Finding the footwear to match your suit isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
And although there are fewer rules than there used to be where men’s suiting is concerned, it’s still important to make sure your palettes complement one another.
Specifically, whether you should wear black or brown shoes is often the big decision to make.
Traditionally a grey suit is paired with a black shoe, but much depends on the colour found elsewhere in your outfit.
Your shirt, tie and waistcoat are all factors, and each offers an opportunity to add additional colour to your outfit that often dictates the best colour for footwear.
In this guide, we’ll consider the combinations available and help you discover how to strike a winning combination, whether in the office, at a race day or at a wedding.
Grey suit, white shirt
Back to basics, the grey suit and white shirt combination delivers effortless versatility across a range of settings.
Go open collar for a classic office outfit, best paired with a black shoe, or add a red, pink or orange tie to introduce a brown shoe for a look better suited to socialising.
A blue, grey or black tie would best suit a black shoe.
Grey suit, pink shirt
The addition of a splash of colour here means that adding a brown shoe to complete the outfit is possible.
However, it’s important to land on the right shade of pink.
Consider a mid or dark grey and a paler pink to create a traditional wedding look - and add a brown shoe and a tie in crimson to seamlessly pair with a brown shoe.
Grey suit, red tie
As we can see, it isn’t just your choice of shirt colour that influences the shoe you wear.
Your tie colour selection is equally as important and the grey suit-red tie combination is a great place to start.
With a white shirt, this style best suits a black shoe, but if the tie is a brown or deeper shade of red then you may find a brown shoe suits better, especially with a darker grey jacket and trouser.
Grey suit, black tie
The grey suit and black tie are another classic combination that best suits a black shoe.
Consider a skinny tie for a sharp, contemporary look and pair with a silver tie clip to create a high-end outfit that would suit an office environment.
You may experiment with darker and lighter greys for your suit and trouser, with lighter shades typically suiting more social environments.
Grey suit, pink tie
Pair a pink tie with a grey suit to add a playful splash of colour that would suit a brown shoe.
A mid grey suit and warmer pink tie helps you create a look that’s perfect for a wedding or race day.
A lighter grey and lighter pink would work well at a wedding too, although you may find it’s better complemented by a black shoe.
Grey suit, green tie
This is another colour combination that is best suited to a brown shoe, helping to create a look that can turn heads at a wedding or race day.
A mid to light grey and green tie helps create a bold yet versatile outfit, while a darker green woollen tie, paired with a darker grey, offers something a little more understated.
You may introduce a black shoe with a paler green, especially if you match a light grey trouser and jacket with a waistcoat in the same shade.
Grey suit, blue waistcoat
Another way to add an element of colour to your formal outfit is in your selection of waistcoat.
A blue waistcoat provides the perfect complement to a grey suit, with a lighter grey jacket and trouser working perfectly with a dark blue waistcoat to create a traditional wedding outfit with a twist.
A softer blue-grey waistcoat, paired with a light grey jacket and trouser, can add subtle layering to your outfit, especially with a beige tie.
A brown or black shoe could be effective with either of these outfits, with the bolder shades perhaps better suiting a black shoe.
Grey suit, black waistcoat
The final combination on our list is another contemporary classic, and one that’s best paired with a black shoe.
Go open collar, and ditch the tie, for a look that would look great at a summer wedding, or add a grey tie to dial up the formality.
A red tie can add a little vibrance, though a black shoe is still recommended.
As we can see, there are a number of opportunities to add a brown shoe to a grey suit.
Through your shirt, waistcoat and tie, you can add extra colour to your outfit that makes a brown shoe a more natural match.
Monochrome looks, which feature either a black or grey tie, or no tie at all, alongside a black or grey waistcoat, always work better with a black shoe.
But if you are able to build a warmer colour palette, and select a darker grey for your jacket, trouser and waistcoat, a brown shoe can be the perfect match.