How To Wear Brown Pants: 18 Outfit Examples & The Colours That Go Best
How to style brown pants without looking old before your time, and the colours that go best with them.
Often considered the straight-laced (read: boring) cousin of your trusty khakis, brown pants are having a moment. Designers low and high end are releasing a number of contemporary options in a variety of lighter, more versatile shades, banishing all thoughts of the dark, fusty corduroys your Geography professor used to wear.
Much like the other go-to neutrals in your closet – think navy, black and grey – brown offers an excellent canvas for which to paint your daily getups. Yet because it’s still an underused colour in men’s fashion, it also offers something slightly different when compared to the aforementioned hues.
So, how do you go about styling brown pants without looking old before your time, and which colours go best with them? We have the answers below, along with 18 modern outfits you can use as inspiration to craft your own looks.
What shirt colours go with brown pants?
Brown is an earthy hue that’s much more versatile than you might think. Although shade plays a part – brown runs the gamut from light tan and caramel to darker chocolate and mahognay via coffee and chestnut tones – there are some foolproof shirt colours that always look great when matched with brown pants:
White shirt with brown pants
White creates a clean and classic contrast with brown, allowing the pants to remain the focal point of the look.
Grey shirt with brown pants
Light and mid shades of grey operate a lot like white and will create a crisp pairing with brown. Charcoal can work with light-to-mid brown pants but won’t create enought contrast when set against darker shades.
Cream/beige shirt with brown pants
Combing these light, neutral hues together will create a cohesive, monochromatic palette that requires very little thought.
Green shirt with brown pants
Another foolproof combo due to the fact that green and brown is a pairing you often see in the natural world, so it feels familiar to us.
Blue/navy shirt with brown pants
Almost every shade of blue, from pastel through to navy, works well with brown. It’s a timeless combo that’s often found in the world of workwear (in the form of denim and leather work boots).
Pink shirt with brown pants
Softer shades of pink will add a sense of warmth to brown pants. Avoid more vivid shades like hot pink and fuschia, however, as they can look jarring set against brown.
Burgundy/marooon shirt with brown pants
Wine shades of burgundy and maroon work extremely well with darker brown tones, bringing a sense of refinement to any look.
Autumnal hues with brown pants
Burnt orange, rust and mustard yellow reference falling leaves in fall, creating a warm, seasonally-appropriate palette with brown.
Colours to avoid with brown pants
If you’re an advanced-level menswear master, then more often than not you’ll make any colour work with brown. That said, we would typically advise avoiding the following:
- Black: the contrast between black and brown looks a little clunky and often creates an unsightly clash. It’s fine when it’s a pair of black shoes bookending a brown suit, but not so much when you’re trying to tie your top and bottom half together.
- Neons: bright, eye-searing colours are hard to pull off at the best of times, and look best when set against an extremely dark (black) or light (white) canvas. When matched with brown they will overpower the more subdued, earthy shade.
- Similar shades of brown: much like black men needing to be careful with picking shades that are too close to their skin tone, combining brown with brown only works if you vary the tone dramatically (i.e. light shades mixed with dark, richer hues). If you don’t create a clear contrast the pieces can blend into each other and your look will lack definition.
18 stylish brown pants outfits for men
Brown pants streetwear outfit
This cold-weather streetwear outfit makes use of a primarily brown palette, with the dark brown work pants, mid-brown layered T-shirt and light brown down jacket combining effortlessly while still creating a clear distinction between each piece.
This is helped further by the addition of the bright white zip-up fleece, which stops the entire look becoming a bit dull and monotonous. The same goes for the white duck boots, which add a punctuation mark to the bottom of the fit.
The addition of a pale brown beanie is a nice addition that shows good attention to detail.
Smart casual brown pants outfit
A pair of light brown tailored pants with a turn up makes an excellent addition to any smart casual wardrobe, as proven here. Combined with a light blue tee and grey suede trucker jacket, they instantly elevate these casual pieces, bringing a sense of refinement to your everyday getup.
Finish with tonal brown loafers and lose the socks for a bit of Italian flair.
Brown trackpants & cable knit outfit
Light brown trackpants bring a retro, Ivy League feel to this fit, which is smart and sporty in equal measure. The slouchy cable knit sweater and off-white canvas kicks reinforce the vintage preppy aesthetic, with each piece neatly tied together by the white stripe running down the side of the trousers.
This is prep school athleisure at its finest and ideal for running errands at the weekend.
Brown pants and suede jacket outfit
Here’s how you introduce a bold shot of colour to a look without it becoming overbearing. This time the brown pants are as dark as you can get (and are combined with equally dark shoes), creating a neutral base for which the items above can shine (figuratively and literally).
A bright yellow zip-neck top is tucked into the pants and layered underneath a rich, tonal brown suede jacket, negating the overall impact of the statement piece by containing it to a small section of the outfit.
It’s a foolproof move that you can steal anytime you wish to try a new colour you’re unsure about.
Brown pants and grey hoodie outfit
Skatewear is a major fashion trend right now, evolving from the streetwear aesthetic that has taken over the industry in recent years. And this fit shows how to channel the look in modern yet authentic way, which doesn’t feel too try-hard.
Offering an alternative to classic Dickie’s and Carhartt khaki pants, these brown twill chinos are cut roomy around the thigh before tapering to the ankle, giving you the opportunity to show off a pair of branded logo socks or classic marl version. The white leather Wallabees are a striking choice, sure, but they offer something different to your white sneakers. You could always switch them for a Sk8-Hi or similar skate shoe.
With everything going on down below, the top is kept simple: a heavyweight grey hoodie and navy baseball cap is a comfortable choice that references the roots of the subculture.
