Like with any art, you need to know the rules, so you can know when to break them. This applies to the art of fashion and style, which is an essential part of how you present yourself to the world, generally and in personal and professional settings. According to men’s fashion experts, one of the most common questions is about matching belts to shoes. So, let’s dig into the fashion rules about matching belts with shoes and explore when, why, and how to follow them….or not.
3 Tips on Matching Your Men’s Leather Belt with Your Shoes
When it comes to men’s belts, a standard rule of thumb is to match the material of your belt to your shoes. For more formal or professional settings, this always means leather. In more casual environments, you might pair a sports belt made with synthetic fabric with athletic shoes. However, the fashion rules are much looser for casual occasions, and it’s the more formal professional and personal situations where your appearance matters. So, if in doubt, err on the side of a leather belt with leather shoes.
This is the north star rule of matching men’s leather belts with shoes; the colors need to match. The less your shoes, belt, and bag complement each other, the less stylish you will look. You don’t have to be exact; you’re aiming for similar colors, especially in tone. For example, white can be cool (crisp, bright) and warm (cream, off-white). So, a crisp white and an off-white are a mismatch in tone.
You want the metal of your belt to match any metal on your shoes. This is integral to matching a men’s belt to a pair of shoes. This rule goes further and asks that all your metals coordinate. So it’s essential that items like your watch, cufflinks, tie tack, etc., match the metals on your belt and shoes. The only exception is, of course, wedding rings, which you can wear universally.
Matching Belt With Shoes Questions
Ok, now that we’ve explored the standards for matching your men’s leather belt and shoes, let’s talk about when they can and can’t be broken.
Does the match have to be perfect?
While the closer the match, the better; if you have good-looking pieces in the same color family, you’re golden. Less contrast is safer fashion-wise, but as long as the colors you choose are similar and in the same tone (e.g., warm or cool), they will complement each other. One great example of this is grey. Grey is a cool tone, so grey shoes will complement a black, grey, or navy blue belt. And, grey belts pair beautifully with black shoes.
Can I pair a black belt with brown shoes or vice versa?
This is one of those areas where the rule stands—never pair brown and black together. They are different tones. Brown is a warm tone and closer to red, whereas black is a cool tone. These colors fundamentally look wrong together and are a glaring signal of the fashion unconscious. If you’re down to the wire and only have black shoes and a brown belt, go with the shoes and try your ensemble without the belt. (Ideally, your formal pants fit and stay up without a belt, making your belt an accessory.)
What about different shades of brown?
Different shades of brown work well together. While there can be a lot of contrast between light brown and dark brown, one way to work it all together is if your shoe has a darker sole than the top. Then a darker brown belt would still be technically matching your shoes. However, browns are all warm tones, so they essentially work together.
What if my shoes have more than one color?
For two-tone shoes, match the most predominant color. Again, remember the goal is to find complementing colors, not a perfect match. Part of this process is practicing confidence, whether you decide to follow or break the rules.
Browse Roger Ximenez’s Men’s Leather Belts
Shop a wide array of casual, dress, and exotic leather belts here at Roger Ximenez. We specialize in hand crafting bespoke men’s leather belts of the highest quality. We source the finest full-grain leathers for our men’s leather belts, which are handmade here in the United States. If you’re in the market for a new men’s leather belt, we have a style and color that suits you.
Our smooth leather belts are made from the finest Italian calf leather and come in a rainbow of colors.
Genuine crocodile and python leathers make excellent statement belts and will last for years.