Can You Wear Brown Shoes with Black Pants?

brown shoes

You’ve likely already heard or read this statement before, but men’s fashion can be full of oddities compared to women’s fashion. The latter has so many different ways to pull off a look, with so much to learn and understand that it’s commonplace for most people to get confused trying to get the job done. In fact, the upper echelons of women’s fashion are almost unrecognizable compared to the average wardrobe that makes most women feel like they aren’t good enough.

In the case of men’s fashion, the upper echelons involve the use of a suit — which is surprising since the suit is not only practical and versatile, but cheap as well. It is everything that the fashion guru might claim is not at the heart of fashion. It’s the reason why you’ll see so many people walking down that runway with almost alien-looking outfits that somehow still make bank and sell for a surprising amount.

With men’s fashion, the higher you go, the more emphasis there is on practicality. It’s often a much smarter way to dress, but still entirely possible for those who might not necessarily be coached in the ways of high fashion.

Understanding the Complementary Colors


In most of these cases, we’re going to be using the two-piece (or three-piece, why not) suit as the baseline examples, just because they’re pretty much the best thing you could use in any situation. A well-tailored suit represents so much of men’s fashion that it would be a shame not to flaunt just how amazing a suit can be. That said, how do you go about making a suit look good? You do so by making use of complementary colors of course.

Combining colors that work well together isn’t exactly a rare occurrence. Even people who are just interested in going out to the mall and casually looking over their wardrobe will (very likely) choose complementary colors. For example, if someone were to choose an orange top, which is something of an unusual color, they will likely go for a blue bottom. In the case of the ever-classical suit, They might end up using an orange dress shirt with a blue suit.

There are plenty of various combinations that work extremely well together. For example, you can mix and match brown with green, or you can wear a blue suit and brown shoes to really complete the look, as the combination looks fantastic on a suit.

But wait, how is it versatile then?


The more astute reader has probably already noticed that making use of complementary colors does not mean that the outfit is versatile — at least as far as colors go. An outfit like a two-piece suit is often considered versatile due to the fact that you can remove the jacket and fold up the cuffs for far less formal events. You can even make use of a suit during job interviews that might not necessarily need a suit and still be impressive due to the professional nature of the suit.

However, men’s fashion is not just versatile when it comes to events. It can also be quite versatile when it comes to the use of colors! A savvy individual can make use of colors that might not jive together as easily and help them harmonize through the use of various shades and hues. Men’s fashion is not just considered practical, but you can mix and match various colors together and still come out on top if you know how the colors combine.

The deceptively simple combination

brown shoes

While the use of complementary colors and harmonizing are great ways to make the colors work, there are also other combinations that seem like they might be a good fit but are actually quite tricky to pull off. For example, a neutral color like brown seems like it would look great on just about anything, right? Well then, how about brown shoes with black pants? It might not seem like a big deal, but the only thing you would have to do is look at the mirror after putting on just any pair of black pants with brown shoes. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you — there is genuinely something special about the combination, but it feels like it takes some doing to get right.

The reason why I would ask you to even throw and pair on and observe in the mirror is the fact that black and brown seem to be complementary colors at first glance. However, depending on the roles they play, it can immediately turn into something else. It would even be entirely understandable for some to think that the black pants brown shoes combination is one of those rare instances where it doesn’t work.

However, I’m here to tell you that men’s fashion is versatile (again), and even the stranger combinations such as black pants with brown shoes will not only work, but work well. Using the suit as the baseline example, having a black suit with a brown belt can seem quite odd, but you can pair it with brown shoes to help the belt latch onto something in terms of color and make it seem intentional.

Why is the black-brown combo seen as sloppy?

jeans with boots

You’ll find that most fashion savvy people have quite a bit to say about the black and brown combination, especially if they are colors that nearly match each other. It’s known as the “Getting Dressed in the Dark” phenomenon, and no, I didn’t just make that up. Maybe. Anyway, when a person gets dressed in the dark, they are likely to find colors that almost match in terms of hue. Typically, that might not seem like a big deal and might even be seen as intentional.

However, there are plenty of reasons why it is often frowned upon to go for colors that look almost the same but not quite — it can end up looking sloppy. It can make it look unintentional, and that you were just grabbing whatever was at the top of the clothing bin to get dressed. It can make you look like you were dressing in the dark.

