This week I got an email from Jessica of the blog Jessie This, and her question about mixing black and brown pieces together in one outfit totally got the thinking about how so many of our mothers told us never to do that. I know I was hesitant to try it at first, and there are probably lots of ladies still dutifully pairing black with black and brown with khaki or blue.
My (totally amateur) opinion is that you can totally mix brown and black so long as there's enough contrast between the two hues that the pairing looks intentional. A really dark chocolate brown can look like you meant to wear black but it was dark and you didn't realize what shoes you had on until you got to work. However, a rich cognac or camel brown really pops when paired with black and I think more people should try it. That said, here are some options from the internet that illustrate the concept:
And here's how I would do it: