Should your belt match your shoes? (Or bag)
This question might seem like an easy one, but I do get a lot of comments and emails about it, so I thought I’d lay it out in a post.
No, in short, a leather belt and leather shoes do not have to match. But they should be closely related.
So a mid-brown belt with dark-brown shoes is fine. So is a brown leather belt with suede shoes, even in slightly different shades.
In the images here, I’m wearing a dark-brown woven-leather belt with mid-brown suede loafers. They play perfectly nicely together.
Black shoes and belts, however, are more restrictive.
As there aren’t really shades of black, a brown belt is always going to look odd with black shoes. The brown would have to be extremely dark for that not to be the case.
Always safest to wear black shoes with a black belt, therefore. (Or indeed, given how formal black shoes are, no belt or belt loops at all.)
The only other leathers that black can sometimes work with are shades of grey, or other colours like green and yellow.
I have a gold watch with a pale-tan ostrich strap, for instance, where the light, strong colour of the strap makes it a good accompaniment to suits and black shoes.
When it comes to watch straps generally, the same guidance applies.
So browns in the same family are all fine - in the image below, a brown alligator strap on my IWC Portuguese.
With both watch straps and belts, if the material isn’t leather, there’s no need to worry at all. So belts in a canvas webbing, for example, or Nato straps on watches.
With bags, there is rather more freedom.
If you wear a suit with black shoes and black belt most days, then a black briefcase would perhaps be most elegant. But, if you want something you can also wear with more casual clothes, then go for a dark brown.
Perhaps more important than the colour is to think whether the bag is generally smart enough elsewhere: an attache, briefcase or tote are descending orders of casual, for example.
I have a matte-brown Sac a Depeches briefcase that I happily carry with smarter outfits.
By the way, although I generally dislike belts with suits, I do find I’m wearing them a little more these days - as I move towards more separate suits and trousers.
Although trousers without belt loops will always be smartest, it is nice to use a belt to add a little more interest to an open-necked, jacket/trouser combination. Especially if you feel a pocket handkerchief would be too showy.
The only problem, of course, is then you need two pairs of trousers in every material and colour. So I’ll generally be sticking to beltless for a while.
- Aviator-style glasses from Eyevan 7285 (via Ludovic Lunetiers in Brussels)
- Brown woven-leather belt with brass buckle (vintage, but Drake’s does a good one)
- Unlined snuff-suede penny loafers, Alden (Van last, via Trunk)
- Dark-green chinos in Classic fit, Incotex (also Trunk, though the fit is no longer available - the Regular is close)
- Button-down oxford shirt, made by Luca Avitabile in Permanent Style Oxford cloth (ready-made versions of that coming soon)
- Grey-melange sweatshirt, Merz b. Schwanen (also via Trunk)
Photography: James Holborow, shot at the Billy Tannery
As you’re wearing a fine woven belt in the pictures, I wonder what your take is on finely woven leather shoes? I used to have some dark brown pairs from Italy a couple of years ago, they were very comfortable yet still formal enough in hot weather. One doesn’t see them in London, nor does any of the British shoe brands produce them? Kind of a no-go in the UK?
Yes, I guess the weather has never meant hot-weather shoes like that have ever been a pressing issue. They used to be worn a little, but I guess would seem quite old fashioned now
Interesting. I guess that it is a question of taste and budget but I usually commission two pairs of trousers to my suits. One with belt loops but one without. The problem is that I rarely uses the pair with belt loops if it is a smart suit in for example dark navy. But I guess it is easier to remove the belt loops than the other way around.
Yes, good point
Two points on glasses
Firstly – I think one pair is much more permanent and allows a pair to become a part of the wearer, more than this becomes dandyish. My humble view
Secondly (in semi jest)- aviator spectacles? How very hipster meets magnum pi!
Yes, I know what you mean. Personally and professionally I’m always interested in exploring different styles, but I agree – ideally one, perhaps a maximum of two
And yeah, I thought I was so original in getting that style, and then I saw lots of other hipster types wearing them…. Oh well
I wear only one pair of glasses and they have become an essential part of my look. And then there’s the fun of considering a different style when the prescription changes!
Given the smallness of my face I tend to stick with a frame for a long time when I find one that fits and that I like.
