in: Featured, Shoes, Style, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 3, 2024

Skill of the Week: Match Your Shoes With Your Suit

Image showing four men in different colored suits, each perfectly coordinating their outfits with matching shoes. A red suit pairs with red shoes, a gray suit with black shoes, a brown suit coordinates with brown shoes, and a blue suit matches blue shoes.

An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.

Once you have your shirt and tie put together, you need to match your shoes to your suit. To do this, know that there are three main colors of dress shoe — black, brown, and burgundy/oxblood — to go with five main colors of suit — light gray, dark gray/charcoal, navy blue, brown, and black. You can’t wear any shoe with any suit, so use the above illustration to help you make the appropriate selection. The only suits that go with every color shoe, and therefore are the most versatile, are navy blue and light gray. The least versatile suit — black — should really only be paired with black shoes. 

When you have multiple options of shoe color, how do you know what to go with? Keep the following in mind to determine what color shoe to wear to any given event (and use the dress shoe hierarchy to then determine the right style): 

  • Burgundy/oxblood — more casual, stylish, creative; less formal 
  • Brown — versatile; not casual but not formal; middle of the road and safe 
  • Black — formal, getting down to business 

Remember too: your belt should always be the same color as your shoes

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

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