How to wear a black suit with brown shoes: pairing tips for a chic look

How to wear a black suit with brown shoes: pairing tips for a chic look

In men's fashion, a black suit paired with brown shoes never fails to turn heads and exude timeless elegance. This pairing is all about sophistication, versatility, and personal expression. Whether you opt for a classic leather oxford or a trendy suede loafer, brown shoes can elevate your black suit and add a touch of personality to your overall look. Here is a guide on how to wear a black suit with brown shoes.

A man getting ready for an event
Black and brown can ruin your look if worn incorrectly. Photo by Hxyume
Source: Getty Images


Pairing a black suit with brown shoes is a classic yet modern combination that captures the attention of fashion enthusiasts everywhere. Additionally, brown shoes offer a more comprehensive range of shades and textures than black shoes, allowing for more versatility in your outfit choices.

How to wear a black suit with brown shoes

If you are a man who wants to keep it classy and timeless, you can up your black suit game and switch from traditional black shoes to cool and fun brown shoes. However, there are several rules you should keep in mind to ensure you wear them appropriately.

Read also

Business casual sneakers: what to wear for a smart office look

1. The occasion

Different occasions demand different outfits and styles. If you attend a more formal event, your brown shoes should be as dark as possible. Also, a black suit may be perfectly acceptable for less formal events or social gatherings where more stylish or fashion-forward outfits are considered appropriate.

A man lace his shoes
Pairing a black suit with brown shoes is a classic ensemble that effortlessly bridges the gap between formal and stylish. Photo by Jummie
Source: Getty Images

2. Decide what outfit you are wearing

You can pair a black suit with formal shoes like brown leather, loafers, or brogues when going to work or a corporate gathering. But casual shoes such as sneakers and boots are your best bet if you are just going out with friends.

3. Consider the design, colour, shade and material of your shoes

Leather shoes are best for formal settings, while suede shoes are suitable for casual occasions. Choosing different shades of brown allows you to tailor the look to the occasion and your style. Also, medium brown shades, like walnuts, require careful colour balancing in the overall outfit. Dark brown shoes are best for formal wear.

Read also

First date outfit ideas and tips: The essential women's guide

4. Complementing accessories

Accessorizing is where your style shines through; your chosen accessories can make or break your outfit. Some of these accessories include:

  • Ties and pocket squares: Choose colours and patterns that complement your suit and shoes, but avoid matching them exactly.
  • Belts: Match your belt with your shoes.
  • Socks: Choose socks in a colour that blends with your suit.
  • Watches and cufflinks: A classic watch and subtle cufflinks add a touch of elegance to your outfit. You can also add a pair of sunglasses.
A brown shoe and accessories
Subtle textures or patterns in accessories can add depth and visual interest to the outfit. Photo: @MykolaSenyuk, @Artfully79 (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Shoes to wear with a black suit

Experiment with your black suit with different brown shoe styles to elevate the ensemble. Below are some of the favourite and most versatile styles:

1. Brown Oxford shoes

Oxford shoes feature a low heel, a sleek silhouette, and closed lacing. They are made of polished or matte leather. They are the ideal choice for a polished look with a suit.

Read also

How to wear rings: Men’s comprehensive guide to accessorising

2. Brown Derby shoes

Derby shoes are less formal than Oxford's but are more comfortable and retain abundant elegance. They also have an open lacing system with a less intricate design.

3. Brown Brogues

Brogues are embellished shoes with visible edges and decorative perforations. Their decorative perforations characterize them and add a touch of personality to an outfit.

4. Brown loafers

Loafers are slip-on shoes that strike a balance between formal and casual. They are versatile and can be worn with a wide range of outfits, making them a must-have for every man's wardrobe.

5. Brown boots

Brown Chukka or Chelsea boots are an ideal choice to pair with a black suit because they are comfortable and give a sophisticated and stylish look. Boots are suitable for winter months or more casual occasions.

A man lacing his brown shoes
Mastering the black suit-brown shoes combination will ensure you are always stylish and outstanding. Photo by Hxyume
Source: Getty Images

Events best suited for black suits with brown shoes

A black suit paired with brown shoes is a versatile choice, making it ideal for various occasions. Here is how to style it for different occasions:

Read also

How to choose suit colours: a guide for picking the perfect shade

  • Business settings – This pairing is perfect for client dinners or essential meetings where you want to look sharp and confident. A patterned tie can add a touch of personality.
  • Semi-formal - These events include dinner parties and networking events. Choose dark brown shoes for a sophisticated look.
  • Casual outings - This pairing is professional yet relaxed, ideal for less formal meetings. Light brown or tan shoes work best.

Is it okay to wear a black suit with brown shoes?

Black shoes are classic formal wear and show you are going with timeless styles. However, pairing a black suit with brown shoes is okay when the event is not strictly formal.

Can you wear brown shoes for a black tie?

A black tie goes well with black shoes. It can also go well with very dark brown shoes.

What colour shoes can you wear with a black suit?

Read also

Chinos vs khakis: Key differences and top styling tips for men

Black suits are classic and versatile and look best with black shoes. For a formal look, always choose black Oxford or patent leather shoes. However, brown shoes can also be an excellent choice for a casual but smart look.

When should men not wear brown shoes?

Some formal events do not allow you to choose between black and brown shoes. Also, a strict dress code at work does not allow you to wear your favourite brown shoes.

A man getting ready for work
A black suit paired with brown shoes is a versatile choice for various occasions. Photo by Bondart
Source: Getty Images

What are the ideal shoes for a black suit wedding?

A black suit is appropriate for weddings, especially in the evening. Pair it with a dark brown shoe to make the best-dressed guest.

Can you wear brown shoes and a black suit?

Yes! While black shoes are the common choice, brown shoes add a unique touch to a black suit. You only need to pick the right shade and style of brown shoes to wear with a black suit.

Read also

Essential types of shirts for men: how to style them perfectly

What colour suit can you wear with brown shoes?

A navy suit offers more flexibility in shoe choices and is an ideal partner for brown shoes, especially for daytime events and less formal affairs. A black suit paired with brown shoes creates a warm and sophisticated contrast, highlighting richness and depth in each shade.

Combining a black suit with brown shoes is no longer a fashion faux pas but an elegant and dynamic style statement. This combo is a bold move that speaks volumes about your confidence and understanding of style. It also shows people you are adventurous, thoughtful, and open to taking risks and having fun.

READ ALSO: How to choose suit colours: a guide for picking the perfect shade published an article on how to choose suit colours. Suits are evergreen but fashionable pieces that create the most elegant and stylish looks any man can get.

Buying a suit can be confusing, especially if you are unsure about your desired colours. Discover how to pick the perfect shade.

Source: Briefly News

Bennett Yates avatar

Bennett Yates (Lifestyle writer) Bennett Yates is a content creator with over five years of working experience in journalism and copywriting. He graduated from the University of Nairobi (2017) with a Bachelor's in Information Technology. In 2023, Bennett finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. He started working for Briefly in 2019. You can reach him via email at

Online view pixel