While the aviator sunglasses work for you Simon I find these aviator eyeglasses don’t. A narrower and rounder pair would suit your face better. But that’s just my opinion. If you wore these all the time they would just become part of you.
The acetate glasses seem to be similar to P3 frames that are readily available elsewhere – Anglo American 406 etc. You won’t get fussed over – but you won’t spend £1300 pounds either.
There are also plentiful wire frames available, from Algha Works/National Health-style to aviator. I don’t know the cost of the ones featured, so they may be similarly priced.
The notion that one looks better without spectacles is fairly widely held – unless one is trying to look clever or bookish. Viewing oneself in a decent, full length mirror also seems pretty obvious. That said, people buy spectacle frames over the internet, which seems risky even if you can photoshop them on to a picture of your face first.
Thank you. Keep in mind the quality levels here are rather higher. Most of those referenced are handmade
Yes I appreciate they are hand made. However, many will not be able to allocate so much to spectacle frames and similar off the shelf styles might suit their budget. I do understand that this site mostly features high end, more expensive items.
As regards only having one pair of spectacle frames, it is certainly one way to do things. However, with the caveat that all your frames have up to date lens prescriptions, then a selection might be better if you also regard spectacle frames as a style option.
Thank you, yes good points both
Its the bag that I struggle with.
Whilst fashion has moved away from carrying them, or moved to plastic rucksacks, I do still like carrying my notepad, pen, keys etc in an attache/briefcase. I alternate in shades of black/brown shoes through the week but a “matching” briefcase is much more of an investment than a belt and switching cases each morning is more effort than belts.
Its a pity that unlike watch straps there isnt a one size/colour fits all, given its visibility -v- a watch under a shirt, any third option always seem too showy for me.
Match the colour of belts and shoes.
Black is black so that’s that.
Shades of brown don’t matter as they are still brown so they will sit together.
Don’t agonise over trying to match watch straps, bags to anything otherwise you’ll never get out of the house.
I find that burgundy works well as a neutral colour. As does dark green. Cordovan is particularly lovely.
Get an oxblood colored bag. Goes with both well – it’s formal enough for the black shoes and not too formal for the brown shoes.
Or the “London Tan” shade if it’s to your taste, it would interact like Simon’s watch strap in this case.
My struggle with using decent bags/cases (which I do) is finding anyone else that bothers using them. In my work environment it is de rigueur to use one of those very common rucksacks, usually in black, and usually with a company logo indicating that the carrier got it for free.
They are the height of ugliness, especially when you see men (women often care more and give them a wide berth) wearing them on their back over an otherwise decent suit. To say nothing of how a heavy cheap bag can really damage the structure of a well-made jacket.
There’s no accounting for taste I suppose.
In an effort to keep it simple: no belt loops on tailored pants, belts loops for jeans and ‘chinos.’ I subscribe to the philosophy that if a pair of pants are properly tailored, a belt is unnecessary. Not only does beltless look more elegant, smart, etc., I think it – in fact – it is more visually interesting when dressed down casually – particularly in a world where every iGent thinks that a belt is an essential “accessory.”
And I agree with Simon that if an event requires the formality of black shoes, then no belt is desired – hence the reason why I don’t own a black belt, and a “dress belt” is not in my sartorial vocabulary. Limiting my so-called ‘belt-loop pants’ to jeans and chinos makes this an effortless proposition.
I strongly dislike really wide belts, fashion buckles, and bright colours (including white!!!).
Simon, what’s your take on canvas/leather trimmed belts?
I’m not a big fan of canvas belts to be honest, but I can see them working on others – often those that wear much more casual things/workwear
What is an iGent?
A derogatory term for someone that spends a lot of their time posting pictures of themselves in classic menswear. Often with little knowledge or taste
Oh some of them have a lot of knowledge all right. It’s just all in compartmentalised chunks. And they have zero self-awareness.
This business of matching belts, bags, watch straps and shoes, for instance. Men in the City have worn black shoes and carried a brown briefcase for close on a hundred years. And they looked spot on. They also wore brown watch straps and carried black umbrellas.
The Neapolitans have a term for sartorialists who try to look too perfect. Something about sembra nu pupo. Which carries un-PC connotations.
Men desperately need to regain that naturalness in dressing. Not so much sprezzatura, as British self-assuredness. Knowing your place. There’s too much new money in menswear.
