Drowning in brown: dare we dress in non-autumn colors after Labor Day?

12th September

I detest brown. It is a practical color for shoes, I grant you. But when it comes to dresses? Drab! Suits? Boring. Shirts? Excuse me, but it was never “the new black”. I mean, brown is the color of dirt, not of elegance and sophistication. So, Labor Day has just passed, and what is everyone wearing? Let’s see: brown, moss green, burnt orange, mustard yellow, brown, burgundy-violets and more brown. Why do we feel compelled – maybe even obligated – to dress like autumn leaves once Labor Day has passed?

Okay, I’ll admit it. I recently wore a brown suit with pink and white pinstripes. I am not immune to the tendency to be in-step with what I see going on around me. And I must acknowledge that some people seem to have just the right coloring to make brown clothing look rich and soothing, like a cup of hot chocolate.

While I occasionally succumb to this movement, I cannot help feeling a bit like a herd animal or even as if I am faking something. I mean, I live in California: this is our Indian summer. I am still surrounded by blue skies, a blue ocean and golden hillsides. There aren’t a ton of deciduous trees here. Ya know what I mean?

I used to live next door to a five-year-old named Samantha whose parents let her wear whatever she pleased. I would see her in flowery rubber rain boots in the summer and little sparkly sandals in the winter. (I mentioned I live in California, didn’t I?) Sometimes I want to emulate that little girl and disregard convention.

Last Saturday in San Francisco while wearing a burgundy blouse with tan jacket and beige booties, heaven help me, I was relieved and inspired to see some people with style, dressing in glorious disregard to the fashion mandate to wear autumn colors in September. It was a gorgeous 74 degree day with little wind, and I would say the people pictured below look totally appropriate for the conditions, wouldn’t you?

Dressing for summer after Labor Day

Summer dressing after Labor Day

I have to admit I really like these brown shoes.

summer dressing after Labor Day We all seek that fine line between convention and individuality. My creative side suffers when I play it too safe, but then I might realize I’ve made a big, maybe even embarrassing, mistake when I totally disregard the norm. I suppose I couldn’t get by with flowery rubber galoshes while working in a courtroom. But when it is possible, I would like to try to be a little more like Samantha, wouldn’t you?


One response to “Drowning in brown: dare we dress in non-autumn colors after Labor Day?”

  1. NIck says:

    A few years ago, I had an enjoyable conversation with a lady in her 50’s at a park for lunch, and the subject of wearing a brown brogue style shoe came up since we saw a young male wearing a pair of leather shoes and casual shorts. By now we were used to seeing this look. The brown color works with proper tan skin tones. We had to laugh though, when he decided to remove his shoes to revel flop flop sandal tan lines.


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