We often ask this question when choosing a new, elegant footwear. The answer is not simple, it all depends on the type of suit, its colour or even the circumstances in which we put on a suit. Among the many types of formal shoes, two deserve special attention. These are shoes with a closed upper often called “oxford” or shoes with an open upper – a “derby“. Among the experts of men’s elegance, “derby” shoes are considered less elegant than “oxfords”, which is why they are suitable for less formal, casual outfits, sports suits and even denims. “Oxfords” is the first league among men’s shoes. Irreplaceable on the parties, balls and weddings. This is a timeless style that was created in the early nineteenth century on the British Isles and its name owes to the famous university city. The popularity peaked in the 20s of the last century and became a synonym of elegant footwear. Among this type of footwear we can distinguish several subtypes differing in the structure of the upper and the applied decoration. The most elegant is the so-called “wholecut” made of only one piece of leather. Subsequently composed of two pieces “plain toe”, a shoe with a “cap toe” cut-off and usually a richly decorated “wingtip”. If we choose a formal suit, for example when going to a wedding or a party, the best choice are the shoes without additional decorations – eg wholecut or cap toe matching the colour of a suit.

Black oxford shoes

Classic combo – black oxfords with black striped suit

Brown Lindy Hop Shoes

Bold set – brown oxfords with light brown trousers and green dotted socks

How to match colours with a suit?

If we have a black suit, the only right choice is black oxford shoe. Charcoal-colored suits match black shoes, but can be combined with burgundy or dark green shoes – an option for the brave. Grey suits are combined with black, brown, burgundy and green. If your color is brown – we put it together with brown, burgundy or navy blue shoes. The navy blue suit will fit black, dark brown and navy blue shoes. It may also look interesting in combination with burgundy.

Black cap toe oxfords with olive green suit
Dark brown cap toe oxfords with brown tweed suit

What about less formal, sports suits or jackets? Here, the freedom is much greater. First of all, let’s choose less formal footwear – cap toe or wingtip. Both types are sometimes found in two-tone versions – black and white or brown and white. Sometimes there are also more crazy combinations such as blue and burgundy. These types of shoes are most often referred in English as “spectator shoes” or simply two tone. In addition, there may also be decorations consisting of elegant perforations called brogue. That type of decoration can be found in both “wingtips” and “cap toe” shoes.

brown & white spectators with brown tweed suit
brown & white spectators with light linen suit
Al Capone and his crew

Summertime is on, so some choose lightweight linen or linen blend suits in sunny colours – white, beige or sky blue. Here the concern is not to ruin the outfit with too dark foot accent. Avoid the black, hazel and other obscure colour tones. Instead go with white, beige, cognac or bright two toned models to accent the warm and shiny look.