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A Guide To Men’s Shoe Colour Combinations

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The right trouser colours to wear with black shoes

If it’s true that a man’s outfit is assessed from his shoes up, then it’s their shade that first colours someone’s judgement. Footwear, like everything else in menswear, has grown less rigid recently — these days you can wear Oxfords with jeans and trainers with a suit. But the key to pulling either off is in colour-matching; get the shade wrong, and you can look like a car salesman on a night out or like you’ve changed into your comfy shoes for your commute.

And as with everything else in your wardrobe, nailing colour is at once the simplest and the hardest thing about getting dressed in the morning. It’s easy to stick to tonal combinations — black shoes with black trousers, brown shoes with tan chinos — and never put a foot wrong. But it’s a path that can swiftly lead to sartorial tedium as well as financial ruin. Unless you intend to only ever wear a couple of colours of trousers, you’d need a rainbow of footwear to give you enough options.

“A black pair of shoes would be the smartest colour, in my opinion, because it’s an absolute must-have in every man’s wardrobe,” says Andrew Nicholas Vieira, senior director of men’s product development at Aldo. “Everyone needs a clean, simple black leather lace-up.

“Your next colour in line would be tan. That’s where I’d recommend opting for a style with more detailing, like toe cap or brogue. Overall, I don’t believe there’s a least-smart colour, but the true miss would be not exploring your options. My recommendation would be to have fun with your decorated silhouettes and keep your black pairs classic.”

For the shoe colour novice, there are some basic rules to guide your choice each morning.

  • Block colours are always smarter than anything multicoloured.
  • Generally, darker tones are smarter than lighter. They’re more versatile, too.
  • Smartness is dictated by decoration as well as shade: black Derbies are smarter than tan, but chocolate Oxfords can be more refined than both.
  • Trainers and smart shoes obey different rules: white Oxfords are slightly weird, but white trainers will work with anything in your wardrobe.
  • It doesn’t matter what colour your shoes are if they’re scuffed. Find a polish that matches, or a neutral polish if you’ve gone for something wilder, and keep them in good nick. They’ll last longer, too.
  • If you’re wearing something bright on your feet, then anchor them with neutrals elsewhere. Bold shoes are easier to pull off if you’re not also wearing a Hawaiian shirt.

Black Shoes

In almost every circumstance, black shoes are the smartest version in any category.

“A pair of black Oxfords is probably the most dressed-up shoe you can have in your wardrobe,” says Luke McDonald, stylist at men’s online styling service Thread. “And that limits what other clothes you can wear them with.” You can think of them a little like a black blazer; they look great dressed up, but try them with jeans and you begin to look like a street magician.

To start from the top down, black should be your go-to for black tailoring, whether you need something for black tie or just a formal work shoe. “They also team well with grey or charcoal tailoring, particularly in more formal offices,” says McDonald. Despite what some folks think, wearing black with blue won’t bruise your sartorial ego, although stick to darker shades of navy rather than something more celebratory, like royal blue.

Casual trousers are trickier. If you’re going to wear black shoes with chinos in the brown spectrum, then stick to less formal styles. “A derby looks better than an Oxford as it’s a bit chunkier and more relaxed,” says McDonald. The same goes with jeans. “Oxfords would only ever work with very slim black jeans, and even then you’re going to look like a forgotten member of the Libertines.” If you insist on black shoes with your dark denim, then it’s best to go for something like Chelsea boots or Dr. Martens.

If you’re the kind of guy who likes his chinos colourful, then the sudden shift to black shoes can feel a bit severe. You can lessen the impact by cuffing the hems and even losing the socks, and making your shoe style as dressed-down as possible — loafers are preferable to anything with laces.

Finally, you should probably avoid shorts and black shoes once you’re out of school uniform.

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Brown Shoes

Brown is the most forgiving shade of smart shoes. The breadth of browns available means that there’s a tone for almost any situation, bar the very smartest offices; even a pair of bespoke chocolate John Lobbs will have you blackballed in some investment banks. But with anything other than a black suit or tuxedo, brown shoes add personality and feel a touch less stuffy.

“The lighter the shade, the more relaxed the look,” says McDonald, “particularly if you add detail, too.” A pair of brown brogues are less formal than the same shade Oxfords, for example.

