMarch 20th, 2023  11:41 AM

  • I love Brown! I always keep an eagle eye out for brown pieces. Just like navy, it is softer near your face. The accessories scream lux.

    RheaMarch 20th, 2023  12:57 PM

  • I was a guest at a design event in San Francisco a few months ago with some of the most talented designers in California. I wore my go-to outfit for a day event in the city – black loafers, black trousers, black turtleneck sweater, and black leather jacket. I was *shocked* at how out of place I felt in black. The most fabulously dressed women were all in brown tones. They looked so much fresher and more chic than those of us playing it safe in black. I am inspired!!

    STMarch 20th, 2023  5:55 PM

  • What a conversation starter! Preston, having lived in Paris and now London for the past 6 years, I’ve noted the shift in my own dressing as a NYer. After a diet of black, black,, and more black, I started to embrace the complexion- boosting benefits of navy blue and espresso brown. The depth of these colours are heightened when worn with white denim, which Parisians wear year round. It has opened my eyes up to Mother Nature’s manual- the earthiness of soil contrasted against the plucky colours birthed from flowers. I adore the pieces you shared here and am now adding them to my purchase list. Thanks for sharing your sartorial eye with us. x S

    SeverineMarch 21st, 2023  9:47 AM

  • @LauraZinnFromm Thanks for pulling that piece. To follow a rule one based on a certain segment of society and two to follow an outdated fashion rule is silly and shows lack of creative and frankly personal style. So wearing white before Labor Day—do you really follow that rule still? I would hope not. Look there many shades of brown and I would bet many of us have some cognac in our wardrobes. Why limit yourself, develop a style that represents you; do you, not rules.,

    RonicaMarch 25th, 2023  11:41 AM


Your email address is only used for our verification process to help reduce spam comments and will not be shared, published or stored for any other purpose. Please be courteous. All comments are moderated.

Name :

Email (will not be published) :