The hottest color of 2021 is undoubtedly one of the most underrated colors of all time — brown. Typically outshined by its other dark counterparts, black, navy, and gray, brown has notoriously been a color most speed away from, but not anymore. Driving the color wheel this season, brown refuses to take a backseat.
Associated with resilience, dependability, security and safety, brown evokes a sense of strength and reliability that is especially desirable during the ever-changing times of COVID-19. Seeking simplicity and comfortability, society’s need to dress up has undeniably gone down, but the desire to look stylish has remained unchanged. To master this paradox of dress, one should look to brown to express oneself in a subtle, yet sophisticated way.
Propelled by major fashion houses, brown was welcomed on the runway. Hues like dark chocolate and warm cognac were seen swirling all throughout many Fall and Winter 2020 and 2021 collections. Check out the beautifully draped neutrals on display from Balmain, this structured sienna leather look from FENDI and the stunning tan tartans at Burberry.
Just scroll a few minutes on any social media site and you’re bound to find at least one celebrity, influencer or friend indulging in some shade of brown. Don’t be surprised if Bella Hadid’s head-to-toe brown leather outfit pops up on your Pinterest feed or Kim Kardashian-West’s brown puffer look that has gotten over three million likes on Instagram.
Closer to home — on the Kent State campus — college students couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the color brown and are embracing the shade in more ways than one.
“I love brown in general because it’s the perfect colorful way to stay neutral!” said Isobel Day, a freshman political science major. “It’s like a more fun version of black or white, and I find it really complements any color.”
The diverse range of neutral tones possible with brown also makes it the perfect shade for every skin tone.
“Being a dark skin woman, growing up I hated brown,” said Kiara Moore, a freshman fashion design major. “But once I got more into my style, I realized brown was such a power statement in fashion. Brown is literally the new black. Who wears black when we have brown?”
Like Moore, many are starting to develop a newfound appreciation for brown because of its versatile nature. For example, freshman fashion design major Zoe Swanson loves styling brown with different color combos.
“Brown works well with dark greens, oranges and earthy tones. It’s also fun to pair brown coats or pants with a pop of pink or blue to bring out the vintage look within the outfit, especially if the fabric is corduroy.”
In addition to color blocking, Swanson recommends layering different shades of brown together.
“For instance, a chocolate overcoat works really well with light camel tones,” she said. “[It just] creates a stunning outfit.”
Seeing this forgotten shade come into the light is precisely what 2021 is all about — looking at life from a new perspective and making the best out of unconventional circumstances. Just think about wearing brown like reconnecting with an old friend — you’ll be wondering why you didn’t get together sooner.
SUPPORT STUDENT MEDIA
Hi, I’m Maria McGinnis, a senior journalism student from Stow, Ohio. I’m also the editor-in-chief of A Magazine. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty, and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine.