When it comes to khakis it’s near impossible to go wrong with brown shoes. The truth is, they work well with virtually any pant or suit color. However, what happens when you don’t want to play it safe?
“Brian, I bought a pair of really nice black Allen Edmond dress shoes over the weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan out exactly what I was going to wear them with beforehand. I tend to wear khakis often, though, I’ve yet to do so with black dress shoes. Would that combination be a fashion mistake or looking off-putting?”
Summoned up simply: Can you wear black shoes with khakis?
The answer is yes, you can.
Sure, it’s unconventional and a bit out of the norm, when you consider that black dress shoes are generally more reserved for formal wear like the classic black suit or tuxedo. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get away with wearing that combination.
Ps. If you don’t know the difference between Chinos vs Khakis already take a moment to see what sets them apart. The two confuse a lot of gentlemen.
Here are the rules to consider before heading out the door:
The perfect contrasting pair
As your khakis get darker, so does your ability to pull off the look as it gets more difficult. As a general rule, lighter shades of khaki go better with black shoes. Though, that’s not to say you can’t wear black shoes with dark khakis, because you absolutely can.
Now, some gentlemen view this in the opposite regard with darker being better; it’s really just a matter of personal opinion/taste. Yet, there is one thing to consider before jumping to conclusions.
The key to understand here is that white/light khakis paired with black shoes will offer a bold level of contrast. You need to be comfortable with what you’re wearing if you plan on doing that, it’s tough. While, darker khakis paired with black shoes, tend to blend in significantly better making your appearance more toned down. Though, in a sense this creates a problem. You’re losing the great contrast in exchange for two closer, mismatched colors. Needless to say, it’s easy to ruin a good look that way.
Black shoes go best with
If you can, save the black dress shoes for more non-earth tones and austere color choices like grey and charcoal, navy or black. Just consider how brutal wearing the following combination would be: khakis, black shoes and a green shirt. You’ve got so many different things on going on at once; too many.
Remember, at the end of the day your shoes and belt should be doing one job: Acting as an accent to your clothes.
If you do decide to wear black shoes with whatever your heart pleases, at least wear a black belt along with them!
Shoe color aside, there are a few more things I’d like to tell you about.
If you’re going for a classic, business-man look pair your khakis with tassel or martin loafers. You can also throw on some Kiltie oxfords too if you please. Leather cap toe lace-up dress shoes should be reserved for more professional affairs, while penny loafers can be worn alongside any preppy style.