Finally- after nearly a decade’s absence –  the beautiful earthy browns are making an appearance in stores this Fall. Chocolate, Caramel, Camel and Sand are in the spotlight … and not exclusively for women with warm coloring.  See mix-match options for a cool Chocolate-based wardrobe HERE.  And read on for more ideas …

These displays – just two from a dozen or so at Neiman Marcus’ Water Tower Chicago store last week –  illustrate the luxurious effect this color family can impart, and the ease with which the various values complement one another. Also notice the skin-related prints – a classic accent that can give any wardrobe an on-trend update … a topic for a future post. 

Chico’s beautifully illustrates the elegant effect you can get with monochromatic mixes of Camel/Caramel enlivened with value and textural variety.

One caution though:  as wonderful as Camel (or its cooler, temp-neutral cousin, Sand) is on a blonde woman, this monochromatic approach can turn her look into a “blonde blob”.  Much better to add a darker neutral or an element of color to punctuate that pale color, plus a linking accessory to complete the story. 

Here’s an example with the teal Deco Cardigan from Cabi over a Camel shell, using an art deco necklace (pun is accidental) as the link. Or for a woman with even warmer coloring we traded the necklace for a patchwork print crinkle scarf – both from our inventory. (Ignore the dated Camel mock-turtle top; it’s an oldie I keep just for illustrating the warming/softening capability of Camel.)

Silver-haired gals should “Just Say No” to this Brown/Caramel/Camel/Sand color family, but just about everyone else can personalize it to flatter their individual coloring.  How will you give your wardrobe a fresher-upper with earth tones this season?

About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Sherry on September 19, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Finally — my warm colors back in the marketplace ! Yaaa !
    Here is a question that I keep pondering — is it better to organize my closet by category, such as all tops together, all pants together, etc ., or is it better to organize it by color clusters or modules , with all garments within a given module grouped together that would include all tops, jackets and pants for a given module ? Right now I have accent colors by individual colors grouped together, pants , which are all neutrals in a sliding scale of the values of brown grouped together, white and tan tops grouped together, an olive green module including the pants is also a grouping, and my stay at home denim items grouped together . Cardigans are rolled and organized by color in my chest of drawers . I do also separate by season. I think that it is easier to see any “ holes “ in a plan when a total cluster is collected together.
    Also in your core of 4, what would you substitute for a skirt ? I seldom wear them, but use a pant of some sort. So should I buy a jean in a brown instead of a skirt, in addition to a brown dress pant for my two bottoms ?

    • Nancy Nix Rice on September 20, 2019 at 8:09 pm

      The problem with organizing by clusters is that so many pieces have the ability to play in more than one grouping. Do I organize most clients’ closets by garment categories and color.

      As for the Cote Four, of you don’t do skit s it works fine to do a casual pant and a dressier one.

      • Sherry on September 21, 2019 at 10:04 am

        Yes, I was wondering about the double use of a given garment between clusters, where to hang it for sharing.
        Ah, good advice , as usual , on the bottoms dilemma ! I would love to wear skirts and dresses, and though being both short and bottom heavy would be relieved somewhat by wearing heels, these old knees will no longer allow ! So shopping for pretty flats or low heeled pumps to dress up the nicer pants has to be my M.O.
        Perhaps a cluster gathering prior to shopping to see if there any missing elements is the ticket !

  2. Catherine on October 18, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for the ending comment about these warmer colors being bad for silver haired ladies. I used to wear them when my hair was dark brown, but just didn’t feel that they looked right now that I’ve grayed. I understand now that there is no longer a point of reference with them for me and that I should stick to the gray and charcoals I’ve been experimenting with.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on October 19, 2019 at 5:39 pm

      Further reminder that no single color can be right for everyone. Even the “universally flattering” teal has specific variations that are the very MOST flattering for women with various color patterns.And for sure, silver-haired gals should tend toward grays. Happily several women’s specialty stores – Chicos and Ann Taylor among them – are featuring gray and berry collections right now. But act quikly – these specialty stores introduce a new collection – in a new color palette – about every 6 weeks.

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