How to Wear Black Trousers with Brown Shoes

by Jamie

Black trousers (or pants to our American friends) are a classic part of menswear. You can’t really get away from them, and honestly there’s no reason you’d want to. They go with everything, you can dress them up and down, wearing them with a simple white shirt for a formal vibe, or casual T-shirts for an everyday look. The only problem that can arise when you slip on a pair of them is what shoes to go with them. Yes, we know, seems like a pointless thing to spend too much time on, but the wrong pair of shoes can make a big difference to a look.

With formal wear the solution is simple. Black trousers, black shoes – it makes sense. However this is the standard, ordinary choice when colour matching, and there’s no need to be ordinary with your outfits all the time. A slightly less conventional, yet still traditional, look is to ignore the black shoes for now and replace them with a brown pair. It might not seem like the safest combination, but bare with us – it’s a good match when you pull it off right.

Black Trousers Brown Shoes

There’s a whole range of black trousers out there, from ones so skinny it’s a task to sit down, to loose fit designs that give a casual twist to formal looks. Whatever ones you choose they can all benefit from a good pair of brown shoes to balance them out.

Different shades of brown can give different finishes, so it’s good to keep what kind of vibe you’re going for in mind. In general lighter tones of brown give off a more relaxed look than darker shades, but this isn’t always hard and fast rule, so keep the shape and finish of the shoe in mind as well.

Black Jeans Brown Shoes

You can achieve a range of casual looks with a number of brown shoes, especially if your black trousers happen to be jeans. Because the mix of tones is fairly striking you should ideally try and keep the rest of the outfit neutral to balance out the overall look. Pairing your black trousers with a darker toned top gives you room to go bolder with your coat or jacket, and ensures that you have the right amount of colour in your outfit.

A black coat or jacket can work perfectly with this combination, especially if you’re working with a light brown pair of shoes, as you’re keeping the colours in the same overall tone, and maintaining a neat, uniformed look to the outfit. This outfit is good for the cooler months, leaving enough space to layering up with scarves and hats without looking overloaded.

A casual, more summer friendly look involves the same simple mix of colours, but with a few twists to give it a re-working. Keep the jeans and shoes the same, but swap out the black top for a white one instead, adding more of a cool tone vibe to the outfit.

A light denim jacket is a versatile staple that can be thrown over a variety of outfits to help pull it together and give it a relaxed finish. Dress up the outfit with minimal accessories like a simple beanie or slim line watch, and if you want to add some more dimension to your look, cuff your black jeans to reveal a clean band of colour.

Black Suit Brown Shoes

When it comes to suits there’s a general opinion that black suits should match with black shoes. This does tend to be the norm, and the combination creates a sleek, uniformed finish that’s great for formal events. If you’re going for a totally clean, smart look, black shoes really are the best option, but if you want to make things a little more casual, brown shoes can help with that.

When it comes to matching a black suit with a brown pair of shoes it’s important that you go with a dark brown, as anything too light is going to create too much of a contrast, causing the outfit to look unbalanced and top heavy. Brown dress shoes come in a range of shades so it shouldn’t be difficult to get your hands on a dark pair, and if you want to add a unique sheen to it, go for one with a reddish tone, or polish it up with some red polish.

Outfits with Brown Boots

With boots coming in so many designs and materials it makes sense that they’re one of the more popular footwear options. You can easily transition certain boots into both casual and formal looks, with designs like Chelsea boots easily working for both styles.

If you’re going for a casual look you can easily let your boots do the talking, ignoring the rules applied to the suits and opting for a light brown pair of boots. This striking contrast between the jeans and the boots ensures that the look stays laid back and un-uniformed. Suede is a great choice for this kind of look, as its subtle finish keeps the overall outfit casual and laid back.

You can then tone down things a little by keeping the top half simple and versatile, with something like a casual shirt. Finish off with a pair of sunglasses to add some further dimension to the look, and you’re all set.

For a more formal outfit opt for a shined leather rather than suede, to gain a more classic, polished look. You can go for the ever versatile Chelsea boots, but a good pair of lace ups will work as well, giving a traditional textured look to your outfit and working well with the rest of your more simplistic look.

Pair your black or brown boots with standard slim fit trousers and a close fitting black overcoat or suit jacket, keeping the cool clean and balanced. A white shirt is standard combination with a black suit, so you don’t need to go overboard, and you can get away with keeping things simple. This is a great outfit for smarter work days, where you need to look sharp, but not overly restricted.

How to Care for Your Brown Shoes

So if you’re still reading you should hopefully be convinced that the whole black trousers brown shoe thing is a good idea. If that’s the case then it’s probably a good idea for you to know how to take care of your versatile brown shoes. Whether they’re suede or leather your shoes need specific care to ensure they look their best.

Brown Leather Shoes

Obviously the best way to keep leather shoes looking their best is to treat them with a good polish. Shoe shining booths are pretty much extinct, so it’s time to grab a rag and do it yourself. With leather shoes, certain polish can go a long way with not only caring for them, but also subtly changing their appearance. A red shoe polish can add a reddish tinge to a dark brown pair of shoes, while giving them a high shine finish. Before you do that though, run through these simple steps.

    • Wipe down your leather shoes with a damp cloth to get rid of the worst of the scuffs and stains.
    • Once the shoe is dry, grab your polish and add a little to a rag, then begin applying it to the shoe in circular motions.
    • Let the polish dry then finish off with a polishing brush for a high shine.

Brown Suede Shoes

Suede shoes can be tricky to care for, with their aversion to water and textured finish, and so prepping them with a shoe protector can save you a whole load of time and stress. This spray layers a protective coating over your shoe which helps repel water and dirt when it tries to make contact with your precious footwear. Ideal for most materials, but especially suede, it’s a necessary item when you’ve made an investment purchase. If however it’s too late for that and you need to clean up some suede shoes, here are the steps to take.

  • First brush off any dry dirt with a soft brush
  • A suede eraser can get rid off simple stains, and a nail brush can get rid of harsher ones.
  • Always give your suede shoes a burst of protective spray after you’ve finished cleaning them.

How to Wear Black Trousers with Brown Shoes

  • Darker shades of brown tend to be more formal, while lighter shades are more casual.
  • Black jeans and brown shoes can create a subtle, relaxed look.
  • Match some slim fit black chinos with some dark brown leather shoes for a formal style.
  • Buff leather shoes with a good polish, choosing a red one for a unique tone.
  • Use a brush or eraser for brown suede shoes.

On That Note

So brown shoes are generally pretty versatile pieces, and you can easily pair them with a variety of black trousers changing up your overall look with different styles of shoes. Loafers are great for summer suits, or casual looks, where as Chelsea boots are perfect for both formal and more laid back outfits because of their sleek, minimalist style.

Keep your shoes looking their best with proper care, using the right polish on your leather footwear, and investing in a shoe protector spray for your suede shoes. If your shoes look good then the rest of your outfit will follow, and you can create a combination that works for your budget and your personal style.

Feature image from Pinterest

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