How To Match A Blue Suit With Brown Shoes In Style

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by  Dean Stephens | Last Updated: 

Is there any men’s style combination with more instantaneous appeal than that of the blue suit / brown shoes?

It’s the gin and tonic of modern fashion. With good reason.

The blue suit falls a long way away from the somber tones of the black or even dark gray suit. It provides a touch of modernity and a pinch of adventurousness, all while maintaining a professional air.

A slight sidestep from the more traditional navy suit, the blue suit is a formidable force in the new generation of office style.

Pairing a blue suit with brown shoes portrays a classy yet playful appearance. With many options available for customization through varying tones, the combination affords any guy the opportunity to step up his fashion game.

The look is very much in, and with the right accessories, and a little care and attention to tones, you too call pull it off.

This guide is for you if:

  • You’re looking for a new combination to spice up your professional or casual wardrobes, or
  • You’d like to learn more about matching a blue suit with brown shoes, or
  • You want an alternative option to the navy or other classic suit and shoe colors, or
  • You’re a dude who loves suits and nice shoes.

Still with us? Let’s get to it.

Why Match a Blue Suit With Brown Shoes?

Man in blue suit with brown shoes tieing shoelaces

A blue suit with brown shoes allows you to show off a slightly more casual look in an understated way.

It’s a look that is more contemporary than traditional shoe colors allow.

Black dress shoes are a business-wear staple, but tend to be more formal. Reserve them for funerals, serious occasions, or more conservative offices.

Beyond the situational issues, black shoes can, in fact, look slightly odd when paired with some shades of blue, potentially clashing more than they complement. 

Bear in mind that your choice of brown shoe color will depend entirely on the shade of blue you choose for your suit.

Pick your suit first and the shoe second.

How Do You Pull Off the Look?

Blue suits have the advantage of a wide-ranging spectrum of tonality. They vary from light to dark hues and color temperatures.

The standard-setter is the blue suit below. This color is incredibly versatile, and will work all season round for all manner of occasions.

With great versatility comes great responsibility. If you’re shopping for the office, ensure that you’re impressing and not blinding people with an “electric” blue (or bright colors similar to these).

The “powder” blue also looks fantastic but similarly may not suit more traditional office cultures.

With the blue suit, we’re diverting from the traditional but not from the professional. Stick to the classics and leave those more startling colors for special occasions like weddings, cocktail parties, and the races.

Color of Shoe

So, you’ve settled on a classy blue suit. Now you need to find you a brown shoe to match.

The addition of the brown shoe to your wardrobe can really blow the cobwebs away from the stuffy, typical style served up by the plain black shoe.

It also adds versatility. The brown shoe is the staple of the business casual look and can be included as a base for many other dress codes.

Brown shoes range from dark to almost burgundy in color, and in material from leather to suede. Styles such as the brogue will stand out more than others.

It’s worth repeating that your color and choice of shoe will have a dramatic influence on your overall style.

Brown Shoe Color Examples


Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Types of Brown Shoes

Formal Brown Shoes

Sometimes, it can be hard to judge a situation from afar, and you can end up looking more, or less, formal than is appropriate. If you’ve made the decision to forego the black shoe, the next best thing is dark brown.

A worthy substitute to black, the dark brown holds up in its own right and provides a nice change of pace for a busy office life. Something like a dark chestnut can cover you in most situations and will give you the confidence to carry your look off in even the most traditional of boardrooms.

These dark brown shoes work best in formal situations, and with the right accenting (a little light red somewhere else on the outfit say, a pocket square or thread/lining) will really help this blue suit / brown shoe combination come into its own.

Our picks:

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Casual Brown Shoes

For more casual affairs, say a client lunch or a night out at a bar with friends, then you can go opt for more flair with the mahogany/dark red shoe.

This immediately strikes a more relaxed and playful tone.

Lighter colors such as tan also work well for more informal affairs.

Another modern option is to do away with the socks and wear a loafer under a shortened trouser leg.

It’s not office-appropriate, but can look fantastic when done correctly.

Our picks

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When Should You Wear the Blue Suit / Brown Shoes Combo?

Attractive man in blue suit and white shirt at the beach

As mentioned, the blue suit with brown shoe combination is entirely work-ready, but also an adaptable combo that can be worn for pretty much any occasion.

Except hiking. Or snorkeling. 

In all seriousness, it is an immediately more modern choice than the traditional hues.

The shade of blue suit will depend on the nature of the work you do. A darker blue, more akin to navy will never find itself standing out. Similarly, a ‘charcoal’ or ‘gray’ suit are the stalwarts of your wardrobe.

