After reading my recent post on Seasonal Wardrobe Capsules, Dana posed a good question:
Do any of you have a problem with the brown vs. black issue, especially for shoes. sweaters, and jackets? I have the worst time coordinating outfits because half my pieces go with a brown based wardrobe and half with a black.
Dana, I have wrestled with this very problem recently. When I was a child, we always had black shoes (they went best with our Catholic school uniforms) and I kept to this when I began picking out and paying for my things. I bought black shoes, black handbags, black belts, and black totes. Everything matched (which I love) and my wardrobe worked very well with black accessories (i.e. there was no brown).
As I got older though, I wanted to branch out a bit and try to add brown to my life. It seemed like it would go well with my skin tone and hair color. I hesitated, though, because I liked my accessories to match (same shade handbag as shoes type of thing) and I didn't have a ton of money to spend changing everything over. That is when I decided that I could have the best of both worlds!
I now have two parts to my wardrobe: things that go with black and things that go with brown. I have a several black handbags, a few pairs of black shoes, a black winter coat, and some black and gray skirts, tops, etc.). In addition, I have a brown handbag, a few pairs of shoes, a lighter weight wool coat in royal purple (much prettier then it sounds, though I should have listened to my first instinct and gotten the tweed coat instead!), and brown based skirts, tops, etc. When I wear an outfit that coordinates with black, I wear the black accessories and when I wear something with browns I choose my brown accessories. It may seem like a lot of work, but it isn't... especially if you organize your closet according to color and lay out your clothes/accessories the night before. Also, price doesn't have to be an issue either. Building a wardrobe takes time... Do it slowly, buying things one at a time when you REALLY like something. Enjoy the process!