Coordinating shoe color with suit color

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by rupertoooo, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. rupertoooo

    rupertoooo New Member

    United States
    What are the acceptable colors when matching shoes to both medium grey and navy suits.
  2. eyedoc2180

    eyedoc2180 Super Member

    United States
    New Jersey
    Hamilton Square
    There are probably too many rules on this, but a library of AAAC threads have proven to enlighten. As long as the belt is a reasonable match, I don't think you can go too far wrong. Mrs. Eye won't allow brown shoes with a grey suit, but I have come to disagree. Further, brown with the navy suit can look REALLY good. Black shoes have multiple disparagers, but are basically ok. (Black shoes with navy can look a bit, well, Air Force-ish.) The nebulous colors of burgundy, merlot, whiskey, etc. look just great.
  3. arkirshner

    arkirshner Honors Member

    United States
    Rules for shoe color with mid grey and navy suits

    Rule no. 1: Shoes must be at least as dark as the suit. NBA players and dandies are exempted. If one is not yet qualified as an experienced dandy, one will run the risk of being thought of as a short NBA wannabe.

    Rule no. 2: Black is more formal, and thus traditionally preferred for city/business (solid and striped) suits, but dark brown is acceptable in most, but not all, environs.


    Air Force shoes are black, grain corrected bluchers, a style that should not be worn with any civilian suit, the balmoral being preferred.

    Burgundy shoes are a relatively recent American innovation. While they are occasionally worn for business in some parts of the US, strictly speaking, they are not traditional business shoes.

    The "rules" of dress are concise statements of tradition, they do not have the force of law, and compliance with them is voluntary.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  4. rupertoooo

    rupertoooo New Member

    United States
    I dont want to sound like a jerk but everything I have read states the shoe must be as dark as the suit and if that is the case black is the only acceptable color that truly coordinates with both mid grey and navy and I just dont buy it. As eyedoc stated a coordinating belt with a shoe is a must and can turn what some may believe is an awkward looking color combination into something that is very eye appealing.

    Lets make it simple:

    Navy and grey suit = Black shoes answer is yes, but it seems many folks even have issues with black I would like to know how many folks use the below combinations for both Navy and Grey suits.

    Navy and grey suit = Walnut shoes ?

    Navy and grey suit = Merlot/oxblood/burgundy shoes ?

    Navy and grey suit = True brown shoes ?
  5. eagle2250

    eagle2250 Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator

    Harmony, FL
    United States
  6. Apatheticviews

    Apatheticviews Super Member

  7. Grenadier

    Grenadier Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    Consider espresso and other dark browns. Something darker than a chestnut.

    And I don't subscribe to the darker shoe rule in summer.
  8. arkirshner

    arkirshner Honors Member

    United States

    When I wrote my response, I thought that mentioning Air Force shoes might elicit a response. My only real experience with the Air Force was over 40 years ago when I was rejected for service, no doubt a correct decision.

    I have always associated Air Force shoes with Bates, and not with the AE Leeds. I, too have a pair of Leeds, but as they are not a sleek design, I wear them (1) with grey pants and blazers or sportcoats, or (2) a grey tweed suit. IMO if one wants to wear bluchers with a city suit it should be a sleek plain toe like the AE Kennilworth, or better still a 2 eyelet like these

    By the way, I respect your opinions and you have no need to support them by citing Ralph Nader, a man who is associated with functional, serviceable consumer items. I have no doubt his military shoes were comfortable and functional, but Ralph Nader is no sartorial icon.


  9. arkirshner

    arkirshner Honors Member

    United States

    Your original post asked, "What are the acceptable colors when matching shoes to both medium grey and navy suits?" Your second post segues to "eye appealing". There is a world of difference between "acceptability" and "eye appealing." The former refers to the way in which other people react to your attire, the latter refers to aesthetics.

    Perhaps my answer with respect to acceptability was not clear. Let me try again.

    With medium grey and navy suits,

    (1) when worn for business or relatively formal social events, (weddings, funerals, presentations and the like),
    black shoes are accepted as correct in all circles in the US and UK. In the US, in all but the most conservative circles dark brown is an acceptable alternative. This is not the case in the UK, where brown for business is generally frowned upon. Thus, in the US if you wear brown shoes when making a presentation at a Fortune 500 board meeting you may, or may not, raise an eyebrow. If you wear black, you know you will not. The question you should always ask yourself is, do you care if an eyebrow is raised. If you are already on the board it is one thing, if you are a junior executive making his first presentation, it is safer to just wear black shoes.

    (2) In the evening, only black is accepted as correct in all circles.

    (3) For informal day wear, (tourist, informal social gatherings and the like) dark brown is acceptable, if not by everyone,by virtually everyone.

    (4) One does not need to take out a light meter to measure. Dark brown is dark enough. The point of the dark as your pants rule is that the lightest color in the field of vision calls attention to itself. The purpose of traditional men's wear is to call attention to the man, not to an item of clothing. Wearing lighter shoes simply calls attention to the shoes, not to the man.

    (5) A dandy, (used as a positive term), is a man who, is skilled at dressing, and chooses to judiciously bend or break a "rule", which after all is only a rule of thumb, in the interests of aesthetics. On this forum, by virtue of self selection, dandies, or those capable of being dandies, are over represented. An opinion as to aesthetics from the point of view of a dandy should not be confused with an opinion as to what is acceptable in more conservative circles. Accordingly advise here should be used selectively.

    (6) Finally, while I do not mean to compare anyone here to Beethoven, it was only after he had thoroughly mastered the "rules" of classical composition did Beethoven go on to break those "rules" thus ushering a new era in music. In matters of men's dress it is recommended that one first master the "rules" before attempting to bend or break them, as to break the rules before mastering them is, as mentioned in my first post, to run the risk of looking like an NBA wannabe.

    (7) Walnut shoes can be beautiful. I have around half a dozen pair and have worn them with grey and navy suits. Still, they should only be worn with certain ensembles and only on certain occasions.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  10. RM Bantista

    RM Bantista Senior Member

    United States
    New Mexico
    Black goes with every thing.

    That's not a rule. It just is.

    Grey suits, black shoes, not wrong. Which shoe is another question.

    Blue suit, black, of course, but brown is also usually fine. Finance and Court may be exceptions. Otherwise fine. Richer tones, deeper colors are all interesting.

    Grey shoes are usually not very versatile, but then, with a grey suit in the daytime; not out of line. I wore a three piece grey suit with a two-tone boot today (Grey bottom, black shaft, Tony Lama), Grey western hat, in the afternoon and a silver belly in the evening. But that's me. And I have several grey suits. Don't wear brown with any of them; also, no Bluchers or Derbys, no loafers.


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