They say clothes make the man, but there’s no denying that footwear can make or break your outfit. It does you no good to go to all the trouble of picking the perfect clothes if you slip on a pair of shoes that ruin your aesthetic.
Not sure how to match shoes with clothes as a man? Not to worry, we’ll break down some key guidelines to keep in mind when choosing fashionable footwear.
Matching or Complementing – Which is Better?
First off, you need to decide if your shoes will match or complement your outfit. Both approaches can work, though they are ideal for different aesthetic goals.
Matching shoes involve choosing footwear of a type and color that matches or fits with the color and formality of your trousers, shirt, and/or jacket. With matching footwear, you’re aiming for a holistic, put-together look that can be professional, formal, and even elegant.
Complementary footwear is a little more flexible and versatile, though also riskier. Complementary footwear can make you seem bold and stylish, but when done improperly, it can also make you look ridiculous.
Color coordination is supremely important when choosing the color of your footwear. In general, it’s a good idea to aim for neutral colors or complementary colors depending on your aesthetic goal.
You can’t go wrong with colors like black, brown, or even white. But complementary colors are a little more complex. You can try pairing burgundy and green, or be more adventurous with purples and yellows.
When choosing the colors of your shoes, consider the following questions:
- Do the colors of your shoes stand out from the rest of your outfit? If so, are the colors of your shoes complementary to the colors of your pants and shirt?
- Do the colors of your shoes blend in with the rest of your outfit? If so, are they so alike that they fade into the background? When matching your shoe color with the color of your pants, try to pick a shade that’s a little different so your shoes are distinct elements of your ensemble
Naturally, the color of your pants is the most important shade to consider matching or complementing with the color of your shoes. Most jeans come in a shade of blue, but sharper and smarter pants, like Berle’s Charleston Stretch Twill Khakis, come in tons of shades you can pair with practically any color shoes.
Shoe Type and Clothing Style
Choosing the type of shoe that works well with your clothing aesthetic is also important. For example, Derbies are “smarter” compared to basic tan sneakers, and Oxfords are very refined footwear that are arguably even “smarter” than Derbies.
Either of these shoe types will be perfect matches for outfits that involve tailored trousers, blazers, or other classy jackets. They’ll also be a good pairing for well-tailored pants with sleek lines, like Berle’s Super 100s Gabardine Flat Front Regular Rise trousers.
In contrast, sneakers are more casual and are more suitable for pairing with jeans, T-shirts, and casual jackets that you would wear to a hang-out with your friends. If you’re hoping for a loud combination of colors, our Seersucker Flat Front pants would pair well with brightly colored footwear.
The point is to make sure your shoes aren't over or underdressed for the rest of your outfit. When in doubt, pick up some white trainers for a pair of solid shoes you can wear with just about anything.
Want to Be Safe? Choose Black or Natural Colors
Men have an easy road out when it comes to footwear. Just choose black or brown shoes in an appropriate style or formality level and you’re good to go. Brown shoes in particular are incredibly forgiving and work with just about everything. The only thing you can’t wear brown shoes with is a black suit or tuxedo!
In the end, finding the right footwear for your outfit will take just a little research and consideration. But if you choose the right footwear, your entire outfit will be elevated and you’ll look classy and stylish no matter the occasion or social environment.
Remember to check out our collection of tailored trousers, too, if you need matching leg wear for your footwear!