Black suede shoes, and cream knitwear

Friday, May 20th 2016
||- Begin Content -||

Yesterday's post raised a few questions about other aspects of the outfit - specifically the black suede shoes and cream-coloured cardigan. 

I think it's interested to discuss both together, for stylistically they have many things in common. 

Black suede shoes

I'm a fan of black suede shoes for their rarity. You see very few people wearing them, and the light-sucking texture of suede is rather unexpected. 

For that reason I think they work particularly well with smarter outfits than the one I was pictured in yesterday. For example a navy jacket, grey flannel trousers and open-necked white shirt is a great office combination, with black suede adding that touch of character. 

However, their applications are relatively limited beyond that. They are surprisingly striking (given their dark uniform colour), and I find I only wear them with such formal outfits or other, relatively monotone ones.

Grey jacket and cream cardigan

The cream cardigan is similar.

It is from Drake's - their sleeveless model - and I slimmed down the fit myself a little by sewing up the side seams. I love it. 

But again it is surprisingly striking, given it is not patterned or particularly bright. It stands out perhaps for being unusual, and pale, and I find I only wear it with quite simple outfits - usually involving grey jacket or trousers. 

By contrast, the navy and biscuit-coloured versions get worn all the time. To the extent that the navy is getting a little ragged. (But then I like that in knitwear...). 

Both are worth exploring, but in their way are as expressive as yellow socks or a bright-green handkerchief.

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkfman

grey lamlana cloth

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Drake’s knitwear is made by William Lockie so you might just as well buy them with the original label at a better price. A Hume has the full range.–Merino-Wool-and-Camelhair/William-Lockie–Leven-2-Ply-Lambswool-Cardigan-/p-88-112-251/


These last few articles on colour and combinations have been fantastic .
As much as we like your high end stuff it’s these articles that apply across the board and within everyone’s reach .
Also, the new site design is brilliant , works a treat on mobile devices and takes the site up another notch .
Well done , Simon!


Got to mirror this sentiment!

Peter B

Hello Simon, I have what I think is an interesting question (at least to me it is). We all know navy is the smartest colour, but why?
I have always agreed with the notion, and thus not questioned it. Given your considerably more extensive knowledge on menswear perhaps you can answer this (or ask G. Bruce Boyer, who I hear is a reader – congrats!).


Hi Simon,
You are right about the rarity of the black suede. Indeed, they could add a touch of sharpness to an outfit. But being less versatile than other colors, I personally avoid them.
As to your cardigan, I wonder whether one couldn’t also use it as you once did with your odd waistcoat, yet worn with a navy blazer instead of a suit for evening events, for instance.
See here:
Wouldn’t a cardigan downgrade the formality of the whole outfit on such occasions? I muss confess that I do not like waistcoats.


Hi Simon,

Long time reader, first time commenter here. You said you stitched up the sides of the cardigan, how did you do that? I have a sleeveless cardigan that is slightly baggy that I would like to do the same to.




That would be fantastic – being a fairly slight bloke I find even size XS (knitwear in particular) leaves too much room around the middle. Thanks also for running such a great resource – it’s such a handy reference!


I strongly disagree. The only proper suede shoes are a shade of brown; cream and black — NO and finally cardigans should not be worn under a suit or sport jacket.

Nick Inkster

Black suede, normally with a crepe sole, shoes are pretty common attire with a suit in Paris. Have a look next time you are there.


The crepe sole lends to such an outfit – no matter how smart the suit is – its casualness.


Hi Simon

What are your thoughts on wearing black suede chukka boots in a more casual setting? I’ve got my eye on the C&J Tetbury boots.


I like black suede, as you say it is something slightly different but still quite formal and you can wear with a wide range of outfits. I tend to wear mine with grey flannels, a white shirt and a black knitted tie. but also wear with jeans. They do need to be a simple and clean shoe though.

I wear a lot of cardigans, and have the same issue as you, I am reasonably slim so find a lot of them a bit bellowy to wear with formal wear.


Hi Simon
Thanks for the great website and your ongoing contribution – I sometimes wiince on your behalf at some of the comments although it is the Wild West Web and you can’t please all the people etc
Regarding this post I wanted to ask two specific questions – as well as the headlines aspects of cream knitwear, black suede shoes and jacket, a lower key element that makes this look work so well is the shirt, so may I ask:
– do you have your open neck/no tie shirts specifically tailored such that the collar stands so well, or is it a regular shirt for use with tie shirt, and what therefore is the collar style and cut please?
– one of the challenges with open neck no tie is how open – just a top button open can be a bit snug/tightly wound whilst two open buttons can look all too much and on certain shirts the midpoint is ideal – which you appear to have achieved – if so how? I know that in the US one organisation is selling a form of gel tabs that are hidden which allow this to be perfected – not sure if you have seen them?
Getting an open neck shirt to look just right is not easy – yet you have it spot on here – so any help you can provide would be most welcome – thanks in advance


Simon, I agree that black suede is awesome but not that versatile. How about green suede? At least i think green suede is okay with pants of grey and beige colors? Check out the shade of green in the link below:


Thanks Simon! Why isn’t it a good idea to pair with suits?


Hi simon, on the topic of black suede loafers (like sagan in black suede? is it possible to wear them without black up top (e.g. black rayon shirt etc.)? Certain outfits I have tried (especially casual ones) like a black rayon shirt and a green/olive army chinos at the bottom will look strange with brown suede shoes at the bottom and a black suede seems to fit right in. I’m just wondering if there is going to be much mileage on getting a pair of black suedes at all if something up top always needs to be black.


hi simon I’ve been wearing brown suede loafers for years and i think they are very versatile though a tad boring/predictable now. I find myself trying to wear more black now and i realise black calf loafers looks great in workwear type attires (chambray shirt and indigo jeans). I’m wondering can black suede slippers like baudoins work in more workwear type or high-low combo type attires. If so how would you do it?


Hi Simon, I don’t quite understand why the black suede shoes are striking. I thought ‘black’ matches well with many colours. Could you expand a bit more about it?

Many thanks,


So would you say any shoes (e.g. loafers/boat shoes) in black suede are not that versatile?


Hi Simon, would you wear Edward Green’s Dover in black suede with black jeans and a cold/pale beige or green jacket?

Many thanks,


I see. Do you think this green could be a good shade to wear with black suede?