Contemporary sportswear outfit
This outfit is relaxed yet stylish, combining comfortable athletic pieces – quarter-zip sweater, plain white cotton tee, retro running shoes – with a pair of tapered, slightly cropped brown pants for a modern high-low aesthetic.
The palette is particularly worth paying attention to here. The lighter shade of brown contrasts against the darker charcoal while bright white is used to create a break point (and further definition) between the two items.
Meanwhile the sneakers pull together the top and bottom half due to their tonal grey colourway.
Brown pants & workwear outfit
There’s nowhere that brown feels more appropriate than in the great outdoors, and this outfit was built just for that. Incorporating all the key workwear pieces – logger boots, heavy flannel shirt, brown work pants and grey zip-up fleece – the look feels authentic without looking like you’re playing dress up.
The palette is also a triumph, with the earthy shades of grey, green, brown and yellow-beige working with each other rather than against.
Brown pants and white T-shirt
A white T-shirt is like a cheat code in menswear: it goes with anything and everything in your wardrobe including, of course, brown pants.
Here, the bold green sneakers are the ideal complement to the brown drawstring trousers, creating a standout bottom half. Anything too fussy above would be overkill, so a white T-shirt is used to anchor the look and ensure all the attention stays down below.
Note how the print on both the T-shirt and tote incorporate shades of green, making everything feel considered and deliberate.
Brown pants with a green shirt
Ready for summer barbeques or alfresco vacation dining, this look is simple in its execution but still creates an impact.
By opting for light brown pants over, say, bog-standard navy or grey, it gives this classic chinos and Cuban collar shirt pairing a new lease of life. Green and brown are also an earthy match made in heaven, so the palette just works.
When it comes to the finer details, we love the knotted lightweight scarf peeking out under the shirt collar and the effortlessly cool sunglasses. You can lose the baseball cap or keep it depending on how bright the sun is that day.
Brown pants with a burgundy bomber
This outfit goes to show just how easy it is to make a statement when you pick alternative colourways of your favourite pieces, with the brown tapered pants and unusual burgundy suede bomber jacket combing to great effect.
The surrounding elements are pared back, as they shold be, with plain canvas high-tops, a white tee and grey sweater playing a supporting role to the main event.
Sticking to a tonal palette is foolproof way of dressing that requires little thought. And even more so if you’re utilising a selection of colours that naturally complement each other, such as earth tones.
As proven here, brown, stone and cream can be mixed and matched to create a monochromatic look that feels cohesive, with the light brown chinos, stone sweater and ecru wool overshirt playing off each other perfectly.
Brown drawstring pants & varsity jacket outfit
This street-ready fit takes brown pants out of their academic environment and gives them a sporty spin thanks to the addition of a drawstring waist.
This vibe is emphasised further by the white baseball cap and cream leather varsity jacket, giving the entire getup a high-end athleisure feel.
Down below, the green suede Wallabees tie reinforces the underlying earthy palette, bringing cohesion the to the entire look.
Tonal brown outfit
Mixing up your shades is important in any one-colour outfit, but even more so with brown. A head-to-toe brown look can quickly look ‘muddy’ and, well, boring if you don’t create enough separation between the pieces. And the above outfit is an example of how to get it right.
The mid-brown cargo pants are cut slim and come in a wool fabric for an elevated feel, with the sleek dark brown leather Chelsea boots ensuring there is a clear visual break at the trouser hem.
Meanwhile, up top, the cream and light brown checked flannel shirt creates visual interest and a clear contrast against the pants, with the addition of a mid-brown sweater underneath not only adding further depth but complementing the model’s darker skin tone wonderfully.
Brown pants with green overshirt
Green and brown is a classic colour combo that works because it feels familiar – it’s found everywhere you look in the natural world. This outfit utilises it to great effect, opting for rich mid shades to create a look that’s vibrant without being in your face.
There are two key details here that take this fit from good to great: the slight turn up on the pants shows off a nice check pattern that creates a clear break before the brown suede boots start, and the shirt is left open with a bright white Henley top layered underneath to lift the overall palette and introduce contrast.
Brown pants & cream blazer separates outfit
If you’re in need of a smart summer outfit, whether for a wedding abroad or a relaxed business event, this is it. The rich chestnut trousers contrast beautifully against the beige linen-cotton blazer for a sophisticated separates look that doesn’t resort to the usual dreary grey-navy combo.
With a colour pairing this strong the surrounding pieces need to be subdued, so stick to a crisp open-collar white shirt and brown leather tassel loafers.
Brown combat pants outfit
Combat pants are having a moment and arguably look their best when taken out of their traditional military context. This outfit does just that, with the pants rendered in a smooth brushed cotton and cut close to the leg for a more sophisticated take on army apparel.
Combined with smart commando sole Derby boots, a ribbed navy sweater and sleek navy car coat, it’s a look that references the precise, put-together ethos of the Armed Forces without it feeling like you’re playing soldiers.
Brown pants with blue
Blue and brown is a match made in heaven and one you can default to time and time again.
Here, a pair of light brown tailored pants with a turn up are bookended with blue pieces above and below, coming in the form of a light blue sweater and navy suede loafers.
Keeping the colours in the same family top and bottom ties everything together, with the trousers providing the anchor this time.
Summer-ready brown pants outfit
Here’s how to take a pair of brown pants and turn them into something fashion-forward and contemporary. Clearly geared up for warm weather, the light tan chinos are cut wide and loose, allowing for air circulation while keeping the aesthetic the right side of modern.
Up top, a knitted vest and crochet shirt offer further breathability and are layered over the top of each other for a look that is both texturally and visually interesting. By keeping the shades in off-white and ecru, it means that the interesting weave demands all the attention without shouting.
It’s a vacation look your dad wouldn’t be seen dead in (and that’s a good thing).