These represent ‘safer’ choices compared to a blue suit and are a great choice if you’re starting out building a suit collection, as discussed in our post detailing the things every man should own.

At the Office

If you’re feeling (or working somewhere) a little more casual, you can slowly move up the tones to find something brighter. Light blue or similar is a good impact-maker, but not on a day-to-day basis.

Save anything brighter for special occasions, dinner parties, or left until summer.

Much like the suit, when it comes to choice of brown shoe for the office, the choice and shade of brown shoe will depend entire only the tone you are trying to set.

Some shoe colors and materials will never find themselves out of sorts, but there are a few you would be best to avoid and instead save them for the bars and clubs.

Navy Blue Suit With Brown Shoes

Man in navy suit with brown shoes sitting on a ledge with a dog

If you’re not entirely convinced by the brighter blue, there’s no shame in opting for a classic navy suit option.

As a darker color, navy tends to have a more classic feel to it and is naturally more suited to winter months.

The navy suit is a universal staple of men’s fashion and is a subtle, yet effective step away from the oppressively bleak black.

It also bypasses a more stilted dark gray, all the while maintaining a certain timelessness.

Why Combine a Navy Blue Suit With Brown Shoes?

A navy suit with brown shoes immediately relaxes a traditionally formal look.

Remember guys, less formal is not always necessarily a bad thing.

Rather than relying on the immediate striking effect of the blue suit, a navy suit is actually complimented quite well by brown shoes, which will make it seem warmer by comparison.

The whole effect is one of subtle style, rather than the head-turning show-stopper.

How to Combine the Look

Again, the common wisdom that prevailed with the blue suit is applicable here.

Dark brown provides your style with an air of professionalism that remains appropriate for a formal office. It suits those who are looking for something more classic yet modern at the fringes. It also suits those not interested in weighing up various shoe options with the tones of a blue suit.

As with the blue suit, the lighter browns, ranging even into the burgundy shoes can be worn too, and once again they strike a more casual, relaxed tone.

Our picks:

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Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When Should You Wear a Navy Suit With Brown Shoes?

Navy suits can be comfortably worn on a range of occasions.

From very formal ‘black tie’ events to a relaxed business casual affair, paired with tan chinos. Navy blue suits also work well with a ‘pinstripe’ styling for those looking to add a touch of classic flair.

For choice of shoe, navy suits are equally adaptable as blue suits, and in fact, lend themselves naturally to the black dress shoe.

Blue Suit With Black Shoes

Man in blue suit with black shoes sitting on a stool

With all of this talk about brown shoes, you might be on the verge of dispensing with all tradition and banishing your black shoes right to the back of your wardrobe alongside your NBA trading cards.

Fear not. The black shoe hasn’t gone anywhere. It isn’t ‘out’, and it likely never will be.

Mainstays of tradition will be happy to know that while brown shoes run a whole modern gamut of situations—situations which grow broader and broader as office dress codes relax, they will never truly be universal.

The black shoe holds that accolade, and sometimes perhaps too well, at the expense of some personality.

A blue suit, which as we all know by now is a new classic, carries off the black shoe rather well when paired with more subtle, darker tones.

Go with this combination for formal business dress and more serious occasions. A brown shoe, while being entirely versatile, never has the stark unification that black provides, which instead is always a striking monotone.

While the blue suit provides customization, the black shoe shows that you’re a man with respect for tradition and the confidence to resist emerging trends.

Our picks:

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Style ‘Capsule’ and Being Ready for Anything

Whatever combination you’re looking for, blue suit with brown shoes, navy suit with brown shoes, or blue suit with black shoes, it is always a good idea for a stylish man to have an office-appropriate ‘capsule’ of clothes.

By this, I mean that one should aspire to have a small series of suits, shirts, and shoes, that can be mixed around for the maximum customization.

Surprisingly, it requires a minimal amount of clothes to have a wide variety of combination options. In fact, you’ll be off to a good start by putting together the styles discussed in this article.

Check out this fantastic video by Antonio from RMRS for further guidance:

Bringing It All Together

In choosing to wear a blue suit with brown shoes, you’re buying into a modern, sleek look that is office-ready, but versatile enough to be a fit for more casual affairs.

That same blue suit with black shoes strikes a note of formality and tradition.

The navy blue with brown shoes combo is ideal if you want to modernize or dress down your look while maintaining a timeless style that looks fantastic regardless of your age.

Whatever your choice, the standard wisdom prevails when constructing suit and shoe style. Avoid cheap or (usually) shiny materials, steer clear of clashes in shirt combinations, and always match the color of your belt with that of your shoes.

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