Exactly right. Looking far too polished is a really terrible look
It’s thinking along this lines that has led to the abominations of men in skinny jeans with contrived rips up and down the legs.
I don’t know which City you frequent but for the two decades I’ve spent in the City of London brown briefcases are almost never seen. These days your more likely to see electric blue suit, tan shoes and black bag than most other combinations
For the followers that don’t know Italian: Sembra nu pupo: exactly! It means “he looks like a marionette” or, more precisely, “like a male doll”.
I don’t usually wear belts but have become interested in the Drake’s alligator one. How versatile is a piece like this? Can it be work with jeans, chinos and some casual tailoring?
I think it’s too smart for jeans really – definitely slicker than plain leather or suede
I have my bark brown soft leather briefcase. Have never felt its note smart enough, can work on a dress down friday, and I don’t need to move documents etc around. Job done.
Congrats on the Alden’s (they look new!). I picked up the same ones myself when visiting Trunk in London! The beginning of a dangerous Love affair with the brand for me…
On the topic of briefcases, as many people are seeking the impossible perfect answer – I don’t think one should worry too much about matching colours and shades. I own a charcoal patina top-handle and wear it with everything. I’d do the same with a black, brown or navy briefcase if I found one which I loved. Just my two cents!
Nice and useful post. How about a black watch strap (silver and black watch; hence black rather than brown strap) to brown shoes and belt?
Well, personally I’d prefer a brown strap, but it’s not as big or noticeable as belt/shoes
This is one of the best, if not the best, casual looks I’ve seen you in Simon.
Have a nice weekend.
I like the look too but why are the trousers too short?
I think they’ve ridden up a little, they’re not quite that short
It’s good length for the summer and to go sockless with.
Speaking of watches, what are your thoughts on the Apple iWatch? In particular the Hermes version.
I understand the tech appeal, and convenience, but it’s never going to be a dress watch
Interesting. Love the look in the first picture. One thing that I never do is wearing a suede belt with suede shoes.
My watch straps are and have always been in some shade of tan to mid brown: they work for me. No wrist watch with a tuxedo
Personally I like black shoes for walking around a city or town with. They fit in great with asphalt and don’t look like the stuff I avoid stepping in. I’m not a believer that a man should try to get people to look at his shoes. Brogueing, a nice texture like grain or EG Utah or even one of Simon’s perennial favourites black suede shoes all dial down the formality aspects. Plus if i’m not in the countryside walking over grass or mud it just seems pointless.
The longer this site goes on, the more it is becoming the antithesis of ‘Permanent Style’.
‘Permanent Style’ by definition is permanent and represents a strong, individual attachment to a specific way of being – both in terms of look and in the way one lives. It may evolve but the overall aesthetic remains instantly recognisable.
In the beginning, PS respected and reflected that ethos but, somewhat enivitably, it has morphed into a fashion blog advertising brands.
The case in point here are the glasses. Frankly they don’t look remotely correct and are just a nod to fashion.
I think it’s time to reasses because this is becoming less interesting.
Thanks for your views Jason. Personally I think my spectrum has broadened but not shifted nor become more fashion orientated.
This breadth combined with the same objective and substantive approach is something many readers say they value.
Do also bear in mind that I inevitably explore more looks than an individual would necessarily adopt – not everything by any means, but more than a single person, and still far less than is out there, even under a single brand
I think the challenge which Jason raises is a fair one.
PS started as a guide to tailoring, craftsmanship and the like. You wrote partly about technical aspects: construction, technique, tradition, and made useful comparisons between different tailors and styles of tailoring.
Then somehow you ended up writing about “look” as well. People started asking you questions about mixing fabric A with colour B, matching a brown watch strap to blue trousers, and suddenly you are a style guru.
Wearing a blue OCBD with bottle green chinos and brown suede loafers Simon is, frankly, kindergarten stuff.
I really appreciate the way you write about craft and tradition, but don’t think you offer much about style. A lot of the “advice” you offer on the subject is a bit suspect, and given your heritage can be no more than an opinion.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the view Sebastian but I’ve written about style for a long time, and I know many readers really value those points, even if they’re too basic for you
Quite so, Simon, but your style perspective is entirely self taught and can only be of real value for those who simply want to copy what you do or say.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. It’s only my opinion.
