Short answer: yes, you can wear black pants and brown shoes together, but keep a few things in mind. Brown shoes elicit more personality and modern sensibility than standard black shoes but still look professional and appropriate for the workplace.
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However pairing brown shoes with the rest of your wardrobe can be tricky, especially with black.
While browns are neutral, there are many different shades and hues. They don’t naturally harmonize the way a blue suit and brown shoes do or match the way black pants and black shoes do. Here are four rules for how to pair them.
Rules for Better Black Pant and Brown Shoes Pairings
1. Avoid the Near-Match Clash of Dark Brown Shoes.
Ever wear two colors that are almost but not quite the same? It instantly makes an outfit look sloppy, no matter how well-put-together the rest of the look is.
Unfortunately, this applies to shoes as well. Dark brown is nearly black, but not quite. Pair your dark brown shoes with blue pants instead.
2. Focus on Contrast With Lighter Brown or Tan Shoes.
This is a good time to bring out lighter brown or dark tan shoes. They show that the pairing is intentional, not that you got dressed in the dark and didn’t notice.
This can also be a good way to break up the standard black shoe, black pants monotony. Look for cognac, tan, or camel browns.
3. Consider the Occasion and Keep it Casual.
A general fashion rule of thumb is the lighter the shoe, the more casual. Brown shoes give your outfit an informal feel so play that up rather than try to force the look to be formal.
4. Match with Brown Accessories.
To further reinforce that the black/brown pairing is intentional, consider pairing your brown shoes with matching leather accessories. Adding a matching brown watch band, belt or bag will tie the look together.
According to Primer Magazine, cufflinks and tie bars are also some accessories that will elevate your outfit. Pay attention to details and consider adding a pocket square too.
5. Wear Brown Shoes With a Navy Shirt.
The look of black pants with brown shoes will look incredible if you pair it with a navy blue or a white shirt.
These are all in the same color palette and will make the entire outfit look intentionally stylish.
If you are worried about your navy blue shirt clashing with your black pants, don’t be. It’s widely accepted that navy blue and black go perfectly together.
A Fashionable Pair: Brown Shoes and Black Pants
It’s possible to pull this off. Lots of men choose to wear brown shoes with grey pants or navy blue ones.
But if you want, you can wear them with black pants too. Just follow the simple tips in this article and you’ll always look dapper!