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"Do not wear brown shoes with a black suit"

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    "Do not wear brown shoes with a black suit"

    Can y'all explain this rule to me?

    I've seen many people wear brown(think earth colored; moderately dark or darker) shoes with black suits. Do any of you break this "rule"? Is it referring to solid black suits only? I thought that wearing brown would add some edge to the look because black shoes are too boring.


    he's dead dude... you see that horse over there? the one you're practicing your Happy Gilmore swing on? HE'S DEAD.



      1) black suits are for undertakers and FBI agents

      2) I'm not much of a believer in the "no black and brown, together" rule, but I generally don't break it. Why? Because it is one of the only style rules that they average guy is likely to know. The general public won't see it as a calculated style risk (unless maybe you are peacocking it up otherwise... pocket squares, colorful socks, lapel pins, etc). They will assume you didn't know. People on styleforum might be impressed if you pull it off well, but your boss won't.



        There needs to be a miscellaneous tips/rules thread. Oh wait, there is.

        Perhaps we could share our rules on these scenarios here?:

        Ignore that if you want, but I figure that if you have a layout for some rules, feel free to drop them there and let us know your mentality on it.



          Does black with pinstripes count as a "black suit"?

          If someone could elaborate as to why the rule exists, I'd very much appreciate that

          I was reading this article:

          and he says brown with black is good to go for business. I don't know much about primer mag, but I only dress up for business. Another thing is, I've read that if paired with another brown item, such as a belt/pocket square/wrist watch, brown shoes work.

          Is it just me or does this look great?



            I just checked my suit; turns out that it is a very dark grey, bordering black. I had an odd black jacket hanging next to it to compare to and sure enough, it wasn't black.



              I remember that Primer article, but my take-away was that you essentially shouldn't wear brown shoes with a black suit.

              Black = formal. So black suit, black shoes. Stays consistent. Anything else would be weird when your eyes catch the feet. And if you're wearing a black suit, you're probably at an event where standing out is not the plan.



                I wouldn't break this one... but I also wouldn't wear a black suit. Black suits are for funerals. Black pinstripe suits are for jazz funerals.

                Charcoal or other gray is a whole other ballgame though. Not sure why but it just looks different.



                  I always hear people say, "chew your food before you swallow." Can someone please explain this rule to me?



                    forbritisheyesonly, that picture you linked is also dark charcoal, just as an FYI.



                      Most of these "rules" are just historical traditions or conventions, and if you're on a men's style forum and see a lot of fervor about following the rule, it's because, well, you're on a men's style forum. The reasoning behind the brown shoes/black suit convention is well-documented so I won't rehash it, but ultimately you can wear what you want.

                      You might not look bad, but for me it's not so much a matter of "you look bad if you break this rule" as it is "you just look better if you do". That is, a casual observer wouldn't notice your color clashing and consciously think "that guy doesn't know how to dress", but between that and a dark charcoal suit with burgundy oxfords, that casual observer would probably say the latter looks better without really verbalizing why.

                      We could talk about this all day long, but ultimately if someone likes wearing something they can and should wear it, and shouldn't worry about what anyone else thinks. Either you learn the rule, agree with the reasoning behind it, and follow it, or you say "eff this" and do your own thing.



                        I'm with Chareth -- that suit is a charcoal with what looks to be a brown/tan pinstripe. I have a similar suit that I pair with my darker brown shoes or black shoes, depending on the day/mood and shirt/tie.



                          It should be impossible to break this rule if you refrain from buying a black suit to begin with.

                          (I'm not a fan of black suits.)




                            Thanks for pointing it out. I did notice it, but only subconsciously =] Since I wear shoes of very similar color with a suit that is SLIGHTLY darker than that, I'm assuming it is okay.

                            What do y'all think of a shiny grey suit for business? In general?

                            The one I'm looking at is at a B&M store and looks VERY similar to this:




                              @forbritisheyesonly: It depends on the shiny suit. Are we talking about a sharkskin, optical illusion sort of shiny? Or are we talking about polyester shiny? The one you linked to is polyester and looks pretty cheap to me. I wouldn't put it beyond H&M to sell a polyester suit, either.