Less is more. That's my view on things. So when you have a great wrapping accessory, like a garland or a gorgeous bow, you need not use outlandish paper--you also shouldn't have to spend a ton of money. That's why brown paper makes such an attractive and useful wrap; it draws more attention to the accessories, you'll often have it on hand, and it's a great way to recycle.
For small gifts, a plain old paper shopping bag works just fine. For larger gifts, a big roll of sturdy, brown paper costs about 15 bucks and lasts forever. I always steal some from my mom when I'm home; my brother is still in high school and they make him use it to cover his text books (and you thought wrapping a gift was pointless). Packaging tape works best for this because regular Scotch tape wasn't designed to handle heavy-duty materials.
On the particular gift pictured, the brown paper gave me an opportunity to use the garland I bought from Pier One's awesome Christmas clearance sale. It's a funky gold-colored wire looped around itself and adorned with purple beads and stars. Once again, I apologize for the iPhone photo; in person it looked spectacular, especially against my floral bed sheets. I could not resist.
Using brown paper is possibly my favorite way to wrap. Instead of going out and buying different paper for every occasion, it's just so easy to have the single roll of brown paper on hand, and then to buy the awesome accessories, which usually hit the sales rack for cents apiece pretty quickly. I know, it sounds lazy, but the final product ends up looking so chic.
But yes. It is the perfect solution if you happen to be lazy.