The Men’s Guide to Wearing Black vs. Brown Shoes

Aug 1, 2019 | For Him, Shoe Care | 0 comments

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Do you have trouble deciding which color dress shoe to wear and when? Is one color more appropriate for a certain occasion? The most popular color dress shoes are your black and brown options. Most of us have both options in our closet but have a hard time deciding which color shirt or pant goes with black or brown shoes. And there happens to be a lot of browns. There is tan, cognac, chestnut, chocolate and then there is only black. So, if I’m stuck, I’m typically going to choose the easier option and wear the black. However, is that the correct option? Probably not!

Black is the most formal of all the shoe colors out there. A shoe in black is always going to be more formal then the same style shoe in brown. Black shoes should be paired with your darker suits such as your black, charcoal grey and midnight navy. Certain dress codes such as black tie, require black shoes. Black dress shoes are to be worn when you want to be taken seriously. Weddings, funerals, job interviews or any type of business situations are times when its appropriate to wear that black dress shoe.

There are times when black dress shoes are not appropriate. If you are wearing a lighter color or brighter color, then black is not going to be your choice. Frankly, because those colors are more casual. Pairing a pair of black shoes with a blue seersucker suit is just not going to look right.

And then there are jeans! Jeans are casual which means black shoes are not the more fitting option. Some guys can totally pull it off, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Brown shoes are never going to be as formal as black shoes which gives brown the advantage of having more options when it comes to the casual side of dressing. You can mix it with countless trouser and shirt fabrics making it more versatile. Brown shoes go great with navy, light grey, greens, browns or anything neutral or an earth tone. Dark brown will be your most formal shade of brown which would be your choice for a wedding or formal event that doesn’t require black tie. Medium brown can be dressed up for work or down for the weekend. Tan is going to be your most casual brown.

Brown shoes are never to be worn with black. This means no tuxedos or black suits. This is really the only rule for the brown shoe.

Brown dress shoes go great with jeans and any standard chinos such as your tans, olives, greens, and navy.

At last we decide what we want to wear and when. You choose what you think looks best and you never know maybe you’ll start a new trend!

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Erin @ Wardrobe Hackers

Erin @ Wardrobe Hackers

Content Creator for Wardrobe Hackers

Erin is a fashion enthusiast, all-around craftsy girl, marketer, and devoted mom. She’s been with Wardrobe Hackers since day 1, as the author and “star” of our very first blog post and Youtube video. Before joining Wardrobe Hackers, Erin had her own custom wreath-making business (Front Door Décor) and prior to that, she managed key accounts with Enterprise. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, two young girls and a beagle that sheds (a lot!).

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