Thanks Sebastian. I think I disagree though: everyone’s style is an accumulation of those they see, know and admire. And I personally think the people I’m inspired by (most of whom have appeared on the site over the years, giving those views) are some of the most stylish out there.
And I know many readers take inspiration from what I post, but filter or turn it to their own uses and style.
The last paragraph is spot on.
How ridiculous Sebastian – what else is there apart from self-taught style?
Plus all anyone does is copy others, including Simon, whether peers or style writers.
Self taught as opposed to having undertaken formal study, eg London School of Fashion.
Very rarely comment but moved to do so by the idea that only those who have formally studied fashion are fit to comment on style. Extraordinary! Thankfully Simon doesn’t seem to take such elitist and unreasonable comments to heart
Another thought Jason (and thanks again for stimulating them) is that over time this site has grown from being one quite narrow experience to something with more of the scope of a magazine. But, unlike any magazine, it is always tied around my thoughts, my style and taste. These are all things I actually wear every day; you’d be hard pressed to say that any magazine today even has a central aesthetic, let alone featuring only the clothes of one person.
I think it’s an interesting combination, but always genuinely value the views of readers. Thanks.
True but that’s why fashion magazines aren’t selling and certainly don’t interest me.
Where you go with this is up to you but you refer to the beginning as narrow. For me, it was focused and of interest to those who had long turned their back on the GQ, Pitty Peacock, iGent brigade. It was primarily adding value for folk who new about things.
Ironically, it is now well on the way to morphing into the aforementioned.
It’s probably somewhat inevitable but buying more stuff is certainly not the answer.
Personally I would welcome more focus on providence, quality, how things wear over time etc…
Thanks Jason. That’s certainly something we will always continue to cover
Permanent Style has evolved in terms of amount of content. And this is a good thing. It is one of the many points of reference for many followers, along with the old way of getting inspiration for instance by sitting at a table in a nice coffee shop in Piazza della Signoria and watching people passing by. And yes, everybody copies something they have seen adding their personal touch, including the old time stylish gentlemen (the infamous watch strap over the shirt wrist is not an invention by Gianni Agnelli. It was worn by actor Amedeo Nazzari in a movie and by young upper class kids in the French Riviera. The latter grew up, while Agnelli kept “playing” until he turned 47 and decided that was time to work… just a little).
I very much appreciate the fact that Simon is able and willing to post in his site and very politely reply to such harsh criticism: a real gentleman. By the way Simon, I wrote a few thoughts on the doble-breasted jackets but it hasn’t been posted yet. Cheers?
Thanks Fabrizio, and I’ll check for that comment
Thanks Fabrizio. I can’t find that comment anywhere – would you mind reposting? Sorry
You found it and posted it. Thank you.
I don’t see how how you can divorce the two, technical information on clothes construction and so-called style. Presumably when buying a jacket say as RTW or commissioning a bespoke suit you are automatically thinking about gaps in your wardrobe, what you will pair it with etc. The mixture of the two styles of article is informative and perhaps appropriately adapted but not to be followed slavishly. The points raised in the comments do the same job; not all Simon’s suggestions or that of fellow commentators are to my taste but they are at least interesting to hear.
Style is an elusive, ephemeral quality, which can be analyzed, but is difficult to really pin down – that is why it remains an intriguing subject, and why people continue to read and write about it. And then there is the view that it is innate and cannot really be taught, which I suppose makes reading and writing about style a non-issue.
Let’s remember the year is 2018. The street, the Row, vintage photographs, the way your parents and grandparents dressed, these and endless other influences all contribute to the personal style everyone possesses. Images of all this are instantly available to us both actively and passively, and we also have access to “educate” ourselves online with a modicum of effort.
With regard to your posts on style, Simon, I think they are a great component of your blog. For various reasons both professional and personal, I suppose I could argue that I never need to read a post on style. However, I look forward to your next well-written post on the topic and the opportunity to consider something new.
How do you approach the belt/shoe colour combination of black boots with denim. I have a pair of black G&G Chelsea boots I wear with l dark denim (I dislike boots with suits) but the belt always causes me issue. A dark brown belt (wider jeans style belt) doesn’t always feel right but a black belt can look downright odd and far to formal to go with jeans.
