A suit is designed to accentuate your face with sophistication. You are to notice the man rather than the clothes. And that builds a feeling of trust. One bad pair of shoes can ruin this entire effect. It is incumbent upon us then that we place on our feet the most agreeable shoes. It is this foundation that makes or breaks.
In choosing a shoe color we have three basic colors that provide us with the greatest utility. Black, brown and burgundy. A black shoe goes with everything. It is the sartorial workhorse. While a black shoe may not make our outfit exceptional it will most definitely keep us from looking foolish. A brown shoe softens the somewhat austere vibe of the black shoe, and gives us a bit more ease and charm. A burgundy shoe can be something of a risk depending on our outfit, but the depth of red it provides can bring a cultivated look and can do what the black and brown shoe cannot in letting us standout with special sophistication. The best guideline when choosing a color is to go for slightly darker than your slacks. This allows visual perspective to go from darker to lighter hues of clothing the further one goes up towards the face, thus giving us the sharpest look.
We are limited in our shoe color pairings with suits. A black shoe will go with any suit color, even nontraditional colors such as red or purple. However brown and burgundy shoes do not go with black suits. It is one of the few hard and fast rules of men’s fashion. Something in the contrast of black slacks to brown shoes, even the darkest of brown leathers, destroys the energy of the outfit. It is too much for the eye to get over and no major designer has ever successfully pulled it off. Conversely a brown suit must avoid black shoes. With the exception of charcoal suits which must also opt for black, all other suit colors from navy to light grey go well with black, brown, and burgundy.
While we must show restrain in terms of shoe color, we have far greater choices in shoe style. This is where the man of vision is able to show his personality.
We will briefly look at the Oxford, the Derby and the Loafer.
The Oxford Shoes
The Derby or Blucher Shoes
The Derby or Blucher is nearly identical to the Oxford but has an open-lacing design and is therefore a bit more casual and easier to slip on the foot. The Derby is still very much a sharp shoe but is the equivalent of loosening one’s tie.
The Loafer Shoes
The Loafer, adopted from the moccasin design with a bit more sturdiness, threads the needle between casual and serious. This is a shoe that depends on the personal style of the wearer for it to seem either business or casual. It really does depend on how the individual dresses and carries himself for the loafer to give a certain impression. And for this reason it is one of the more exciting shoes to own.
Finally we must mention broguing, which is nothing more than decorative shapes and lines cut into the shoe through perforation. Wearing a shoe with broguing gives a man that final accent which can truly compliment his outfit.