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How does a man wearing a navy, light grey, or brown suit match his shoes with the suit colour?
The five most common suit colours are navy, medium or mid grey charcoal, brown, and black with three different shoes to show you which colours work with what shoe.
These shoe matching rules absolute are not set in stone, so to speak, but it's a very safe and easy guide to follow. If you're going to use the advice here, it should be because you're going for a really unique look or you know the rules and make a conscious decision to ignore them. A good example for this would be that we don't have the burgundy shoes paired with a black suit, but a rocker might wear a black suit with red Converse All-Stars, and that would be, if not exactly timeless men's style, certainly a style choice that could work. Of course there are going to be exceptions, but there is not many of them, and if you're going sticking to classic business and business-casual dress, let this blog be your guidance.
To be honest, most of the time it's not too hard and strict business formality is easy - a charcoal grey or navy blue suit and plain black shoes. Now, as the suits become more relaxed, you get the option of wearing different colours of leather with them. That's a stumbling block for a lot of men and the wrong colour of shoes and belt can ruin even a fine suit. Here is how most of these combinations play out in practical, day-to-day dress (within the business climate)
Black shoesBrown shoesRed or burgundy shoes Navy is the one the most popular choice at ASTF and can go comfortably with all three of the main colour families of men's shoes. You can probably even make a navy suit work with more exotic colours if you have them, although blue is generally too close to make a good contrast. The colour mostly affects the formality and attitude of a navy suit. Black shoes are business dress, while brown are more relaxed, and red or burgundy give it the most playful, social feel. Medium and Light Grey Suits
Black shoesBrown shoesRed or burgundy shoes
A Medium grey suits are less formal than navy suits and share a similar flexibility. You can pair them effectively with just about any colour shoes.
In the case of medium grey, black is the best option when you're wearing a white shirt and a tie as it is not proper business dress, but it's quite typical in offices where suits are mandatory but somewhat relaxed. Brown and burgundy shoes make it more of a casual/social look, and work best when the shirt has a bit of pattern or colour to it as well.
Brown shoesRed or burgundy shoes
Do not pair with: Black shoes
Brown suits work with most brown shoes. You want a visible contrast between the colour of the shoe leather and the colour of the suit. If they're identical or almost-identical, it looks off.
Apart from that, brown's great with most casual leather shoes. It's generally better to have the shoe leather darker than the suit (helps keep the eye from being drawn downward), but either way can work so long as you have a clear contrast.
Charcoal Grey Suits
Black shoesBurgundy shoes
Do not pair with: Brown shoes
Here's where we get to our first firm no on the list: DO NOT pair charcoal suits with brown shoes.
The reason being that dark browns look like you're trying for a close match and coming up short. Light browns are too informal, and draw the eye jarringly downward. Plain black works best, or a deep burgundy for a look that's relaxed but still elegant.
Do not pair with: Brown shoes OR Burgundy shoes
Black's not very flexible. That's why we generally recommend charcoal grey or navy blue in its place as a first suit. If you own one, pair it with black shoes, and save the outfit for funerals and strict business dress occasions.
Any other colour of shoe is going to look too casual with black.
With the upcoming season lurking for the bitter weather to creep out, you might want to get your spring/summer wardrobe sorted. Although the chill in the air might not inspire you to start thinking of the colours, styles, accessories et al to play with, I'll urge you to get started now.
Without a doubt, the 'it' for the upcoming season in will be ; a truly timeless piece that must be part of any man's spring/summer wardrobe staple.
Chinos are the smarter alternative to jeans but still perfect for great relaxed style. When the new season kicks in, it's all about making statements with some chinos in audacious colours. What would you pair with chinos?. When it comes to wearing chinos for the new season, you'll have one or two things to decide on. What shoes to wear with it? And what top is suitable? Frankly, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. It all depends on individual; as you need to figure out what style suits your personality. You might also want to consider the place you are wearing it to; a formal occasion is not ideal from my perspective.
Personally, my comfort is a priority. I will be teaming my chinos with smart soft sole shoes for the new season. I'd like to know what shoes you would pair with your chinos. Can you vote below for the shoes that you'll team with your chinos?
While black shoes are a predictable safe bet for dark navy or charcoal grey suits and formal wear, brown actually offers a man much more style and flexibility.
Top quality brown leather shoes give a richness and character to all types or tones of cloth worn next to them.
The Milanese are almost fanatical about their preference for brown footwear over black, whether it be a high polish, saddle-tanned business shoe, or rubber soled brown suede for more casual weekend wear.
It is difficult to explain why other colours such as burgundy (although the penny loafer does look smart in this colour), navy or dark grey have never suggested as much class or taste in men's formal ootwear. Perhaps it's because shiny, dyed colours look artificial next to the more natural leather colours of brown and black?
I have noticed in my Camberley studio that tan colours are a popular choice at the moment; these convey a more casual, summery look.
Whatever colour you decide on, remember you shoes should feel comfortable from the moment you try them on (and if at all possible) take some time to get your feet measured properly.
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