I’d go without a belt I think
Style is interesting.
The line between style and “like” is very blurred.
Preppy is a style. Like a 50’s mobster is a style. Shabby chic is a style. Like a “born to be wild” biker is a style.
The problem, gentlemen, is that you can copy any “style” in the way you choose to dress, but copying it well still won”t stop you looking like a plonker if you don’t know HOW to wear things.
By that definition I’d say I aim not to write about styles but about how to wear clothes
I souldrottningen say that it is not a question. Just stop wearing belts! If you wear trousers that fit you should not wear a belt. Case closed
btw J Fitzpatrick shoes have some braided leather shoes.
not sure if that counts as a British brand though?
Random question regarding RTW casual trousers like the ones pictured here from incotex. I’m finding that so many makers are using fabric blends that contain some kind of synthetic stretch material for their trousers. I’ve always expected this in brands like Jcrew and the like, but I always chalked it up to “you get what you pay for.” Now however, it seems like tailoring houses have jumped on the band wagon for their RTW products as well as other higher quality brands like Incotex.
What are your thoughts on this?
It depends a lot on the amount and the synthetic used. In general I would still avoid it, but that is for a relatively smart trouser. For a casual chino where you’re not concerned about line or drape, it’s a more personal choice. Again, I wouldn’t use it, but there’s far less obviously wrong with it – it’s more about feel
I often wear my sleeves rolled up too, but thought it more “correct” to cuff them three times, so they are higher. Thoughts please?
There is no correct. Generally though, as with most menswear, the more casual and off-hand it looks, the better
Are the green trousers pictured just incotex chinos with turn ups added by yourself?
On the direction of PS etc.; I think it unfair, unreasonable and faintly ridiculous to expect PS to run in a vein similar to that of its inception. We have all evolved in our tastes, experimentation and views as has PS. Moreover we live in a slightly different time than when PS began – fashions, businesses, market offerings have all evolved. In this last point the current status of PS is defined by its evolution. No reasonable person should expect PS to be the same nor focus on their own singular expectation – after all the readership is approximately 300,000 plus. I think Simon does an excellent job of covering the bases moving frequently from high detail to general, more simple articles. One final point: we can all learn more about style but to suggest that Simon isn’t qualified to write on style is so erroneous and without merit that it is a ridiculous statement. For eleven years Simon has travelled to the world’s best clothing, shoe and accessory manufacturers from Cuccinelli to Cleverley in discovery of the world’s best. Supporting the empirical aspect is an Oxbridge education – still the world’s best – allowing for good, well reasoned and thoughful journalism and opinion. I may not always agree with his opinions, nor on all matters sartorial but unlike many Simon will host a discussion even when it is critical. After a decade of reading and following PS – as well as reading widely across other sites- there isn’t anything online that reaches PS’ level.
Very well said Anonymous
First time commenter, so I’d take a sec to express how much I appreciate reading weekly permanent style. The quality of posts is stunning and the advices really valuable.
Now down to my question: what would you suggest to pair with bordeaux shoes (e.g. tassel loafer)?
Bordeaux can mean a few different shades of red – if deep, it’s very versatile and can go with greys and navy. Often not so good with rural colours, brown and green.
Stroner, brighter red is much harder, but can be good with navy still
Apologies, I wasn’t clear enough. The question I meant to ask was what color of the belt you suggest to pair with bordeaux shoes?
Ah, I see. Depends on shade, but black might be ok. Otherwise maybe try to avoid a belt
A related question relating to how to how belts should be worn: How much of the belt tongue should project from the first belt loop after the buckle? I see wide variation, and I’m curious as to what you think looks best?
I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Just enough that the belt doesn’t look too small for you, or too big.
So perhaps, enough so that the whole of the pointed end comes through, but not so much that the end dangles or droops.
Hey Simon what kind of belt would you recommend if I’m looking to pair t-shirt/Oxford shirt with my armoury army chinos? I would assume very casual ones but would suedes or woven ones work better?
Yes pretty casual, I’d go for a woven leather or even woven suede
I’m on the market for a high quality crocodile leather belt. But I’m not willing to buy from one of the fashion houses – I would rather buy from an artisan. I would be willing to travel within Europe. Is there anyone in particular that you can recommend? Many thanks in advance!
