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Black and Brown

November 20th, 2013

The other day we were discussing some classic “Men’s Fashion Faux Pas'”.

Menswear is full of old-school “rules” that don’t really apply to today’s style scene, yet the team and I continue to get concerning emails from readers about them.

Therefore, in a series of upcoming posts we will be trying to overturn some of these old-world limitations on men’s style, with the hopes that men will start thinking far outside the confines of these outdated boxes.

For the first post in the series, I put together three looks combining black & brown, along with some tips on how to make it all work.

1. Oh So 70s


Photography shot with the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR camera, with Dual Pixel AF technology and built-in Wi-Fi

The trick to mixing black and brown is keeping a noticeable contrast. Rather than combining black with dark chocolate, try a lighter shade like this tobacco hopsack.

On a separate note; something about a mustache and a paisley scarf is so 70s, in a good way.


Taking cues from The Odd Vest here. I designed this double-breasted waistcoat with rounded corners and shawl lapels (part of a three-piece suit in Ariston fabric) to double as a formal waistcoat under one of my tuxedos or dinner jackets.

A paisley scarf is a nod to the old school, and a great way to add a punch of pattern to a more subdued look.


I’ve been working closely with the good people at Johnston & Murphy, test-driving their new styles and providing feedback on the quality and design. I was rather impressed with these two-tone (black & brown) chunky wingtips.

The Karnes Wingtip model is a great pair to add contrast to a look – whether it’s a rugged edge to a tailored look (like here), or a clean & sharp feel to a more casual weekend outfit.


Worsted Wool Suit in Camel

  • White cotton shirt by Angel Bespoke ·
  • Red Paisley Silk/Linen/Cotton Scarf Vintage ·
  • Black DB Vest ·
  • Black “Karnes” Wingtips by Johnston & Murphy ·
  • Black/Gold Shades by Ray-Ban
  • · Camel hopsack Suit

2. Turtleneck & Pleats


You already know I’m a proud supporter of the turtleneck. With the Gentlemo it has me looking very…Canadian, eh?

I found this awesome Italian-made Harley Davidson leather jacket for the Articles of Style Vintage Shop. Then I wore it one time and immediately removed it from the shop.


This leather piece is a lifetime keeper for the fit and quality alone, not to mention all the unique design details (removable mouton collar, crested leather-covered buttons, lace-up side adjusters, etc).

It will become even more handy when I finally pull the trigger on a motorcycle out here in LA :)


As we recently spoke about (in Throwback Jazz Style feat. Mike Davis) I’m loving fuller-cut pants with multiple pleats.

Trousers have gotten so boring these days – I love seeing a pair with multiple pleats (these are box-pleated), side adjusters, back pocket flaps, etc. This pair is also extra special to me since I handmade them for my final menswear collection at the Fashion Institute NYC.


Wool Flannel Trouser in Mid Gray

3. V-Neck & Polo


Here the camel sweater helps meld together the black golf jacket and the chestnut trousers (part of one of my favorite suits).


Under a thin v-neck sweater I sometimes find a formal button-down too stiff, and a washed button-down too wimpy in the collar. A polo shirt with a solid button-down collar is a great alternative.

There’s something nice about going knit-on-knit, and not having to deal with bunchy sleeves.


These Deerfield tassel loafers are also by Johnston & Murphy, only they’re at least 10 years old.

They’ve held up quite well considering how often I wear them… In fact, they might be the most featured pair of shoes in Articles of Style history. As seen in the following posts, dating back to when we first starting shooting our own photography:

  • Grey tortoise shades by Matsuda ·
  • Black cotton golf jacket Vintage ·
  • Camel V-Neck Sweater by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Grey stripe polo shirt by Uniqlo x Michael Bastian ·
  • Slim brown leather belt Vintage ·
  • “Deerfield” Oxblood tassel loafers by Johnston & Murphy


Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Articles of Style


Photography by Alex Crawford