Brown has always been my Black. For one, it’s easier to see details on Brown than Black. For two, I have never been classy or depressed enough to work black as a signature color. For three, as much as I try to hide it with blingy door-knockers and exhuberant 80s excess, I have a serious bohemian style streak — which of course requires weathered brown boots.
I love my Frye Campus 14L boots in Saddle Brown.
I love my Frye Paige Tall Riding Boots in Dark Brown.
But I’m ready for a new Brown. And that new Brown is Grey. I want all Grey shoes, please. What’s great about Grey is that it’s a neutral, but still gets noticed because not everyone wears it. It’s true that in clothing Grey tends to wash people out but with footwear I think it just looks classy and distinguished.
Last spring a “Nude” trend hit that has stuck around, especially for footwear. I put “Nude” in quote marks because the range of colors that are getting called “Nude” does not reflect what most people I know look like naked. It maybe reflects what Blake Lively looks like naked before, during, and after a week in the Hamptons. But that’s a dig on designer color-naming, not on Blake Lively. I would like to see Blake Lively nude after a week in the Hamptons. Sorry.
That aside, I’m into the whole dressing-your-skin-tone thing — but also, sometimes I like to speak to a trend without getting into a deep conversation, if you know what I mean. And I think Grey and Nude could have some great small talk about saturation and hue and value. By which I mean anything you can wear with a Nude shoe you can also wear with a Grey shoe of similar color properties.
It’s fall, so I’m thinking about boots, and when I think of boots, I think of The Frye Company. The people there constantly amaze me with their ability to stay true to their aesthetic roots as a 100+ year old company while still putting out styles every year that are current and on-trend. A pair of Frye boots NEVER goes out of style… do a search on ebay for Frye Boots and you’ll find that a 30-year-old pair in good condition can go for nearly as much as a brand new set. And most of their boots come in Grey.
|Frye Paige Tall Riding|
These are great in Dark Brown but fabulous in distressed Grey as well.
|Frye Paige Huarache|
|Frye Paige Cuff|
|Frye Jane Tall Cuff|
|Frye Clovertab in Fawn|
I guess technically these are Brown, but they are definitely a Grey-Brown. Do you think they are made from real Fawns? Faline? Is that you? You look FAWNtastic!
|Frye Dorado Low|
|Frye Heath Piping Back Zip|
I could find no available pics online of the “Piping Back Zip” part in Grey, so here you can see it in the Brown version:
These boots give me the same feeling I get from wildflowers: they’re simple, but far from boring. The high-quality materials and craftsmanship make them beautiful, and the design details of the zipper and piping give it *just* the right amount of interest. They are kind of the best boots I’ve ever seen and are my new serious crush.
While I may act as if Frye is the only boot company in the world, this is not in fact the case! I love these Grey boots by Ms. Albright:
And I also love Grey shoes that are not boots:
|Frye Erin Oxford|
|Veve by Chie Mihara|
|Borne by Chi Mihara|
|Covered Wedge by Jeffrey Campbell #1|
|Covered Wedge by Jeffrey Campbell #2|
Are you surprised at how incredibly NOT boring grey shoes are? A good designer knows that a neutral color is only going to allow the strength of the design to speak for itself, and all of the above are great examples.
A neutral colored shoe with great design detail is the perfect way to ground a bold, busy outfit. Here’s how stylists at Anthropologie did it with the Ms. Albright boot pictured above:
Or sometimes, variation in texture alone is enough to make a big statement. I love what stylists at Urban Outfitters did with the Paige Tall Cuff boots in this all-neutral outfit:
I would finish this outfit off with a big, slouchy, brown bag that would make Rachel Zoe stab herself in the eye and slap her mama.
… Like the Roni bag from Kooba that I have been lusting after for season upon season now. I love it because with this bag, it’s ALL construction. No zipper pulls or grommets or studs or O-rings or bells or whistles or unicorn dust or whatever. Just good patterning and good leather.
Or, as long as we’re on expensive bags I lust after that go with neutral-textured outfits…
|Large Veneta by Bottega Veneta|
…here is another bag that is all about materials and craftsmanship. You know, I bet Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro’s parents were dissapointed when they said they were going to major in basket-weaving. I bet they complained about new-fangled 60s ideas about “arts” in education. But in 1966 Michele and Renzo founded Bottega Veneta and built an EMPIRE out of basket-weaving, didn’t they? Take that, Rents.
My mom totally freaked out when I dropped my course of study to become a Government Employed City Planner in order to follow my stupid dream to be a Writer. I guess she never heard of Bottega Veneta. Ha!
PS OMG! NY Fashion Week Starts Tomorrow! YESSSSSS!