Jean Rousseau perhaps?
Hello Simon, it seems like your IWC Portuguese has a missing pusher. Is it the photo or did it just fell off ?
Just fell off… Still meaning to get it repaired
Hey Simon I’m looking to purchase a suede/canvas belt and notice some have silver while others have brass buckles. Is there a difference in formality between the two?
Not especially. The finish (eg antiqued, polished) and leather will make more of a difference. It’s more the fact that some people tend to wear more yellow or white metals
Hi Simon, an off topic but slightly related question: how have you found the Alden loafers after wearing them a bit? How would you rate them against say, a similar unlined Edward Green shoe as to suede quality/make, etc? Thank you very much.
They’re nice, but not really.on the same level as Edward Green in terms of materials or make. Alden is always little rough around the edges
I recently purchased a pair of chinos with side adjusters.Slim fit with a soft washed handle….£149.The alternative Incotex pair were £245.In the end I preferred the former but was puzzled why Incotex are so expensive.What do you think about their cost?Can it really be justified?
They’re certainly good, but it’s a mix of cotton that will last well, nice details, and design. And made in Italy of course
I’m about to buy my first high quality formal briefcase (from Swaine Adeney, Westminster 2 model) and since that will be a large expense for me, I’d like to ask you explicitly for an advice, despite some hints in other readers’ posts above. I have three question:
1. I’m craving for a London Tan colour but I wear mostly black shoes and dark navy suits (and no belts). I see that your pale-tan watch strap can perfectly work with dark colours (charcoal/navy/black) and see no reason why a briefcase of the similar colour could not. What do you think please?
2. I wear only silver accessories (cufflinks, spectacles etc.) and I’d like to choose silverish fittings for my briefcase. Since I see that even on your Hermes dark brown briefcase there is silver hardware, I think that silver with London Tan is no mismatch, would you agree?
3. And to satisfy my curiosity, what is the traditional (English?) way of displaying one’s initials on briefcases, attaché cases etc.? Hidden (under flap, inside the case) or clearly visible when the case is closed and carried?
Thank you very much!
1. No there’s nothing wrong with that, the colour will go fine with black. I’d only question whether it will be quite showy. But that’s personal.
2. Silver can go with tan, yes, though personally I’d prefer brass with that colour. (I’d even go with gold on my Hermes if I could make the choice again)
3.There is no tradition here really, but I’d suggest putting it somewhere hidden, as again it could look a little showy
Hi simon i recently purchased a pair of dark denim jeans and I realised it went perfectly with Oxford button downs and my long neglected black calf Cavendish tassel loafers. I only have a brown suede and canvas belt which seems odd to go with the outfit. Do I strictly need a black belt? And what other suitable options are there?
I think black would be best yes, or just go without a belt. I generally don’t wear them.
I’m thinking about a belt in exotic leather, maybe sharkskin or alligator, for office wear (as opposed to bridle leather, which I would only wear casually). Any thoughts about these materials, and whether something matte but textured, like sharkskin, is appropriate for an office?
As long as the colour and buckle are subtle, I’d imagine it would be fine. But it very much depends on your particular office
I have a couple of questions and therefore approaching you so that you could help me solve it.
1) Can i wear ‘chino’ and ‘jeans’ without a belt?
2) In the first image you are wearing a blue accessory (bracelet) which matches the colour of your shirt and which in my view brings the outfit together. Often times when i am wearing a printed shirt i tend to wear a bracelet which matches the colour of print. ‘So for instance if i am wearing a white shirt with red checks then i wear a red bracelet’. ‘Do you think men can wear colourful bracelets’? I love wearing colourful bracelets but i am not sure whether it is appropriate for a man to wear colourful bracelets and therefore i have come to you for an advice.
1) Yes, though generally jeans are a better look without a belt, having been worn that way a lot. Chinos benefit more from a belt.
2) You’re right, those kind of coloured accessories can work very nicely. However, I wouldn’t start matching them to particular outfits, like earrings. Instead, just wear one piece that you think looks good with lots of outfits, more like the metal of a wedding ring. That might be a friendship bracelet made by your child (like this one) or a proper piece of jewellery
Thanks for the suggestion Simon.
1) If my tailor removes belt loops from chino then would it look appropriate?