Away from tailoring, brown should be your go-to for chinos of any colour, although be careful not to match too closely; like with double denim, you want at least two shades of difference between your trousers and your shoes, lest you look like you’re wearing the bottom half of a onesie.

Darker browns look great with indigo denim but can work just as well with more washed out shades. Just make sure that you step down into a less formal style — suede Chelsea boots are perfect, as are chunky brown worker boots.

Black jeans and brown shoes is a minefield of differing opinion and one not worth marching into if you’ve any personal doubts. But if you’re confident, then it’s a look that can work, so long as you stick to shoes in a shade that’s nearer black than tan. Although again, boots are easier to pull off, here, particularly Chelseas, which give you the air of someone who’s just left One Direction to find a direction of their own.

The right trouser colours to wear with brown shoes and boots

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Oxblood Shoes

Though technically a colour, oxblood can act almost as a neutral. They tend to work in almost exactly the same way as brown, although because they’re a touch bolder. They tend to lend whatever you’re wearing an ounce or two more of personality. “Making a statement with smart shoes shouldn’t mean going too far out of your comfort zone,” says Vieira. “Instead of opting for an extravagant style, it could be as simple as integrating new colourways in silhouettes you already wear on a daily basis.”

That said, it’s still easier to pull off oxblood if you dress them down a touch; Derbies are a more versatile choice than Oxfords because, while they won’t work with your smartest suits, you can wear them with everything from navy tailoring to jeans and chinos. That said, if you live in suits, a pair of burnished, oxblood Oxfords, with a Berluti-style patina, can be a distinctive way to make them feel more varied. They’re particularly good for making your workwear wedding-ready.

Casual styles offer much more leeway. The oxblood penny loafer is a classic and can be your summer go-to with anything from light-wash denim to tan, navy and even colourful chinos. Ditch the socks and cuff the hems for a Dickie-Greenleaf-on-the-Riviera feel.

The right trouser colours to wear with oxblood shoes and loafers

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Tan Shoes

Tan is brown’s most casual tone. “It’s best on more relaxed styles like brogue derbies or boots,” says McDonald. “Tan suede shoes can also look good, but you need to wear them with fairly informal outfits.” In smarter styles, tan is a good way to personalise an outfit — the kind of look-at-me tailoring that pervades Pitti Uomo is often accessorised by a tan loafer or brogue. It’s a particularly good anchor for brighter shades of blue or to take the stuffiness out of patterns like pinstripes.

Tan works well with jeans of all shades and chinos of any colour, especially in summer when they serve to lighten your look up a bit. You can even get away with wearing tan shoes with shorts, particularly if you go with something laceless like a penny loafer or something with texture, like suede.

The right trouser colours to wear with tan shoes and boots

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Blue Shoes

Blue can be an uncomfortable colour for smart shoes — though it’s a staple neutral everywhere else in your wardrobe, shiny blue leather tends to look a little try-hard. Once you step into more casual styles, however, blue is a perfect way to add some personality to looks. Textured leathers like nubuck work well in navy, says Vieira, and can even be worn as a pop of unexpected colour in black casual outfits.

Like nubuck, suede is an Elvis-approved way to pull off blue shoes; the raised nap adds a depth that you don’t get with leather, which makes blue shoes seem considered rather than flashy. So long as you don’t try to dress them up too far, blue suede brogues work well with any colour of suit (so long as it’s not black) and the same for chinos, particularly with an ankle-flashing roll.

More casual still, navy is perfect for desert and chukka boots, especially since it’s dark enough not to show rainspots if you do get caught in a shower. “Both styles look great with jeans,” says McDonald. “They’re rugged, but still smart enough for a nice restaurant or bar.” But again, try not to match your shoes and trouser shades too closely. If in doubt, use a brighter sock in a complementary shade, like red, to break things up a little bit.

The right trouser colours to wear with blue shoes and boots

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White Trainers

When Common Projects launched its Achilles Low almost 15 years ago, the Italian-American shoe brand helped cement a new category in menswear: the sneaker that acted like a smart shoe. Though all-white tennis shoes weren’t new — Adidas was already pumping out Stan Smiths, although not quite in the numbers they do post-Common Projects — they weren’t something that you could wear as easily with a suit as you could with denim shorts.

