How To Match While Wearing Formals

Most people will tell you to wear brown shoes with brown belts or black shoes with black belts, which is correct. But is that the entire story?


So, there are some ground rules that you should abide by. First, let us get those out of the way. Brown with brown, black with black. If you are dressed formally:

  1. Pair your leather belt with leather shoes.
  • Shoes in black leather with belt made of black leather.
  • Shoes in brown leather with belt made of brown leather.

Shades of brown can vary, so get as close as you can.


So we have established that deciding which belt to wear when dressed formally is simple. What about casual attire? Or when you do not have on brown or black shoes? So, what kind of belt do you wear? And what is the best belt material for a casual outfit? All excellent questions. Let us get started.


1. When you are dressing casually and trying to figure out what belt to wear or how to match it, keep these three guidelines in mind.

2. When dressing casually, match your belt to the rest of your outfit.

3. Any shoes or outfits on the black/white scale go with a black belt, which essentially means that white shoes, light grey shoes, dark grey shoes, and black shoes go with a black belt.

A brown belt goes with any shoes or outfits with dark and vibrant tones of navy, dark green, dark purple, or warm, fall tones of brown, burgundy, tan / cognac, rust orange, or mustard yellow.

As you can see, the rules of matching your belt to your shoes, or belt matching in general, are less strict when it comes to casual outfits. It is more important that your belt complements the rest of your outfit. In general, after considering your entire outfit, guidelines 2 and 3 should cover the majority of the bases.

If you are wearing black shoes, you are almost certainly wearing a black belt. In most cases, if you are wearing white or grey shoes, a black belt will suffice.

Maybe you have an olive or navy belt, or a multi-colored belt… how would you pair these with your outfit?

Consider the concept of menswear neutrals first. It will work if your outfit is mostly menswear neutrals and your belt is also menswear neutral.

Consider Rule 1, which was mentioned earlier in this article. You want to match the belt to the rest of your outfit.

Even if your belt is the only thing that stands out in your outfit, and it is a bright color that is not a menswear neutral… that is fine! It will work. If you have a multi-colored belt, such as the blue and red striped belt, make sure the rest of your outfit is menswear neutral. If you are wearing a lot of different colors and prints, a multi-colored belt will look terrible unless done perfectly.

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