2) Would matching a bracelet to a particular item in an outfit come across as too matchy and that is why you are suggesting to avoid it?
1) Yes, though you might need side adjustors added, in case of any small changes in weight and therefore fit. And that’s hard to do if you don’t have the same cloth available
If the same cloth is not available then can some other cloth work?
Do you think it would be so noticeable?
I do not like to wear belts and it just looks a bit off when i do not wear a belt when belt loops are there in trousers.
I think it would be noticeable, yes. Sorry
Highly appreciate your help.
I want to ask one last question on this topic so that i have a clear perspective on the issue regarding belts and it would be very helpful if you could advice.
Do you think going without a belt when belt loops are available look odd for chino?
Would it give out a feeling that i forgot to wear one?
I don’t think it would give that impression for most people, no. But personally I think it looks better with a belt
I want to get a woven belt to pair with dark brown suede shoes casually with chinos,cotton trousers.
I have a watch with silver case. Does it matter if the buckle of the belt it’s gold?
As for colour,I am thinking at cognac colour rather than dark brown .
Also one belt it’s 3.5 cm and another it’s 2.5 cm. Does the width between the two matter so much or it’s just personal preference. I do like the smaller width.
No, it doesnt really matter if the watch case is silver and the buckle gold.
The width is personal preference really. Perhaps thinner is a little smarter, but it’s marginal.
But in terms of colour, the cognac belt is better suited than the dark brown?
No, personally I’d go for dark brown. It’s pretty much always more versatile
Question – what kind/colour belt would you suggest wearing with canvas shoes, like Doeks, for example? I have similar style shoes in blue and ecru that I wear with chinos and white jeans from time to time, and would love a bit of guidance on this.
Could a blue or olive colour belt work in this instance? Or is brown a better colour choice?
I like to think with those more casual outfits one can be more adventurous with texture and colour re belt choice.
Look forward to your thoughts. And as always, thanks for your insightful advice.
Ps. I’ve read the post as well as the comments and I don’t think this was raised.
I think you’re right Andrew: with those more casual shoes, you can wear most things as a belt.
The issue with harmonising with shoes only comes up really when the shoes are leather or suede, and so could clash with the belt. Without that, you can wear a range of casual belts, from a plaited leather, to a suede, to a canvas. And most colours too.
Thanks for replying and confirming my thinking! I appreciate it.
Where would blue leather watch strap sit, do you think this could be matched up with brown suede shoes?
My thinking is blue (navy) trouser happily sits with brown suede.
To mix things up, may purchase blue watch but don’t want to limit it wear.
I think blue is so unexpected that it doesn’t really matter what the other colours are. The trouser/shoe example isn’t that helpful.
If anything, a navy strap is more likely to be similar to a black strap, and so go better with black elsewhere. Certainly smarter and darker browns. But as I said it’s not going to look odd, as it’s a different colour entirely.
Thanks Simon. Never really looked at it from that point of view, different colour entirely so doesn’t matter – too hooked up trying to ensure a match.
If anyone else has a thought, or experience, please chip in.
Hi Simon, I’ll digress a bit to a question of matching jewellery, if I may. If a watch and a belt buckle don’t have to match, what about spectacles and other accessories? E. g. watch, cufflinks and rings gold, eyeglasses silver? I’m slowly starting to prefer yellow metal materials, but gold rim spectacles is not something I want pursue, been always wearing silver ones. What do you think? Thanks! John
I’d say the same as with a belt John. They don’t have to match as they’re not that close to each other. The only reason to have the same would just be because gold suits you or your skin more – or indeed the clothes you’re wearing
I was wondering if you could provide some suggestions on matching dark brown woven leather belts with antique brass with shoes? For example, should I wear gold buckled monk strap shoes or a gold watch?
You can wear any shoe that is mid- to dark brown Kwan. Don’t worry about whether the shoe has any hardware, and even if it’s a white metal it’s not really a problem.
I would worry even less about your watch. It’s a long way from the belt and shoes. The only issue to consider there is whether the watch is the same colour of metal as any rings.
Thank you for your prompt suggestion as always!
I hope you are well.
