There was a time when office workers may as well have glued themselves into a pair of black Oxfords, such was the strict ‘no brown shoes’ rule at most city firms. However, a general loosening of workplace dress codes over the last few years has found previously tethered employees reaching for new sartorial avenues. These days, few 9-5 combinations top the appeal of a navy suit worn with these formerly outlawed brown shoes. The two complement each other perfectly, appearing smart but substantially less formal than black lace-ups with a similarly toned suit. This is suiting you can take to post-work pints or into the weekend without feeling like you’re over-dressed for the occasion.
Darker shades of brown tend to pair better with deep blues and vice versa with lighter shades. Worth remembering is that, generally, lighter hues are less formal than the darker ones, so if you’re still worried about what the boss might think of your new brown-shoes-blue-suit combo, play it safe with darker tones.
How To Wear A Blue Suit With Brown Shoes
To A… Job Interview
A job interview (particularly one for a role in an office) is no time to be taking risks with your outfit. Your suit shouldn’t draw too much attention from the business at hand, making this steadfast shoe/suit combo a great place to start. A crisp white shirt is not just traditional but also contrasts well against the navy. To create a lasting impression, throw on a statement tie. Novelty designs should be firmly off the cards, but a pattern such as houndstooth or polka dot shows just the right amount of flair keep the look from being too dry. Footwear-wise, a pair of Oxfords are as classic and somewhat incognito as you can get.
On A… Night Out
Granted, no man with all with mental faculties intact is going to wear a suit for £1 shot Thursdays. However, for those classier types of night out you’ll be starting to have in your mid-20s — a slap-up meal somewhere fancy, then onto an even fancier bar — is just what a neat navy suit ordered. Now, you’re not at work remember, so you’ll want to de-formalise things. Something slim-fitting and with minimal padding relaxes the affair but is subtle enough not to drastically change the recipe. A printed shirt, meanwhile, offers a welcome pop of colour that plays off the navy suit. If wearing a belt (not strictly necessary), match this to your shoes which should be similarly dressed down in the form of loafers or Derbies.
At A… Art Gallery Opening
The fact that bold suit colours often make an appearance on the red carper is no coincidence. Done right, statement shades are designed to grab attention, meaning that if you have an upcoming event where you want to dress to impress, a brighter blue suit is an ideal choice. Wear it as the stars would with a slick roll neck underneath (recent run-outs include David Beckham and Armie Hammer). Having leaned more casual with your tailoring, bring your look back to the sartorial middle ground with a pair of brown brogues.
On… Casual Fridays
Whether you call them casual Fridays, get down Fridays, or get me the eff out of here Fridays, the last day of the working week is a perfect opportunity to give your dress shirts the day off and get a little more lax with your approach to tailoring. The polo shirt is one such reliable substitute, especially mid-century knitted or open collar versions. For an entry-level move, skew classic with cotton-piqué style with minimal detailing, which will still look good with the suit trousers should you shed your jacket. Dress the look down further with some smart sneakers, either in minimalist white leather or premium suede.
For A… Weekend Away
Packing for a weekend away can be a logistical nightmare. You want to cover all bases, but don’t want to be lugging around the whole of Narnia in your suitcase. That’s why you, an intellectual, will look upon the navy suit as the perfect accompaniment for a trip, offering the opportunity to separate the trousers and jacket at will. Prioritise linen and linen-blend suits, which naturally crease so you won’t have to worry about pressing it on your trip and is also extremely breathable should you find yourself sweating out a storm on the beach. During the day, wear the trousers with a summery Breton top, which will work effortlessly with the jacket over the top as you make your way into the evening. Take a simple Cuban collar shirt for the second day, both of which work with a pair of boat shoes that not only make light work of all the inevitable walking but just so happen to be trending this summer.