But now, so long as you get a completely clean pair, free from logos and crafted in premium leather, white minimalist trainers can be worn with just about anything (in the right context, of course; they’re probably not the best thing to pair with tailoring for partnership interviews at your law firm).

They’ll work with any suit, even black — although you’re best swapping the shirt and tie for something like a roll neck or long-sleeved polo — and look great with any pair of jeans, from premium Japanese selvedge to shredded stonewash. Same for chinos, for shorts, for parachute pants; whatever trousers you’ve got, white trainers will work.

In fact, the only tricky thing about white trainers is keeping them that way. “Box-fresh versions work with a suit,” says McDonald. “Battered, stained sneakers don’t. To keep them pristine, prep them with Crep Protect spray, and then keep some babywipes in your bag or desk drawer for touch-ups during the day.”

The right trouser colours and denim jeans to wear with white sneakers

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Colourful Trainers

Where white trainers led, its brighter plumaged brethren followed. Time was that bold-hued sneakers were only for exercise. Now, they’ve crept from the streets into offices, an eye-catching way to show your affinity for the latest hype brand and Nike drop. “But all those colours make them much less versatile,” says McDonald. “In fact, they only really work with neutrals, unless you’re able to pull off some very advanced colour-matching.” Even then, you’re liable to leave onlookers with a migraine.

Because colourful trainers are so casual, you’re wisest sticking to jeans (anything from white to washed to black is fine), joggers (think grey, black or navy) or chinos (tan and navy are safest). ”You should let your shoes do the talking,” says McDonald. “If they’re the brightest thing in your outfit, then they’ll draw the eye. If you have too many other bright colours, people won’t know where to look.”

The right trousers and jeans to wear with bold colourful sneakers

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Fashion

12 Best Workout Shorts for Men That Look Pretty Great When You Aren’t Working Out, Too

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There’s probably a big difference between the best workout shorts for men and the stained sweatpant cutoffs you’ve been wearing for bi-weekly crunches and leg lifts in front of the TV this past year. And if you’ve paused your gym membership (and still haven’t been able to find any adjustable dumbbells in stock) the best use of your monthly stay-somewhat-in-shape budget right now might just be a fresh pair of performance shorts that will get you excited about the idea of moving your body vigorously outdoors on a regular basis.

Over the past several years we’ve sweated in a wide array of different gym and running shorts. To determine the best we’ve considered, price, durability, hand feel, and a host of other variables. Is the stretchy performance fabric actually breathable? If there’s a lining, does it actually stay put or does it ride up after the third deep lunge? Where are the pockets and can they actually succeed at holding the things one needs while doing different kinds of work outs? And, of course, do the shorts look good enough that you wouldn’t mind running some errands in them on the way to the run? Below, here are the 12 best workout shorts for men we’ve found. They should help you make some gains and look pretty good doing it. 

The Most Versatile Workout Shorts

Outdoor Voices Anytime workout shorts

Outdoor Voices’ workout shorts were the clear winner of our 2020 fitness awards for a host of reasons. First, a Tik-Tok-approved 5-inch inseam means no extra fabric getting in the way. Second, they’re constructed from extremely tech-y fabric which is both breathable and water-resistant, with a comfy protective built-in liner (that stays put) and plenty of pockets to hold all your essentials whether you’re on a run or lifting at the gym. Think of them as the gym-rat younger brother of the ubiquitous Patagonia Baggies. 

The Best Workout Shorts for Getting After It at the Gym

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Ten Thousand Interval short

Ten Thousand makes a lot of workout gear, but it got its start back in 2014 with a simple pair of shorts and a shirt. We dug version 1.0, which we tried back in 2015, but the company has spent the intervening years making small tweaks and adjustment to the design that have made it even better. The updates retain the shorts extremely minimalist aesthetic, but add a bunch of little hidden touches, including hidden zipper pockets. The thing you’ll notice the most as you actually use the shorts though is how they move. Thanks to the un-bunchable, pinch-free waistband and extremely flexible shell, the short both somehow molds perfectly to your body and expands easily with your movement. If you’re looking for the best shorts for going absolutely nuts on the battle ropes, look no further.