In such cases, similar hues of almost the same colors can look much sloppier than it’s supposed to be. The question often asked is: “does brown shoes go with black pants?” The reason why anyone would even ask that question is the fact that they probably matched together near-identical hues of brown shoes black pants and were probably pretty bummed out by the result.

What if near-identical hues are what I want?

formal wear

If there is one thing that firmly places a chip on the fashion world’s shoulder, it would be the ever-constant presence of personal preference. After all, the idea of personal preference tends to destroy any notion of fashion do’s and don’ts, something that many vocal fashion gurus keep trying to push. It can be somewhat ironic, as it is exactly personal preference that pushes forward the fashion industry, and why things often look really strange on the runway. In the case of men’s fashion, there’s little to worry about when it comes to personal preference. It’s absolutely recommended, and if it means that you are quite fond of the combination, then why not?

Can you wear brown shoes with black pants? Of course, you can. It’s just a little tricky. Are you fond of the way it looks even if the brown and black are almost the same color? Then there’s little point in feeling disappointed that you like something considered to be sloppy. If you’re fond of the look, feel free to do what you like yeah? More power to you, and you should always be thinking about what you want when it comes to fashion. This guide is only here to explain why it might be considered a sloppy combination, and the reasoning why brown shoes with black jeans or dress pants need a little more attention to do right.

So how do I keep it from being sloppy?

black jeans with boots

Still with me? Great! Let’s try and figure out how to keep the look from being considered sloppy — better for an outfit to be considered odd than sloppy! First and foremost, let’s look at the shoes. Brown shoes are typically a great choice for just about any outfit, but what exactly does the brown pair of shoes signify? In most cases, brown shoes are a sign of a slightly informal outfit, especially if you go for lighter shades of brown for the shoes. While you can still wear a pair of dark brown dress shoes and have them work for a formal occasion, it doesn't change the fact that brown shoes work tremendously well in non-formal events.

The question is, what do we pair with those brown shoes to ensure that the look pops? For those that want to rock the dark brown shoes, you can unlock much of its potential by going for blue pants — but that’s not what we’re trying to pull off! We’re going for the top of the food chain, and choosing black pants as the key to unlocking the look. So, how exactly do we make the look work? We can start by going for the simple combo of black jeans. The very look of jeans tends to make it seem more informal than not, and even black jeans will help combo well with brown shoes.

What about the aforementioned suit? A black suit will still look good with a professional pair of brown dress shoes. However, you might want to add a little flair to the suit by going for a brown, golden, or yellow tie to help complete the look. That’s the very reason why suits are so useful; there are plenty of different factors you can switch up to make something that doesn’t look good initially, look fantastic.

A Matter of Contrast


So far, we’ve talked about how the brown dress shoes with black pants and various other combinations involving the same color can work. That said, there’s still a general rule of thumb to follow that helps reinforce the earlier topic of dressing in the dark. When it comes to brown shoes, you’ll want to make them contrast with the rest of the outfit. Such a thing can exude confidence if you do it right — especially if you’re interested in making it work with a suit. 

Do you want the black shirt brown shoes combination to work? Start considering how the shoes contrast with the pants. Black pants can play off very well with various colors, and brown is no exception. The only issue comes from the fact that you can’t really realize the potential without brightening things up a bit in the case of the shoes. Make a push for that contrast, and show the naysayers that the fashion choice was intentional. Typically, the intentional fashion choice is seen with a little more respect, even by those who might not necessarily be into fashion. It’s certainly a much better look than being seen as generally sloppy.

A World of Its Own

casual dress

Asking the question of what color shoes to wear with black pants can seem a little intimidating since it seems like the only reasonable thing would be to go for black shoes. However, a striking pair of brown shoes will undoubtedly make the pants pop. As a matter of fact, why not consider the brown boots with black pants combo? Be as loud as possible, and turn heads in the best possible way.

The fun part about deceptive combinations such as the black pants and brown shoes is the fact that you can always make it work. Even if trying to ensure that you don’t look sloppy doing it is generally troublesome, there is nothing to worry about. Even if you end up liking the non-contrasting version of the combination, it is still perfectly fine to go with the look. The magic of fashion is that if you like what you are wearing, people will always notice. Even if they might not have chosen the look themselves, people will still respect you if you’re confident when it comes to the choice. There’s no reason to worry!

Leave a Reply