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When dressing for the occasion, styling your outfit makes all the difference in tying your ensemble together, where all elements complement each other and help you live up to your personal brand. Learning how to match dress shoes to your suit will ensure you don’t disappoint the look of a custom suit with sloppily paired shoes that distract from your ensemble and make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.

black monk strap shoes

The importance of matching dress shoes to suits

Footwear choices can seem simple, but poor colour matching detracts from your look. You wouldn’t wear a soiled or wrinkled shirt when making a toast at an event or meeting stakeholders in the office; ill-suited shoes are no different.

Whether you’re suiting up for the boardroom, a wedding, or just maintaining an elevated style every day, every detail counts to dress to impress and command attention when meeting with clients or having your fit recorded forever in photography. In this guide, we’ll detail how you can select shoes to suit black, navy or grey suits and which shoe style can elevate the silhouette of your suit set and help you step out in style.

Pairing shoes to your suit’s colour 

Shoes to match black suits

If mixing colours is not your forte, a black shoe to match a black suit is your safest bet. A versatile, universal staple, every man is sure to have a few in their wardrobe, making it easy to slip into whether you’re heading to work or enjoying a night out. Its classic colour easily matches black suits of every shade — whether it’s jet black or on the charcoal side of the colour wheel.

While adding a sleek accent to anchor your outfit, that doesn’t mean black shoes should just fade and blend in. For a contemporary statement, opt for an Oxford or derby shoe in patent leather to illuminate your fit with a high gloss finish.

If you’re looking to make a sartorial choice that is a little out of the ordinary, bust a myth that you can’t wear brown with black — it just depends on the shade and if you can match it to your belt. A dark, brooding chocolate brown makes an elegant pairing to add an unconventional touch to your outfit while allowing you to experiment with your aesthetic.

Shoes to match navy suits

While black is always an option, you’re likely no stranger to colour if you’re opting to wear a navy suit. Toeing the line between classic and contemporary, light and dark brown shoes make the ideal contrast to blue suits and allow each element to stand out. 

With its bright colour that fits both day and nighttime events, blue suits bestow a modern look that allows for more casual details. If you have a lunchtime reception, you can keep it more comfortable in a pair of brown leather chukka or Chelsea boots to add a loose pant break. Brown shoes offer exceptional versatility as shoes to match blue suits.

If you’re considering a bold colour-blocked suit set, why settle on a classic shade? Make an impact and style your navy suit set with a striking suede or velvet bit loafer or cap toe derby shoe in burgundy or oxblood. With a statement-making colour, you can curate a look that is one of a kind, where no one else will surely be wearing a similar outfit. 

Shoes to match a grey suit

Grey ensembles give you more room to swap out different colours to change the feel and formality of your suit to the event. Light brown hues add a level of polish for more relaxed daytime receptions, while dark brown and black add a warm contrast and anchor for afternoon and night affairs. 

For race day suits or linen sets that are perfect for relishing under the sun, tan shoes match grey suits elegantly, providing a sleek and effortlessly cool accent. With its warm caramel finish that adds warm undertones and contrast to a grey suit, you can lead the day with a fashion-forward look.

coffee monk strap shoes

Transform the tone and formality of your suit with different shoe styles

While colour-matching your shoes to your suit makes a huge difference in creating a put-together outfit, your shoe style can cast your look to fall on the casual or formal side of dressing.

  • Oxford and derby shoes — With laces that are either connected or layered over the vamp of the shoes, Oxford and derby styles offer a classic silhouette that can easily be worn to elevate smart-casual and business suits or complement dress suits for formal occasions.
  • Brogues and monk strap shoes — Using wingtips, layered panels and buckle fastenings to add rich detail, these styles are the easiest way to match dress shoes to suits to add a little personality to formal affairs.
  • Dress boots — Whether they have a boxed or pointed-toe box, dress boots, including chukkas, Chelsea, cap toe or wingtip boots, add a stylish accent to maintain an elevated silhouette to semi-formal affairs.
  • Loafers — Loafers can provide a touch of elegance to your look, particularly if they have tassel detailing. Look for a silhouette with a higher build that maintains the break in your pants and doesn’t allow your hem to drag on the ground.
black oxford lace up shoes

Make a statement with a fashion-forward suit you can style your way at Woolcott St

When it comes to dressing for formal and professional occasions, your footwear choice offers enormous freedom to dress your outfit up or down to match the event’s tone and reflect your aesthetic. With a little practice and experimentation, you can nail your look and step out with confidence. 

If you’re searching for a formal dress suit that can take you anywhere with a lifted style, Woolcott St is the best place to start. Our master tailors can visit you at home or work and design a custom suit exclusively for you. We can even outfit you in sleek footwear, ties and other accessories to cast you in a refined outfit you can call on from one season to the next. To organise your own bespoke suit, get in touch with our team — we’re always happy to help.