I got a C&J shell cordovan burgundy belt as a present, although I love the colour itself, I am not confident which colour shoes I should wear it with. I assume burgundy shoes would look great to go with, but I don’t have any burgundy dressing shoes. Could you please give me some advice on how I should wear it?
Small differences between belt and shoes are OK, particularly when one is a more unusual colour. I would think black shoes would be OK, possibly very dark brown, and colour 8 cordovan.
Hi, I’m curious about the reverse question and if it would still work the same way. I have some Church’s monk straps in burgundy. I rarely wear them because I while I like how they look, I have a hard time figuring out what to wear them with as I have ventured outside my brown/black comfort zone! Would you recommend a black belt? What sort of colours of trousers would go well with the burgundy?
I don’t really wear burgundy shoes, unless it’s close to the Alden Color 8 – if it’s that dark. If so, it’s great with navy certainly, and even with dark greys. Often with greens too.
As to a belt, I’d go for whichever is closest out of a dark brown and a black. With dark brown as the default if you’re unsure
I’ve just read your post from Wednesday and also this one. If possible, I’d like to ask a few questions to understand your guide.
When wearing casual clothes or jacket + trousers is better not to match shoes and belt. That’s clear but…
1. Can you wear calf shoes with a belt in suede? And viceversa?
2. Should the belt be darker or lighter than shoes?
3. When wearing a suit, should you match shoes and belt? (Well, I know you don’t really wear a belt with suits).
Thank you so much for your help!
I’m not sure you can have read this article that carefully. Could I suggest you have a look again? For example, I don’t say that shoes and belt should not match when you’re wearing a jacket and trousers. That’s incorrect.
On your particular questions:
1 – Yes, as I say here, that’s fine, just keep them roughly in the same area of colour
2 – It doesn’t matter, either way is fine
3 – The same guidance as in the article – keep the two in the same general area. Perhaps, you might want to match more closely with a suit, but even then I would say you don’t want it to look matchy
Hello Simon, I have a chestnut brown derby and currently having difficulties matching the belt colour from my wardrobe. I was wondering which shade of belts you would go with chestnut brown derby?
Anything even vaguely similar to be honest. As explained in this piece, it doesn’t have to be exact by any means
Thanks, Simon. So would you say if any shades within brown would work well? e.g. Dark brown belt with chestnut/beechnut brown or vice versa.
Not a dark brown, but anything you’d call a mid-brown or lighter
Hi Simon.You wrote a few months ago about your growing appreciation for cordovan Color 8, specifically Alden’s shade (which tends to be almost black/purple). What would you suggest in terms of a belt color?
And apologies in advance if I’ve repeated another reader’s question. There a quite a few responses to go through over the last 3+ years so I might have missed it.
No worries Daniel. There are a few comments above that talk about it. A good way to look for these is to do a search on the page (command + F) for the word cordovan, or similar.
I would wear lots of colours of belt with Color 8 shoes – matching exactly is not to be expected and might even appear a bit fussy. I’d suggest black would be fine, as would dark brown. Even something sporty like a webbing / surcingle belt.
As described in the piece, the only thing you want to avoid is something which is obviously completely different
Pls which belt can i wear to this sneakers? Olive or black?
If you don’t mind Fola, what do you think given what I say in this article?
I don’t know cos i have not gotten the time to read the article
Well could I suggest that it’s worth doing that before leaving a question as a comment, given it could already be answered above?
Hi Simon, what do you think about matching the material of the belt and shoes? For instance, would it be acceptable to wear dark brown suede shoes with a dark brown calf/cordovan leather belt?
Yes Jack, I would have hoped that was fairly clear from the piece, sorry if not
Sorry, my fault. It was clearly stated in the third paragraph. Thanks.
Hi Simon,I’ve recently purchased a new Jaeger moonphase reverso in pink gold with a black alligator strap, i’m now conscious that it doesn’t match the more darker brown shoes and belts i traditionally wear. Is the only option purchasing a matching strap or can black be acceptable with darker brown belts/shoes? I’m not even sure anyone notices but I’ve become self aware!!
I doubt many people will notice, no. I’d suggest you try it a few times and see if you feel it is an odd match. If it is, then get a brown strap made – it’s not a big cost compared to the watch
Thanks Simon, I think ultimately I’ll change it. Out if curiosity what is your opinion of Hirsch straps?
I haven’t tried them I’m afraid