It often kills me to see a man ruin a beautiful suit with a pair of (usually expensive but) highly inappropriate shoes.
So how do you choose the right shoes for your outfit?
When I was a young, clueless, fashion-ignorant graduate, an early mentor shared the following tips with me, which I have since used as a guide to match my footwear with a variety of outfits.
- The shinier the leather, the more formal the shoe.
- The ornamentation determines the styling e.g the buckles on the monkstraps or the tassels on oxfords are dressier but bulky soles and contrast stitching and thick soles are less formal.
- Choose a shoe that's the same colour or darker than the colour of your pants.
- Black shoes go very well with slate, navy or charcoal trousers.
- Brown shoes are excellent with shades of grey, navy, brown and green.
- Brown shoes do not match black suits.
- Burgundy shoes look great with most lighter shades of brown, and likewise with blue or grey bottoms
- Camel-coloured shoes are versatile, matching well with lighter earth tones, blue, beige, tanned or light tan
- Jeans are so versatile that almost any sort of shoes eg boots (chelsea and desert ), loafers, oxfords, sneakers, sandals - go well with them…. except, maybe, patent shoes
- Let your styling choice dictate the type of shoe you wear with your jeans
e.g paira retro fitted tee and skinny jeans with a classic retro-style sneaker ;
a fitted polo top and bermudas with loafers ;
short sleeved shirt and skinny cuffed jeans with plimsoles ;
a shirt-and-blazer combo with brogues
- Match them with oxfords, sneakers, plimsoles or sandals to up your fashion ante.
One final tip - match your belt to your shoe - or make sure it's in the same colour family.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a start. The key is not to stress but to have fun with your styling choices.