The world of men’s fashion seems to have evolved to one where almost anything goes and the formal rules of dress attire often seem like they’ve been tossed out the window. Designers are using patterns in new ways, suit cuts are more modern and stylists are even sending guys down the runway in trainers.

However, just because the rules of fashion aren’t as strict as they once were, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware of them. After all, you can’t break the rules unless you know the rules, and sometimes following them really is the right thing to do.

This holds especially true when it comes to learning how to match suit and shoes. While it often depends on the occasion, these are some tips that can help guide you. Keep reading and you won’t have to worry about how to match suit and shoes the next time you’re getting dressed for a formal occasion or a stylish night out.

Black Suits

Black suits can make you seem like a funeral director if you’re not careful, and that’s why more and more men are opting for charcoal or midnight blue for formal occasions. However, if you’re going to wear a black suit, you need to make sure you know how to match suit and shoes.

Luckily matching shoes to your black suit is pretty simple because, well, you’re always going to wear black shoes. If you want to add a splash of color, you can do it with your socks and accessories. Keep in mind that whatever you do, don’t break out the brown shoes with your black suit! These colors clash and will never look appropriate, even with a great suit and a $1,000 pair of shoes.

how to match suit and shoes


Charcoal is becoming a very popular color for guys that don’t want to wear black, and it’s become more common at formal occasions than it has ever been. While charcoal might not be ideal for black tie events, you can pretty much wear it anywhere else you go, including work.

To match suit and shoes with charcoal, you’re going to want to pick black shoes 100% of the time. It can be tempting to pick a solid brown shoe with charcoal, but even with the right accessories, it just doesn’t match as well as black.

Use light accessories and a crisp white shirt if you want to lighten up a charcoal suit.


Grey suits are less formal than black and charcoal, but wearing one is going to be fine for almost any occasion. You’ll also stay a little cooler in the spring or summer since the color won’t attract as much heat as black or charcoal.

When you choose a grey suit for work or evening wear, you have a few choices when it comes to how to match suit and shoes. The classic choice is a black shoe – you can’t go wrong with a solid Oxford or wing-tip.

However, you can also pair brown shoes that aren’t too light with your grey suit. Be sure the shades match. If you’re not sure, ask somebody knowledgeable (such as your tailor) for an opinion before you head to the event.

Navy Blue

Navy blue suits are ideal for everything from a casual wedding to a dinner with friends, and it’s certainly a color that every man should have in his wardrobe. Because of all the options available, it can be confusing to know how to match suit and shoes when it comes to navy blue.

One of the best choices for navy blue suits is a flat black shoe without a lot of shine. You’ll want to avoid shoes that look too slick or made of patent leather – they tend to stand out in a negative way.

Deep, dark brown shoes are also an excellent choice for a navy blue suit. Avoid very light brown shoes and look for a pair with a rich patina for the best overall look. Keep your accessories simple if you choose to wear brown shoes with a navy suit.

how to match suit and shoes


Indigo suits are very popular right now and many men are wearing a shade of high blue. The problem is that indigo suits can be paired with so many options that it can be very difficult to know what kind of shoe to put on.

You get a lot of choices with an indigo suit, but your best bets are black, caramel, dark brown and browns with a shade of red in them. You’ll need to tailor your shoes to your accessories to perfect your look.

If you like the shoes you’re wearing with an indigo suit, but you can’t finish the rest of the outfit, you won’t go wrong with a white shirt and a classic, understated red or blue tie.

Olive Green

Like indigo, olive green is an incredibly popular color with men right now and it’s definitely going to be hot for the Fall and Winter of 2016. Knowing how to match suit and shoes when it comes to an olive green suit isn’t as hard as one might think.

The colors that work best with olive green suits normally depend on accessories, but you can pick from dark brown, caramel, cordovan and black. In this case, black should probably be your last pick since it tends to be a bit too much of a contrast and draws the eye downward. Only choose black if you’ve got a very dark olive green suit and you’re going to a formal event.

men's fashion advice

Ralph Lauretta

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.

Leave a Reply