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What Color Shoes to Wear with Grey Suit: A Guide to Looking Sharp

If you're looking to elevate your style game, then a great suit is just the beginning. Achieving a suave and sophisticated look requires attention to detail, from your personal grooming to the shoes you pair with your suit. While color-matching can seem daunting, we are here to help you power up your gray suit game with the perfect shoes.

Before you start picking out shoes, there are a few things to consider. The occasion, time of day, shade of gray, and belt color all play a role in determining the best shoe choice. Once you've taken these factors into account, you can explore the best gray suit and shoe combinations, from classic black to trendy white and everything in between.

What to Consider Before Picking Shoes for a Gray Suit

Occasion

Before you start to think about matching your shoes to your gray suit, it is important to consider the occasion you will be attending. The formality of the event will determine the style of shoes and accessories that will be appropriate. Generally, the darker the gray suit, the more formal it is. Charcoal gray suits are perfect for formal occasions such as business meetings, evening events, and formal weddings. On the other hand, pale gray suits are more casual and are suitable for outdoor weddings, hot weather functions, certain forms of business casual, and daytime wear. For more formal events, plainer and more formal styles of shoes are recommended, while more personalized and less formal shoes can be worn for more casual events.

“No Browns After 6pm”

The saying “No Browns After 6pm” is still relevant in menswear. Brown shoes are traditionally worn for daytime events, so if you are attending an event that is in the evening or set to go into the evening, black shoes are the traditional option. Keep this in mind when picking out shoes for your gray suit.

The Shade of Gray

Gray is a spectrum that can be divided into three main categories: light gray, mid gray, and charcoal/dark gray. It is important to consider the undertone of the gray suit as well. Undertones are warm, cool, or neutral and can affect the overall look of the outfit. Ideally, all items in an outfit should have the same undertones. When pairing gray suits with brown shoes, it is important to match warm shades with warm tones and cool shades with cool tones. This will ensure that your outfit looks great together and does not clash visually.

Belt Color

Your belt is an essential part of your outfit and should match your shoes exactly. If you are struggling to find a matching belt, consider pants designed for no belt. However, if your suit pants have belt loops, you will need to wear a belt. If you only have one belt, then wear shoes to match it. It is important to remember that your belt and shoes should always match to ensure a cohesive and polished look.

By considering the occasion, the shade of gray, and the belt color, you can confidently choose the perfect pair of shoes to match your gray suit. Keep these factors in mind and you will be sure to make a stylish statement wherever you go.

The Best Gray Suit and Shoes Combinations

The Type of Shoe

When it comes to selecting shoes to complement your gray suit, it's not just about the color, but also the shoe design. Formal events, such as those held in a strict office, ballroom, or high-end luxury restaurant, call for appropriate dress shoes. The Oxford is a timeless and elegant choice that can take you almost anywhere. Derbys are similar but are strictly for smart-casual wear. Flashier dress shoes, such as the Monk Strap and Double Monk Strap, can work with many sartorial looks, but they need a bit more consideration because of their ostentatious design. They are best suited for formal occasions where a little ornamentation or personalization is appropriate. Loafers, Chelsea boots, and other dress boots are perfect for true smart-casual wear, but they are never appropriate in formal settings. Sneakers, no matter how expensive, are always a casual-only look and an unusual one at that.

Light Brown Shoes

True "light brown" shoes are typically tan, cognac, and similar shades with cool undertones or a true neutral undertone. Light brown shoes are not appropriate for formal looks. They pair best with a light gray suit for elegance and a powerful first impression. These shoes are perfect for daytime socializing and outdoor events, including weddings. They can also make a great smart-casual business alternative to give you some options, but they are not suitable for interviews and strictly formal work occasions.

Dark Brown Shoes

Dark brown shoes are the most versatile combination with gray suits, suiting both light and dark grays equally. They are always appropriate in smart-casual settings and can also work well in most formal settings. The darkest browns look best with charcoal, and a slightly lighter shade pairs well with mid-grays. Cool-toned mid-gray suits, such as pewter and steel, look exceptional with this pairing and can elevate the suit color magnificently. This combination is perfect for an office day and an evening dinner later, as well as for weddings with ambiguous formality, conferences, and any kind of evening social event.

Black Shoes

Black shoes make a great default choice when you're feeling uncertain about your outfit. Because they are on the same monochromatic spectrum as gray, it is very hard to go wrong with this combination. While they may not be your most adventurous option, they will nearly always be appropriate for any occasion. A crisp charcoal suit and black shoes will always radiate power and elegance, making this combination perfect for business professional attire and highly formal events. Light gray suits also work with black shoes, although the results can be a little drab. Typically, lighter grays work better with the brown spectrum. But if you don't have a good brown match, black makes a safe retreat and will not look ugly or wrong.

White Shoes

For more fashion-forward men, a pair of crisp and ultra-clean white sneakers can be used in a range of casual settings for a relaxed and modern feel. However, they will never be appropriate for formal looks. Your gray suit will need to be as casual as possible to match this tone. So, these are only really appropriate with light gray. Consider using white shoes to play up the advantages of a casual linen gray suit. Additionally, consider saving this combination for gray suits (or stand-alone pants) with cuffed hems, both to show off the sneakers and play up the informality of the look. This combination could work well at a beach wedding (if the guests are still expected to wear suits at all) and would make the perfect "smart man about town" vibe, but keep it for these sorts of casual events.

Oxblood Shoes

Oxblood is the term used for a mid-to-light-toned brown shoe with heavy red undertones, and burgundy shoes fall into this category. These shoes are a very "snappy" dressing option and are suitable for a range of occasions. They pair well with a light gray suit but can also work with a darker gray suit. Oxblood shoes are a great way to add a pop of color to your outfit without being too flashy. They are perfect for weddings, business events, and other formal occasions. Oxblood shoes are also a great option for those who want to add a touch of personality to their outfit without going over the top.

Remember, when it comes to accessorizing your gray suit, the fit is the most important factor. A well-fitting suit will enhance your style and give you the confidence you need to make a lasting impression. By following these basic guidelines, you can hit the ground running when it comes to picking the right shoes to go with your gray suit, no matter the occasion.

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