August 23, 2005


But you knew that already.

Today's idiotic question, spurred by Robbo's fashion commentary below, is this: can someone give me a succinct, definitive explanation of the men's brown shoe/black shoe bidness?

Posted by Steve at August 23, 2005 09:33 AM | TrackBack

I can't give the definitive answer, but I can give it a try. Lance Arthur has a fair amount of stuff on shoes in that category archive, just scroll down.

Looking through this book Carson recommends black shoes with black pants, brown shoes with other clothes [specifically mentions grey pinstripes, khakis and cashmere, Levi's 501s].

Posted by: owlish at August 23, 2005 10:18 AM

I dunno Steve. I find a nice pair of sneakers will go with any attire. For the really formal occasions, I will don my Timberland work boots.

Posted by: LB buddy at August 23, 2005 10:38 AM

I just wear cowboy boots everywhere.

The spurs usually keep people of noticing if the boots match.

I do get funny looks at the beach though.

Posted by: phin at August 23, 2005 10:42 AM

I was thinking about that just yesterday on the train. I had nothing to read and was in a car full of suits and so decided to play: Pick the best dressed & Fashion criminals in my head.

I was surprised to see how many men who wore light colored shoes got it right. Personally I don't think brown goes with grey pinstripe, a black shoe would be better, but then again, men don't have to worry about elongating the leg line in order to visually minimize hips!

Posted by: Michele at August 23, 2005 11:20 AM

Michele, I have to disagree (but you know I love you). I wear, regularly, dark brown suede shoes with a grey pin stripe and it looks smashing. Basically, I think that there really is no rule anymore and it all sort of depends on how you dress it up -- ties, etc. For instance, brown shoes with a very dark suit can look really wonderful, although I would never wear it to court.

Posted by: RP at August 24, 2005 02:28 PM

Hmmm....I never got the memo.

The only brown shoes I have are a pair of tassle-loafers, and I only wear them with tweeds or a blazer and khakis. Black shoes for everything else.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at August 24, 2005 02:50 PM

Huh? We're supposed to have more than one pair of shoes?

Posted by: rbj at August 24, 2005 03:23 PM

The general idea is that black is dressier or more formal than brown. So in a sense, wearing brown shoes (less formal) with a grey pinstripe suit (more formal) tends to send a mixed image, which has nothing to do with whether the colors are harmonious. And any color suede with pinstripes? Even more mismatched in terms of formality.

Really old school (that includes me) would say black, navy, or pinstripe suits require black leather because they are more formal, and balmorals rather than bluchers. And loafers are for loafing, i.e. never with a tie but fine with open collar and a blazer. And I fully realize that the barbarians have already stormed the castle, and the "there are no rules" mentality thrives. It's just better to understand the rules before you creatively break them.

Posted by: cj at August 24, 2005 11:34 PM
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