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Can You Wear Brown Shoes With Black Pants?

three men wearing khaki, black, and brown suit with text can you wear brown shoes and black pants?

Brown Shoes with Black Pants

Most guys know the rules. Black pants = black shoes. Brown shoes go with khakis and most blue pants. It isn’t rocket science. But brown shoes with black pants? Black shoes with khaki pants? Oxblood shoes with a black suit? These all may sound like fashion mistakes, but stylish men are increasingly pulling off these combinations. We’ll show you what you can and can’t get away with and whether or not you can wear black pants with brown shoes.

How to wear brown shoes with black pants

man wearing brown blazer with black pants and brown oxfords

DO do this subtly with medium brown shoes.

DON’T try this with your British tan or walnut brown shoes that will call a lot of attention to the combination.

DO this look casually. The rules are much more flexible with a pair of black jeans than they are with a black suit.

DON’T wear a black belt. You’re already breaking one rule here, don’t break another one, match your shoes and belt.

How to wear black shoes with khaki pants

man wearing oyster gray suit with black oxfords

DO wear light khakis with black shoes. The contrast is stark but that’s the point. If the khakis are more off-white than caramel brown, they’ll really stand out.

DON’T try this with formal black dress shoes. This move is best pulled off with boots or sneakers, not your “I’m about to close a major deal” black dress shoes.

How to wear oxblood shoes with a black suit

man wearing black suit with brown vext and oxblood oxfords

DO mix red tones into another part of your outfit. Oxblood has a natural affinity with black but if everything else is black and white, the shoes are going to stick out too much. Introduce other deep dark reds in your shirt, pocket square, tie or (as we did here) vest.

DON’T wear bright red with black. Too many guys go overboard with the red and black and end up looking like they’re playing forward for the New Jersey Devils.

Season to Taste

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to experiment with these combinations. For more classic combinations check out our piece on how to Wear Shoes That Make Your Suit Look Better.

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3 thoughts on “Can You Wear Brown Shoes With Black Pants?”

  1. Hussnain Haider says:

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    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks Hussnain, we love to hear that. Best of luck to you!

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