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How To Match Shoes To A 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 shoes. 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.

Shoe Color

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

  • brown shoes getting shinedBlack suit – Black shoes. If you must opt for a non-black shoe, go for a tan pair to maximize contrast.
  • Grey suit – Black, oxblood/cordovan, brown (darker greys go well with darker browns, lighter greys go well with lighter browns and tans), and grey shoes all work.
  • Navy blue suit – Black, oxblood/cordovan, brown (same dark-to-light relationship as grey), and navy blue shoes look sharp.

The key idea is to make your shoes look like a natural extension of the outfit. If you still have questions about brown and black shoes explore more here

Shoe Styles

The silhouettes and styles of various men’s shoes determine their formality level and appropriateness for different environments. Below, we’ll list some styles that work well for formal and informal looks.

Formal Business

An adage in the corporate world is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If formality is the goal a charcoal or navy suit with a light-colored shirt and a sober necktie is always a safe approach. But what type of shoes should you wear?

  • double monkstrap in oxblood cordovan
    Double Monkstrap

    Oxford/Balmoral: The most formal lace-up shoe style. Most men think of oxfords when asked to picture a formal shoe. It looks sharp in the boardroom and at other formal events like weddings and job interviews. A classic that, while lacking originality, will never be inappropriate. 

  • Monkstrap: Slightly-less-formal-but-more-stylish option than oxfords. Monkstraps offer additional style points simply for standing out from the norm. Monkstraps get their name from the literal strap on the shoe. Be sure that the hardware on the shoe matches the hardware of your belt.

Informal Business

For informal business looks, our suit palettes can be a bit lighter. Greys, lighter blues, and earth tones all look great for a relaxed office setting. Casual sport coats and blazers can also play a larger role in your attire. While you can wear the shoe styles mentioned above, consider these more casual options:

  • man posing in two tone penny loafers
    Two-toned Leather Loafers

    Derby/Blucher: The more casual lace-up option. A very comfortable and stylish alternative to the oxfords. Perfect for in-house meetings, dinner dates, and any events that involve dancing.

  • Loafer: Dress loafers exist, but they’re a couple of rungs down from lace-ups on the formality scale. Loafers can be found in a variety of different colors and materials. While leather is traditionally more formal, a suede loafer does look particularly sharp when paired with the right suit. 



Already have an extensive shoe collection? Lacking finely-tailored clothes? Or do you just have more questions about shoes? Give us a call at 215-310-0219 or email info@henrydavidsen.com to start a conversation. Contact us for help finding the perfect outfit!

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