How To Match Dress Shoes to Your Suit

It's Not That Difficult!

Well-dressed man showing off his shoe

Knowing what shoe goes with what suit may seem difficult but it can be done once you know a few simple rules.  

  1. What color is the suit really? Your suit may look grey but is it a true grey coming only from the black family? Or is it a more brownish grey or maybe a blue grey? Blacks should be easy to tell, but don't call your charcoal suit black. Same goes for white suits -- is it actually cream? Or maybe a just a natural linen color? Know what color it is, and then find the shoes.
  2. Create a contrast. This however does not mean make the shoes the focal of your outfit. Nor does it mean to clash the colors.
    • For a true grey suit (coming only from black) on the light side, a shoe that is black or white will work fine. Black for anytime and white for summer/daytime.
    • For a black suit, the contrast rule does not really apply because you can really only wear a black shoe with a black suit. Either dull leather, glossy leather or a velvet slipper style (for a very formal occasion) will work fine.
    • For a brown grey suit, you can be more creative. A light brown shoe (contrast) or a black shoe will look great. A dark brown shoe will most likely melt away into the pant and not be noticed.
    • For a white suit you usually need to wear a white shoe, unless of course you are wearing a shirt, flower, or cummerbund of a different color. In that case you may wear a shoe that matches this color, only if it is an exact match though. Something close will not suffice.
    • For a natural linen or other light colored suit, you need to be careful because these are suits that you should probably only be wearing in the summer or late spring. The only shoe that would look good with these types of suits are brown, either light or medium-dark depending on the exact color of the suit. A white shoe will not go with a cream suit but will be okay for a natural tan suit.
  3. What shape of shoe do you pick? Today's most popular style of dress shoe is the mildly pointed-toe loafer. These are leather and almost never have laces. They should be as narrow as is comfortable to create a long slender appearance of the leg continuing on forever. A boxy toe or a rounded toe don't really work. Make sure the top of the shoe is low and the laces (if you chose a shoe with them) are very slender and match the shoe color exactly. The only exception is when you are wearing a tuxedo and the classic shoe for this cut of suit is a rounded toe. For very formal evening events, the velvet slipper style can be worn and often has a crest or emblem on the toe.


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