If you’re going to start building your style reputation, black, brown and blue are the shoe color trifecta of a solid wardrobe. For each one, it’s a delicate balance act of color to determine how formal or relaxed-yet-polished your look will end up.
Each shoe hue can be dressed up or down to achieve different vibes, so it’s worth it to know the general rules of color as well as which ones make killer combinations for each type of shoe.When in doubt, match up similar tones: black sneakers with black denim or tan chinos with espresso loafers.
To go even deeper, we’re breaking down the three main shoe colors and how to wear them best.
Yes, black goes with everything, but depending on what you’re pairing black shoes with, your look can instantly take on a different attitude. Black shoes can make your outfit look sleek, edgy or insanely formal, but in general,you’re not going to achieve an extremely laid back vibe with black shoes.
Hit up aslip-on sneaker,boot ortrainer here. All of them will give you a sportier look. Keep things sharp with darker pants like greys and blacks, or shake it up every now and then with a brown chino. Yes, you can do black and brown together. We just recommend you also have a pop of black somewhere else in your outfit.
Black by default is more formal, especially with suiting. Wearmonk straps orlace-upswith black, charcoal grey or navy blue suits for an always-dapper ensemble. For a slightly more relaxed look, slip on someblack wingtip sneakers, which look just as good with a black suit as they do with a pair of vintage jeans.
When it comes to versatility, brown shoes are your friend. They’re less rigid than black shoes but can still be both formal and casual. When picking out the right shade of brown, remember thatdarker is more formal and lighter is more casual.
Sure, chinos are in the realm of business-casual, but with the right shoe and shirt, you can create a more casual look that’s still polished. The good news is that nearlyall chino colors look great with a brown shoe.
Put a relaxed spin on your tan chinos by pairing them withwalnut loafers and a casual blue polo or button-down. If you’re going to wearblack and brown this way, go for achocolate Chelsea boot and slim black jeans. And when pairing your brown shoes with denim, wear darker jeans with darker brown shoes and vice versa for more washed-out denim.
You’ve got a few solid options for formalwear. Grey suit pants look great with a darker brown shoe, and you can wear them a number of ways. Make it more informal with ahybrid captoe sneaker and no jacket, or dress it up with aclassic chocolate Oxford lace-up, white button-down and blue suit jacket.
Blue is also another great option for brown shoes, whether you’re wearing a light blue suit or a navy one. Again, match similar shades together — lighter blues with lighter shoes and vice versa.
While blue is pretty versatile for clothing, it’s a little trickier to master when it comes to shoes. There are plenty of blue shades to choose from, but keep in mind thatdarker hues are more versatile. If you go for a lighter blue, though, throw in some neutrals up top to balance out your look.
Going casual is your best bet for rocking a blue shoe. When the heat turns up in the summer, pair tan or green shorts with anavy cap-toe sneaker or woven navy sneakers. And when you want to stand out, pick up anelectric shade of blue suede shoes and pair them with a paisley button-up and maroon slacks.
With blue shoes, dressing formal translates to dressing smart and looking polished. That means wearing something that’d fit in at a nice restaurant or show. We recommend wearing a sophisticatednavy loafer with tan chinos, a white button-down and a grey or blue jacket on top. Or you can even pair them with blue dress pants (yes, you can do blue on blue) and a black jacket on top of a white button-down.
When it comes to wearing black with your blue shoes, try incorporating the black piece from the waist up instead of the waist down. Because you’re going to want to pair a darker blue with the outfit, a black pant can keep your shoes from standing out the way you want them to. Try a grey pant instead to keep things sharp but still provide enough contrast to make the blue pop a little.
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