The Best Workout Shorts for Runners

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Tracksmith “Ekiden” running shorts

Serious runners require serious running shorts. And nobody designs more serious running kits than Tracksmith, the Boston label that transplants Chariots of Fire–era aesthetics onto modern marathon-ready gear. Its latest concoction is these thigh-high split shorts inspired by Japan’s Hakone Ekiden—a legendary 218-kilometer relay race—fashioned from plush, antimicrobial mesh. You’re not going to be able to fit your phone into the 2.5-inch inseam, but the shorts manage to make space for two internal pockets that hold your keys or one of those race-day sports goo packets. 

The Best All-Around Workout Shorts

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Rhone “Mako” workout shorts

The Rhone Mako short is a little bit gymmier than you might want to wear on a day to day basis, but it’s all in service of performance. Their stretchy fabric feels smooth against your skin, and yields that satisfying swish-swish rustling noise with each successive stride. Its full-zip, standalone smartphone hip pocket is the best-executed and most secure version out of all the shorts we tested. They’re available in both 7-inch and 9-inch inseams, so are a good option for shorter guys and/or taller guys who want to show some thigh.

8 More Workout Shorts We Love

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Patagonia Strider Pro workout shorts

We wholeheartedly endorse doing HIIT in your 5-inch Patagonia baggies, but if you prefer a slightly techier Patagonia offering for working out, these fast-drying shorts are ideal for runners, thanks to a super streamlined design.
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Lululemon T.H.E. workout short

Lululemon’s shorts are made from a buttery smooth, cool-to-the-touch fabric that feels super luxurious. The shorts aren’t as substantial as the Outdoor Voices and Rhone shorts, but that also makes them plenty breathable.

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Adidas Squadra 17 workout shorts

An extremely cheap, classic option. These will not be your “forever” shorts, but they’ll hold up just fine for a few seasons.

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Brooks Sherpa split workout short

If the idea of 3-inch running shorts gives you pause, internalize this pair’s perfect tagline: “less short, more speed.”

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Satisfy short distance workout shorts

The liner on these lightweight shorts is just a tad longer than the shorts themselves, making the bold snakeskin print all the more striking. They pack an internal phone pocket, an external zipper pocket, and a key carabiner into one streamlined and stylish package.

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Rec Gen Type 2 lite workout short

If AirPod buds tend to fall out of your ears by the second squat or your simply remain devoted to your reliable fully-wired headphones, Rec Gen might be a good option. The brand’s shorts come with a small headphone pocket that corrals wires, leading them up to your ears along your back to ensure you don’t get tangled while doing curls.

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Nike Flex Stride workout shorts

Nike’s shorts include a breathable and supportive soft inner liner. They also have more than enough pockets to cover your PKW needs—two on the sides, and a zippered one just above the butt.

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Under Armour Locker workout shorts

Clean and unobtrusive, with a roomy 9-inch inseam, these light workout shorts come in about a billion colors.

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Why the Canadian Tuxedo Is the Perfect Style Detox

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pDennis Hopper during the filming of emThe Last Movieem 1971.p

There’s a common adage you hear about great masters in their fields: the Michelin-starred chef who, after a long day composing gastronomical wonders in the kitchen, comes home craving the simplicity of a grilled cheese; the musical genius who listens to nothing but white noise anywhere outside of the studio. No one would ever mistake me for a great master of anything, but even I—your humble middle-of-the-road menswear blogger—sometimes need a mental vacation from thinking about clothes after the endless hours of internet garm-wrangling I put in everyday. About every six months or so, I’ll open my closet in the morning and instantly feel like Rocky in the 14th round, bleary-eyed and overmatched and unable to piece together even a half-decent fit. I can’t see nothing. You gotta dress me, Mick! In those instances, I’ve come to rely on a uniform that helps me realign my sartorial chakras: denim-on-denim.

Dennis Hopper during the filming of The Last Movie, 1971.

