Mens Q&A: What to Wear with Light Brown Shoes

January 7th, 2009

Q:  What color dress pants go well with light brown shoes?  Usually, I see men wearing light brown shoes with navy or beige dress pants.  What else may work?

by John Liu

Light Brown Shoes with a Navy Suit.  Courtesy of The Sartorialist.A: Just as dark colored clothes are more versatile than their light colored counterparts, shoes are also more versatile when they are dark.  Darker shades of brown, for example, work with many more colors than do lighter shades of brown.  Because of this versatility factor, I’d recommend that your shoe wardrobe include a few good pairs of black and darker brown dress shoes in a variety of styles (captoe, bucks, wingtip, etc.) before expanding to lighter colored shoes.  

Even though light brown shoes aren’t super versatile, you still have a few good options.  As you mentioned, light brown shoes complement navy blue nicely.  And they also work with light sandy colored pants.  Beyond that, you may also want to try dark olive green dress pants with your light brown shoes.  Other than these three options, however, it’s going to be tricky.  I’m not saying light brown shoes and other colors can’t work; I’m just saying I haven’t seen it done that well (at least, not yet).

Photo Credit: The Sartorialist.

Have a great tip about what pants to wear with light brown shoes?  Share it with us in the comments!

Entry Filed under: How To, Men, Men's, Men's, Q&A

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Barry Wright, III  |  January 7th, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I think all the colors you mentioned work well, but don’t leave out gray. Different shades of gray can be matched really well with nearly all browns. Pairing gray and brown with a green, pink, or blue shirt is a very interesting and effective look in my opinion.

  • 2. Sal  |  January 7th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    My husband has a pair in almost the exact shade this gent is wearing, and I always balk when he puts them on. Gotta forward him this post so he can see how to style them correctly!

  • 3. John  |  January 7th, 2009 at 8:54 pm


    Gray can work, although I much rather see a pair of dark brown shoes with a medium gray or charcoal suit.

    Of course, the purists will never even wear brown in the city, as traditionally, brown was for the countryside (and black was for the city), and certainly not in the evening.

  • 4. Heather  |  July 28th, 2012 at 7:41 am

    “Of course, the purists will never even wear brown in the city, as traditionally, brown was for the countryside (and black was for the city), and certainly not in the evening.”

    This, clearly, should be something emphasized! Respect thy predecessor! ;)

    Honestly, like the man in this picture, once in awhile has been proven to work & if done right, definitely could generate a great way to be fashion-savvy! As I’ve witnessed, fashion is one of the quickest passion/like/lifestyles/etc. to escalate & expire, but those true -through&through- “rules”, per say, will never die out!

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