Suiting up is an art form and creating true beauty in your ensembles comes down to perfecting the details. Your accessories should never be an afterthought. Matching your belts and shoes with your suits is essential to putting together an outfit which is coordinated and classy. In this primer, we’ll explore how you can match your shoes and belts with your suit colors to create stunning outfits effortlessly.
First off, let’s address whether belts are an accessory or necessity – they should never be the latter. Suit pants and trousers should sit on your waist comfortably regardless of whether you wear a belt or not.
So how do you start matching your belts with your suits? It’s quite straightforward – coordinate them with the color and finish of your shoes. For instance, if you’re wearing brown wingtips or monk straps, sport a brown belt. When you wear a pair of black oxfords, opt for a black belt. Take your style nous up a notch and match your shoes’ color with your suit buttons as well.
Dress Vs Casual Belts
You’ll need to learn how to differentiate between dress and casual belts to create outfits appropriate for each occasion. If the buckle is large, unique in design and has Mickey Mouse on it, that’s a casual belt. On the other hand, the typical dress belt will usually have a simple design and a wide, single plain buckle.
The first fail-safe guideline for matching your belts with suits is to keep them color coordinated. Too much disparity between the two colors will create a stark visual interruption. Gray suit? Black belt. Navy Blue suit? Rock a deep shade of brown on your belt and shoes. Keep it uniform and clean – choose a single-color leather belt with either a plain silver or brass buckle.
While black suits and black shoes is a safe option, you’ll have to be bolder to be a true gentleman of style. There will certainly be exceptions to the guidelines that we’ve listed below but for the most part, follow these tried and trusted color codes.
1. Black Suits
Black suits are just not that flexible when it comes to matching footwear. Stick with black shoes and a black belt. Don’t pair them with burgundy, brown or maroon shoes since these will throw off the look of your suit.
2. Navy Blue Suits
Pair your navy blue suits with shoes in black, brown, red or deeper shades of burgundy most of the time. If you’re dressing for a formal business setting, black shoes (and belts) are the best bet for your navy blue suit. Black braided loafers are a fantastic, dressier choice while oxblood monkstraps will really up your style game.
3. Medium & Light Gray Suits
Light gray suits are especially versatile for you to experiment with. We still recommend black or brown leather for formal occasions here since you don’t want to create too much of a contrast. Black oxfords will really bring out the other aspects of your suit without standing out – this is exactly what you want.
4. Brown Suits
Brown suits harmonize well with brown, burgundy and tan footwear. Here’s a rule of thumb: the color of the shoe leather should be darker than the color of the suit to create an appropriate visual contrast. You don’t want too much attention to be drawn towards your feet.
5. Charcoal Grey
A firm no for charcoal gray suits is pairing them with brown shoes. They look painfully out of place. Instead, opt for plain black once again for most business settings. If you’re dressed for a more casual occasion, deeper shades of burgundy will look elegant yet seamless with your suit.
It’s summer and your khaki suit is begging to see daylight. Pair it with anything but black – this will draw too much attention towards your feet. Tan, brown and burgundy are all safe yet chic options.
Take liberty with your shoes and belts and find what works for you. If you’re new to the game, the tips above are not convention defying, but they’ll nevertheless get you looking sharp and well put-together. Follow these tips and you’ll have your accessories bringing up the finer aspects of your suits in no time.