A sort of funny fact: during economic uncertainty, people tend to wear the color brown. Practical, accessible, and achievable with cheap pigments, brown is the color wheel’s version of comfort food. (It’s also, quite literally, the color of comfort food.) In Ancient Rome, poor citizens were referred to as “pullati,” or “those dressed in brown.” In 4th century England, farmers were required by law to identify their plebeian selves by wearing brown. Monks wore brown to show modesty; the color surged post WWI and again in the ‘70s, the era of stagflation. And during the early 2000s Great Recession, there was even a rumor going around that Hermès would replace their signature orange shopping bags with nondescript brown ones for shoppers who asked. Guess what? Post-pandemic, brown’s trending again!
“Everyone kind of assumes that neutral means natural,” said makeup artist Shayna Goldberg, “But that’s certainly not the case!” When ITG tasked Shayna and her creative team with interpreting the color for an editorial, she admitted, “I had full glamour in mind.” Shayna’s goal? To demonstrate the neutral tone in a way that felt wearable, but still indulgent. Paired with over-the-top tonal outfits, one thing became very clear: you can think of brown as nothing fancy. But it can just as easily be rich, and sumptuous. And maybe that little perception shift makes all the difference. Below, five takes on this fall’s brown bent.