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Finding the Right Shoes for Your Suit

Nothing spoils the look of a high-end, well-fitted suit like a poor choice of footwear. Having trouble finding the perfect match? You’re not alone. As far as style goes, men often overlook little details that make a big difference, especially when it comes to shoe color. Fortunately, the Henry A. Davidsen team of men’s image consulting professionals in Philadelphia put together a quick shoe-to-suit matching guide to help you dress for success from head to toe.

How to Match Shoes to a Suit

Before we get into specifics, here’s a quick, high-level guide for matching shoes to suits:

  • Black suits: Black shoes. If you must opt for a non-black shoe, go for tan to maximize contrast
  • Grey suits: Black, brown (darker greys go well with darker browns, lighter greys go well with lighter browns and tans), oxblood/cordovan, grey (if you can find it)
  • Navy blue suits: Black, brown (same dark-to-light relationship as grey), oxblood/cordovan, navy blue (if you can find it)

What Shoe Styles To Wear With Suits

Just as with tailored menswear, there are manifold styles and silhouettes for men’s shoes that factor into their formality level and appropriateness for different environments. Below, we’ll list some styles that work well for formal and informal looks.

Formal Business Look

In the corporate business world, you’ve got to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. When you’re going for a formal business look, your best bet is either a charcoal suit or a navy suit with a light-colored shirt and a sober necktie. But what type of shoe do you wear?

  • Oxford/balmoral: The most formal laceup shoe style, can be worn with a suit to a board meeting, with dark denim to a dinner date, and anything in between.
  • Monkstrap: A slightly-less-formal-but-more-stylish option than oxfords, a monkstrap offers additional swag points with minimal effort. Just be sure that the hardware on the shoe matches the hardware of your belt and, if applicable, cufflinks

Informal Business Look

For informal business looks, we can typically wear charcoal or navy suits without ties, or break things up with casual sport coats and blue or grey trousers. While you can wear the shoe styles mentioned above, consider these two more casual options:

  • Derby/blucher: The more casual lace-up option. Great for business casual looks, jeans, and other relaxed environments.
  • Loafer: It’s true that dress loafers exist, but they’re a couple of rungs down from laceups on the formality scale. As such, they’re perfect for informal looks.

The Best Bespoke Suits in Philadelphia

Got an extensive shoe collection already, but lacking a finely-tailored suit? Henry A. Davidsen offers some of the most elegant custom-tailored suits in and around Philadelphia. We also provide image consulting, so we’ll help you mix and match your current wardrobe options, offer potential alternatives, and provide the style solutions you’ve been looking for. Contact us for help finding the perfect outfit!

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