I wont lie… brown as a colour does not naturally call to me. Unless it’s a bar of chocolate.
I think this is the third time there has been a brown ‘thing’/resurgence in fashion-y or the underwear world terms since I’ve been working in it (for 20 years, give or take. Crikey).
In my day job (as a lingerie designer) we’ve been seeing the trend for brown, ginger & tobacco (yes, called those names really) for quite a few seasons, though it’s not really been really picked up that much – sometimes a slight nod.
The Trend Agencies (that study trends in buying patterns, looking at street-wear to new and high end designers, food trends, to new technologies in textiles and electronics, to cars, to everything – GLOBALLY) might say that they can see something as a movement or train of thought/ideology starting to surface that seems completely ‘out there’ at first look – new moods quite often take time to build.
As a designer I/we need to be able to take these ideas and break them down and make them, when we present our version of the seasons trends, relevant and accessible for our customers.
So brown; where has it come from? Why now?
There is without doubt, a move towards self awareness and mindfulness and the taking care of oneself body and soul; to nurture, protect, yet still broaden our outlooks in this increasingly mad and 24/7 world. To embrace technology, but also step away from it (at times) for our mental health and general well being.
The message of Comfort, to not be or feel restricted in our clothes has been there in lingerie and outerwear for ages (forever?!)… of course man made fibres still have their place, but soft finishes, natural shapes, natural fibres are things we’ve embraced and we’re not going to let go.
Think of the market for trainers now – it’s about comfort, fitness, fashion, health (and equality… but that’s another piece for another time.)
Equally, massive amounts of time and money are invested now in a way I’ve never seen before in the development of fashionable options of non wired bras (they are no longer just ugly over-shoulder-boulder-holders) for women that find under wires uncomfortable.
Not only are there more non wired bra options, or padded non wire – there are alternatives where wires are so encased in foam they can barely be felt – but still give the structure and look of an underwire. The choice where comfort reigns is without doubt thankfully improving.
Our thirst for travel and new adventures is also a great leveller; if you think how comparatively cheap it is to travel these days, we don’t have to physically travel that far to experience and see a completely different world.
North Africa frequently has come up as an point of reference for inspiration ; the food, the architecture and ceramic tiles, the souks and spices, the colours of the soil, the sand, the sky, and the tannery’s – they are all massively rich sources of inspiration for colours, textures and prints.
Sometimes retailers or brands are cautious about bringing in a new colour that hasn’t been ‘used’ for a while – whatever the trend agencies might decree is the colour of the season – the reality of store lighting can make or break ranges (lilac – a massive colour for now, is for some markets an absolute dog – cruel lighting can turn the prettiest shades to a dirge of unpleasantness that is only good for mark-down.)
M&S have embraced brown; below is a selection of M&S Rosie for Autograph lingerie – in Oxford Street. The centre pieces are in a shade called Dark Bronze, they’re classic, beautiful and timeless… alas almost sold out online – but should still be available in some stores.
So other than underwear, what else is in brown that doesn’t scare?
Keeping with the satin, these wide leg satin trousers are beautiful. I love how the satin is played down with trainers.
Mint Velvet Chocolate Wide leg satin trousers £89
I love the ease of this smokey almost, shade of brown from Uniqlo. Looks good with the black.
Uniqlo Drapey Twill Long Sleeve Blouse £24.90
A sweat shirt, but cooler. Think of the layering possibilities (buttoned up white shirt underneath, or striped breton?)
Arket French Terry Short Sleeve top £45
A great blouse from Benetton. The colours within the stripes already tell you what to mix it with. I’d go dark indigo jeans.
Benetton stripe blouse with bow £35.95
More stripes. When I found this, the mixture of brown with orange made me inhale sharply, mainly due to the fashion crimes of the 70’s. For me, I’d be more likely to wear this with black trousers or jeans… or wait, a black pleated skirt.
Cos – striped fine knit top £55
This jumper with the zing of red. Love it on every level.
& Other Stories Striped Sleeve Sweater £59
I am quite, most definitely probably, a stuck record when it comes to boots, but.
Well. If they’re right, they’re right and a most joyful thing to behold and stride about in.
These are high but not too high. A delicious dark brown shade.
& Other Stories O-ring Zipper Leather Ankle Boots £129
Lighter brown in slouchy marvellous-ness. Online only.
M&S Leather Side Zip Mid Calf boot £79
Rocking the cool part of the 70’s I was too young remember… but would happily wear now. Online only again.
H&M Faux Leather knee high boots £49.99
A stunning shade of brown, this is called Chestnut – could it BE more autumn?
Hush Anya Long Coat £170
I’m sorry to include this epic coat. Sold out online – but too beautiful (& brown!) not to share – may still be available in store?
H&M Faux Fur £79.99.
Finally, staying faux fur – and investment piece for sure, but… years and year of wear.
Reiss Fay Faux Fur Gilet £295
Brown. Turns out you’ve been lurking in my wardrobe all this time…
Brown Denim jacket; Stella McCartney for H&M – 13+ years old?
Brown Polo neck jumper, just seen; Banana Republic 15+ years old.
Tan Boots; Clarks – 11+ years old.
Black Pleated Skirt; Zara AW17.
Black Cross Body bag; Gap – 3+ years old.
Tassle Earrings; H&M AW17.
Red Sunglasses; H&M SS18.
Do I never throw anything away?! xx