How to Match Formal Shoes with Your Outfit This Occasion?

To answer this often asked question, you have to imagine your shoe cabinet as one unique, eclectic family. Each formal shoe has its own personality and that personality comes out shining only if you wear them for the right occasion with the right outfit. Think of it in terms of equations you have among your family members. We all have that one sibling whom we can depend upon in any situation or that one cousin who is too casual to be suited for a boardroom meeting. Similarly, when it comes to formal shoes for men, you have to pick them based on the personality they display and the occasion.

men formal shoes

Types of formal shoes

While occasions may be plenty, there are four main types of formal shoes. It’s essential to understand what these four types are before jumping into deeper details of colour coordination and outfit accessories. So let’s start with a brief chat about these shoes:

Oxford Shoes

This family is made up of five siblings: Oxford, Derby, Brogue and Loafer. Oxford is the classic older sibling that has been evolved and altered into other formal shoe styles. It’s distinctively traditional and streamlined in its construction, allowing itself to be worn in the most formal of occasions, like a black-tie event or the opera. For ethnic wear, black Oxford shoes can make you look very regal when paired with full black velvet jodhpuri suit. Avoid flashy patterns and remember to keep it crisp, as the Oxford does not like to be trifled with.

oxford shoes for men

Derby Shoes

derby shoes

Following close in its wake is the Derby, which many people confuse to be Oxford. However, the Derby differentiates itself with its open-lacing system at the front, as opposed to Oxford’s tightly stitched lacing. Derby is slightly rugged and can most often be seen lounging about in offices during rainy days. You can pair a Derby with suits, however, semi-casual outfits like sports jackets can also look sharp with it. You can take it a step forward and wear a Derby with a simple kurta, topped with a Nehru jacket. Considering how Independence day is right around the corner, this look will earn you some stylish points.

Brogue Shoes

brogue shoes

Next, in line, we have the flamboyant Brogue who is too versatile to be put into any one category. He is what you get when you loosen up the Oxford a little. Brogues are distinctively known for their decorative perforations on the front and sides. Excluding only the most formal occasions, brogues can be worn in most settings, be it a lazy Sunday brunch, a wedding or a night out to a club, as long as your bottoms are tailored. The detailing on the surface makes it unique, while its versatility makes it your best friend. Style a pair of striking brogues with ankle-length tailored pants and a trendy long kurta. You can even experiment with fabrics like brocade to heighten the festive appeal with brogues. You would be surprised how stylish the combination looks.


The loafer is a laid-back younger sibling who should be your go-to shoe for comfortable footwear, especially if you’re traveling. It looks great with denims and pants as well as semi-formal suits and jackets. The adornments on loafers make them look elegant and add a bit of polished charm to the whole outfit. However, a pair of penny loafers can be styled amazingly well with long and short kurtas. With loafers, don’t forget to maintain the skin show near the ankle and avoid slouchy bottoms at all costs.

loafers shoes for men

Colour them right

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s move on to the next stage where we tell you how the colour of your shoes complements the colour of your outfit. Why this is important can only be understood once you read these pointers:

  • Black shoes: Black is a very dynamic colour but these shoes cannot be paired with everything, contrary to popular opinion. Avoid pastels and browns when wearing black shoes. With other colours, carry shades of black through the outfit to make a clean statement.
  • Brown shoes: You can pair them with outfits in shades of tan, brown, beige, orange, green and darker earth tones like rust.
  • Tan/Light Brown shoes: These can be extremely versatile to style and can be paired with shades of blue, beige, lighter tan or white and other earth tones.
  • Cream/Taupe shoes: Best suited with whites, light neutrals, and pastels.
  • White shoes: Work best with light neutrals, brights, and pastels.
  • Grey shoes: Experiment with grey shoes by pairing them with blacks, blues, greys, reds, as well as some purples and yellows.

Other than these colours, you can be bold and experiment with oxblood and burgundy shoes. They go with a variety of shades and make you look trendy and confident in your choices. They are also great for winter/fall seasons. Pair them with shades of navy blues, greys, and browns.

That’s all, folks! We’ve come to the end of this post and hopefully we’ve been useful in your efforts to find the right shoe to pair with your outfit. If you don’t have them already, why don’t you head over to a good e-commerce website and buy men shoes online?