Brown shoes are known for their versatility, but choosing the perfect shirt to go with them can sometimes be tricky.
Here are some great shirt colors you can wear with brown shoes:
Of course, there’s more to it than that.
The perfect shirt color for you does depend on a couple of different factors.
Let’s go through those factors to help you choose the right one. After that, we’ll go through those shirt colors (with pics) in more detail.
How To Color Coordinate Brown Shoes With Shirts
Ultimately, it isn’t just the brown shoes you need to consider when choosing the right shirt color. There’s plenty more to think about.
1. Consider The Dress Code
The dress code will definitely influence the shirt color you choose. In short, the dressier the setting, the more likely it is that a neutral shirt color would be best.
So, white, grey, or black. Navy is a neutral-adjacent color that isn’t technically neutral but often considered as such given how muted it is.
In more casual settings, a brighter and bolder non-neutral shirt color can also be considered.
The beauty of brown shoes is that they’re versatile (and near-neutral) enough to be worn with any shirt color you can think of.
Here’s a rundown of the main dress codes and the shirt colors you could consider wearing with brown shoes for them:
- Formal – White shirt
- Business-Professional – White or light blue shirt
- Business-Casual – White, light blue, or light pink shirt
- Smart-Casual – All of the above, plus red, green, pink, or purple shirts.
Note that black shirts are a little tricky and don’t fall comfortably into any of the categories above.
In general, black shirts are more appropriate for dressier smart-casual events, particularly those that take place in the evening.
2. Consider The Color Of Your Pants
It’s also worth considering how much contrast you want between the brown shoes and the rest of your outfit – namely the shirt and pants.
For example, if you’ve gone for a dark shirt (eg. black, navy, or burgundy) and a dark-colored pair of pants, you could go for a dark brown pair of shoes for a low-contrast combination.
If you’d prefer a high-contrast combination here, you could wear the dark shirt with a light-colored pair of pants and a light brown pair of shoes.
An alternative high-contrast combo would be a light-colored shirt (eg. white, light blue), a light-colored pair of pants, and a dark brown pair of shoes.
High-contrast combinations are generally more eye-catching and attention-grabbing, while low-contrast combinations are more subtle and understated.
It really depends on your personal preferences.
Another thing to consider is maintaining one “pop” of color in your outfit.
In general, if you’ve gone for a colorful pair of pants, it’s often best to keep the shirt color neutral no matter what the dress code is.
Alternatively, if you’re wearing a more neutral-colored pair of pants and the dress code is on the more casual side, you could wear a more colorful shirt.
Let the shirt be the one pop of color in your outfit.
Here’s a table with some suggestions of both high-contrast and low-contrast combinations you could consider:
|Blue Pants And Brown Shoes||White, grey, or black shirt|
|Dark Grey Pants And Brown Shoes||White, forest green, or burgundy shirt|
|Light Grey Pants And Brown Shoes||Black, mint green, or light blue shirt|
|Navy Pants And Brown Shoes||White, charcoal, or light blue shirt|
|Khaki Pants And Brown Shoes||White, beige, light pink, or plum purple shirt|
|Black Pants And Brown Shoes||Light grey, light blue, or maroon shirt|
6 Brown Shoes And Shirt Combinations To Try
Here are some great brown shoe and shirt combinations you can try out for yourself. Remember to take the factors listed above into account when making your decision.
You’ll notice how certain combinations – namely the more neutral ones – tend to look dressier.
Black Shirt With Brown Shoes
A black shirt can be worn with brown shoes in a variety of different settings, but the combination often works best in dressy evening smart-casual settings.
As explained earlier, you’ve got the option of going for a low-contrast combination or a high-contrast combination.
- Low Contrast – A black shirt, dark brown shoes, and charcoal, navy, 0r maroon pants.
- High Contrast – A black shirt, tan brown shoes, and light grey, beige, or khaki pants.
Of course, the dress code needs to be taken into account as well. In more casual settings, a neutral pants color would definitely be better than a warmer color such as maroon or khaki.
But thinking about it in terms of low contrast vs high contrast is definitely a good way to go.
Blue Shirt With Brown Shoes
Blue shirts can be worn with brown shoes in settings ranging from formal to smart casual. Light blue shirts look better in more formal and professional settings, while darker shades of blue such as navy are better suited to smart-casual events.
Once you’ve thought about the dress code, consider the contrast:
- Low Contrast – Light blue shirt, light grey/off-white pants, and tan brown shoes. Alternatively, a navy blue shirt, black pants, and dark brown shoes.
- High Contrast – Light blue shirt, charcoal/forest green pants, and dark brown shoes.
Grey Shirt With Brown Shoes
A grey shirt can be worn with brown shoes to many different events. Given how neutral grey is as a color, the range of shirt colors you have to choose from is vast.
The more formal and professional the setting, the more likely it is that a light grey shirt would be the more appropriate option when wearing brown shoes.
Charcoal shirts, while neutral, do tend to look better in more smart-casual environments, similarly to how black shirts do.
- Low Contrast – Light grey shirt, off-white pants, light brown shoes. Or, a charcoal grey shirt, navy pants, and dark brown shoes.
- High Contrast – Dark grey shirt, beige/tan pants, and tan brown shoes.
Pink Shirt With Brown Shoes
A pink shirt can be worn with brown shoes, with lighter shades of pink (eg. blush pink) being more appropriate in business-casual and professional settings. Darker shades of pink such as salmon should only be worn in smart-casual settings.
Here, we’re working with a bolder and more vibrant shirt color. Pink has warm undertones, making a pink shirt immediately eye-catching.
It often is (and should be) the focus of any outfit. So, wear a neutral-colored pair of pants to avoid there being too much color or even worse – a color clash.
At the end of the day, pink shirts do look great with brown shoes.
While brown is near-enough neutral, it does have noticeably warm undertones that sync well with those of pink.
White Shirt With Brown Shoes
A white shirt can be worn with brown shoes and practically any pants color you can think of. It’s the most versatile shirt color you could potentially choose.
If there’s ever a risk of underdressing, a white shirt would always be the safest option by far.
It’s also neutral enough to wear with all pants colors ranging from neutral to not neutral at all.
Once again, consider the amount of contrast and the dress code when making your decision regarding the pants’ color, as well as the shade of brown shoes you choose to wear.
Red Shirt With Brown Shoes
Red shirts can be worn with shoes in any shade of brown. The very noticeably warm undertones of the red shirt blend well with those of the brown shoes, leading to a balanced outfit as a whole.
However, be careful with the color of your pants.
Red is a bold and in-your-face shirt color that should be allowed to take center stage.
The pants and the brown shoes should blend quietly into the background without stealing the limelight.
That’s why it’s best to go for a neutral pants color such as charcoal grey, light grey, or black here. Khaki is a reasonable alternative if you’re dressing down a little.
A pair of brown shoes gives you plenty of options when it comes to both the color of your shirt and your pants.
However, sticking to a couple of basic principles should help you achieve the best outcome possible for the specific setting you’re dressing for.
Take contrast, as well as the dress code into account.
Even in smart-casual settings, try to ensure that there’s only one real “pop” of color in your outfit while keeping the rest of the items understated.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.