The Style Blog

The Brown Vs. Black Shoe Debate With Navy Suiting

By Courtney Baldwin on 2017-10-12

blue suit brown shoes brown or black shoes with navy suit

There is so much to think about when it comes to selecting your wedding day look. While many might think the groom has it the easiest, and wonder, “what’s so difficult about selecting a suit?” There is actually quite a bit that goes into selecting the groom’s suit or tuxedo and the complementing accessories.  Men’s suiting is one of the most challenging wardrobe items for a gentleman to purchase, especially when trying to achieve a proper fit. And after fit, the finishing details of the look must be determined — which can be a whole other challenge in itself!

When it comes to the groom’s look, usually the first step is to select the perfect suit (or tuxedo) in a color to complement the bride-to-be and all of the fine details of the wedding day.  Your bride has likely told you just a little bit about her gown. Possibly she’s said, “It’s ivory, floor length, and has alencon lace detailing.” You might be thinking, “well that doesn’t tell me too much”, but actually there are some key statements in this seemingly small set of information.  Floor length as opposed to knee length or tea length indicates a certain level of formality.  A floor length gown being more formal than the alternatives.  Now this doesn’t mean you must run out and purchase a tuxedo for the big day, but there are some other details that you must consider before settling on your suiting. These include, the time of day that the event will take place, the season, and venue.

Which shoes to choose?

The second, and equally important, part of your wedding day look planning is the shoes and accessories. Your shoe selection must be carefully considered as shoes typically anchor the look along with the tie and pocket square selections.  As a default, most gentlemen think that a navy suit should be paired with tan or brown shoes. In some instances, particularly for outdoor and more rustic weddings, this is a fine choice. But in more formal weddings, brown shoes might make the groom appear as if he is going to the office rather than getting married. Often overlooked by grooms and groomsmen is a black wholecut oxford or cap toe oxford which can be a sharp complement to the navy suit.

Your shoe selection must be carefully considered as shoes typically anchor the look along with the tie and pocket square selections.

Black shoes paired with a navy suit provide a certain level of sophistication and formality that is not necessarily as apparent with brown shoes. This combo tends to be more appropriate for evening weddings and weddings that take place in the fall and winter in cooler climates. Keep in mind there are no hard rules when it comes to selection of the shoes, but some choices may be more suitable than others.

Navy Wedding Suit with Black Shoes
Navy Wedding Suit with Brown Shoes

Comparison of navy wedding suits with brown and black shoes.

Now what about a belt? Should you wear a belt for the big day? We say yes, but only if you are wearing a suit. Belts should never be worn with tuxedo pants.  To make sure you don’t make this mistake, our tuxedo pants don’t even come with belt loops!  Belts are one of those accessories that are both fashionable and functional.  We recommend that once you settle on a shoe color, you match your belt color to the shoes.  Again, not a rule, but this makes things much more streamlined for a wedding day look. 

Match your theme and formality.

To recap, let’s say that the big day that you and your bride-to-be have planned is a mid-October wedding with the ceremony taking place at 6pm in the evening at The Brooklyn Winery. Using this information in consideration of the “clues” that your bride-to-be has provided about her gown, you have settled on a navy suit from The Groomsman Suit (of course 😊) for your big day. Because it is a more formal evening soiree, you have selected a sharp pair of black shoes and black belt to perfectly accessorize your suit.

Alternatively, let’s consider that your bride-to-be has indicated she will be wearing a simple ivory, tea-length gown and you are planning a day time, rustic themed, ceremony with a variety of vintage and reclaimed elements to decorate the space. Possibly the festivities are taking place in a barn or on a mountain range and the bridesmaids are wearing brown cowboy boots with their blush knee-length gowns. In this instance, brown shoes and and a brown belt may be the perfect complement to your navy suit and the overall style and them of the wedding day.

At SuitShop, we care about our clients wedding style (and wedding photos 😊) and are dedicated to helping our clients find a wedding look they will love on their big day and the years to follow. For that reason, we are constantly searching for the best accessories to offer to our clients and have cultivated a great selection of shoes and belts that complement our suiting. And like our suits, our shoe prices can’t be beat!

As you plan your wedding day look, we are here to help you to consider all the details of your wedding day to settle on the best suit and accessory styles and colors.  It’s important that you don’t make these decisions in a vacuum. You and your bride-to-be should look like you are going to the same party, no exceptions.  And selecting your wedding day apparel should not be a chore. We want to ensure that you feel great about what you are wearing for the big day and share in the excitement about the look that you select. If for any reason you get stumped, our stylists are always here to help!

About the Author

Courtney Baldwin

Courtney Arrington-Baldwin is the co-author of GROOMS: A Professional Stylist’s Guide to Wedding Planning for Every Budget. She has a seasoned background in menswear styling and provides style advice and wardrobe planning. Living in one of the fashion capitals of the world, New York City, she has a sophisticated understanding of wedding style, fit, and budget.