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Does purple go better with black or brown?

Does purple go better with black or brown?

Purple is a versatile color that can complement a variety of outfit combinations. When pairing purple with neutrals like black and brown, there are a few key factors to consider to help you choose which option looks best.

Comparing Black and Brown

Black and brown are both neutral colors that pair well with most other shades. However, they create very different aesthetics.

Black has a more formal, elegant look. It creates stark contrast when paired with brighter colors like purple. The richness of black also helps make other colors pop.

Brown has a more casual, earthy appearance. It provides a subtler complement to bold shades like purple. Brown also feels warmer and more inviting compared to the cooler tone of black.

Purple’s Undertones

When deciding whether black or brown pairs best with purple, you need to consider the undertones of the specific purple hue.

Purple shades with cool, blue undertones tend to look better with black. The contrast between the deep black and rich purple creates an eye-catching combo. Some examples of cool-toned purples include eggplant, lilac and lavender.

Warm, red-based purple hues complement brown more fluidly. Earthy brown enhances the glow of these reddish purples without being too harsh. Plum, magenta and mulberry are examples of warm purple tones.

Outfit Combinations

Here are some potential outfit combinations using black or brown with different shades of purple:

Purple Hue With Black With Brown
Lavender Black dress + lavender jacket Brown boots + lavender skirt
Eggplant Black pants + eggplant sweater Brown belt + eggplant shirt
Plum Black heels + plum cocktail dress Brown blazer + plum trousers

As you can see, the cooler purple tones pair better with black, while warm plums and magentas complement brown more naturally.

Skin Tone Considerations

Your individual skin tone should also inform your decision when matching purple with black or brown.

Those with warm, peachy undertones to their skin often look best in earthy browns. The brown brings out the golden glow in the complexion.

People with cool pink or olive skin tones tend to look better in black. The black accentuates their natural coloring without looking too harsh.

Consider whether the brown or black complements your skin’s tone when styling a purple piece. You want the colors to enhance your natural beauty.

Makeup and Accessory Pairings

Purple eye makeup and jewelry pairings also differ with black versus brown.

Smoky purple eye looks pop more against black mascara, eyeliner and shadows. Black accessories like chokers or cocktail rings add drama to any rich purple outfit.

Brown eyeliner and shadow in shimmering taupes or champagnes make purple eye colors glow. Brown leather bags, belts and booties add a rugged yet elegant touch to purple garments.


When deciding if purple looks better with black or brown, consider the purple tone, your skin tone and the vibe you want to achieve.

In general:

  • Cool-toned purples like lilac and lavender pair best with black
  • Warm plums and magentas look more natural with brown
  • Those with warm skin tones tend to look best in brown
  • People with cool skin look more striking in black

Accessories, makeup and hairstyles also impact whether black or brown complements a purple outfit most flatteringly. Experiment to see which option you feel most confident and beautiful in.

With the right considerations, purple can go gorgeously with both black and brown in your wardrobe. Have fun playing with different ways to rock purple pieces with these classic neutral tones.