Talking to Alan Flusser in New York recently got me thinking about all the old colour combinations he describes in Dressing the Man. And the leaflets he had scattered about the shop expanded on a few of those – in particular, and close to my heart, the mutually beneficial relationship between blue and brown.

I have included here some scans of the mannequin set-ups he uses as illustration. They look a little dated now, I’m not a big fan of the ‘fancy dobbie stripe’, and both outfits use a little too much brown in one and blue in the other, doubtless to underline the point. But that point remains valid – that the two work wonderfully well together yet are rarely considered, except with brown as the leather accessory to blue suiting. 

Alan’s introduction also deserves quoting:

“Perhaps it was my first sighting of Brooks’ No.1 Navy suit astride brown Peal cap toes or a blue oxford tucked into a brown crocodile belt…the mating of dark blue and brown has always struck me as one of the most uniquely masculine, no less patrician, of all color alliances. And given the liaison’s current anonymity within today’s nouveau-brow power corridors, its arrival is sure to trumpet the wearer’s custom-looking style and taste.”

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Agreed: More specifically, Tan with Navy, lighter blues with brown. (One could go into all the nuances of both colours!) Of the first two Flusser examples, the first is slightly less colour-schemed; saved by the pocket square having reddish overtones. The second is overly co-ordinated. (Reminds me of clueless husbands in Department stores asking their wives; “Does this shirt match this tie?”)
The Brown/Blue combination, classic as it is, requires a a shot of unpredictable colour (in neckwear, pocket square, or an alternating stripe in shirt) to offset –and enhance – B/B colour scheme.