Everett Collection

That’s right, the Canadian Tuxedo. When I first stumbled into this semi-regular habit a couple of years back, it was completely subconscious: every day for a week or so, without really thinking about it, I’d pull on my trusty 501s with my even-trust-ier trucker jacket, plucked for a pittance from the Club Monaco sale rack more than a decade ago in college and put through absolute hell ever since. What peculiar forces had drawn me to double denim, exactly? Perhaps it was a comforting nod to my roots north of the border, or a small tribute to the decades of style gods who have donned it before me: your Marvins, your Hoppers, your Meryls, your Kermits. But mostly, I think, I leaned on it for its quiet functionality. No matter what you wear underneath—a plain tee or a freaky camp shirt, a hoodie or a polo—there’s a purpose-driven clarity to pairing jeans and a jean jacket. A few days of palate-cleansing indigo, and I’m right back ready to furiously stunt on the world like post-baseball Mike.

Bob Marley in London, July  24, 1975. 

Michael Putland / Getty Images

Michael Douglas during the filming of Napoleon and Samantha, 1972.

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Lately, I’ve taken to calling these occasional denim-heavy stretches my Style Detoxes. Even if you aren’t as enamored with the rugged ease of all-jean-everything as I am, it’s a useful practice to adopt from time to time. The next time you wake up sick of all your own clothes, too weary to decide what to wear, go with your gut and throw on something effortless and innocuous. Then wear it again, and again, and again, and again—à la Doug from Doug—until you’re ready to return to getting dressed with fresh eyes and renewed intention.

Eric Clapton and John Lennon perform in Wembley, December 11, 1968.

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Princess Diana with her sons in Lech, Austria, March 30, 1993.

Tim Graham / Getty Images

Maybe your Style Detox is wearing head-to-toe white like Andrew W.K. or head-to-toe black like a Chelsea gallerist. Maybe it’s the perfect tracksuit or the perfect suit-suit. Whatever you land on, I’ll be floating above it all in my dungaree-induced meditative trance. If you’d like to join me, here are a handful of hard-wearing ways to do just that.

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Levi’s 501 original shrink-to-fit jeans

Tough to beat the brand that invented the look.

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Uniqlo U cotton trucker jacket

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Uniqlo U regular fit jeans

Christophe Lemaire brings his artful Parisian eye to an all-American ensemble.

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Oni Denim 16oz natural indigo jean jacket

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Oni Denim 16oz natural indigo neat straight jeans

Ready to see what all the hype is about over Japanese denim? Let this gorgeous slubby set be your introduction.

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A.P.C. New Standard jeans

The label that introduced you to raw denim does the whole stonewash thing better than most, too.

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Everlane relaxed 4-way stretch organic jean

Rockstar-ify your Canadian Tuxedo with a little pitch black denim.

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Todd Snyder stretch denim jacket

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Todd Snyder slim fit selvedge jean

Trashed like a perfect thrift store find, minus the impossible-to-wash-out thrift store smell.

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Fashion giant H&M pauses placing new orders in Myanmar

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Fashion giant H&M pauses placing new orders in Myanmar

STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s H&M, the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer, said on Monday it was shocked by the use of deadly force against protesters in Myanmar and that it had paused placing orders in the country.

Police and military have killed more than 50 people to quell daily demonstrations and strikes against a Feb. 1 military coup, according to the United Nations last week.

H&M has around 45 direct suppliers in Myanmar, it said on its website, and has sourced in the country for seven years.

“Although we refrain from taking any immediate action regarding our long-term presence in the country, we have at this point paused placing new orders with our suppliers,” Serkan Tanka, Country Manager Myanmar, said in an email.

“This is due to practical difficulties and an unpredictable situation limiting our ability to operate in the country, including challenges related to manufacturing and infrastructure, raw material imports and transport of finished goods.”

Two protesters were killed by gunshot wounds to the head in Myanmar on Monday, witnesses said, while shops, factories and banks were closed in the main city Yangon as part of the uprising against the country’s military rulers.

Tanka said H&M was extremely concerned about the situation in the country and that it was in dialogue with UN agencies, diplomatic representatives, human rights experts, trade unions and other multinational companies.

“These consultations will guide us in any future decision in relation to how we as a company can best contribute to positive developments in accordance with the will of the people in Myanmar,” he said.

Myanmar’s garment industry is smaller than that of neighboring countries Bangladesh, China and Thailand. However, its around 600 factories are significant employers, providing jobs for around 450,000 workers in 2020, according to the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association

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