You may have noticed the unusual choice that many men make these days to pair grey pants with brown dress shoes.

Is this even allowed, or are a large number of men simply making a fashion faux pas?

Grey pants and brown dress shoes are a trend that’s catching fire. Finally, more and more men are catching on to what a great pairing this is.

Part of the reason for this new passion for these colors together is that it’s excellent for dressy occasions or casual ones.

The other reason? It looks so darn hot.

Matching Grey Pants and Brown Shoes

For years, black has been the default color for shoes to wear with your grey pants. It didn’t matter which shade of grey you were wearing, and black was the easiest choice to make.

It is still the simplest choice, but not necessarily the most exciting.

how to wear brown shoes and grey pants

These days, you have permission to deviate from the well-worn path of black shoes. Instead, brown shoes are often an excellent way to loosen up your look.

They are wholly acceptable with grey pants, but only if you pair them appropriately. This is because there are many variations of both grey and brown, and they don’t all work together.

You have several color combination possibilities, but some work better than others.

Consider the Fifty Different Shades of Grey

The first step to pulling off this look is to select the perfect shade of grey for your pants. But, with so many variations on this color, how can you know which is the best color for you?

Unfortunately, there’s no single surefire way to know exactly which shade you should pick; it comes down to a couple of factors.

different shades of grey suits

First, consider formality and your personal tastes. Grey is an incredibly versatile color. There is an appropriate shade for every occasion.

For example, if you dress as formally as you can without an official black-tie outfit, charcoal grey is an excellent choice.

Light grey, conversely, is very casual. You can wear it to a more casual office setting or out for a spin around the town with friends.

In the middle, you have medium grey, which can go both ways. You can wear it to the office or wedding, but also for a nice dinner out.

All the grey hues have the perfect brown out there, just waiting to be matched. It’s just a matter of knowing how to pair them.

How to Match the Brown According to the Grey Shade

Once you’ve selected your grey pants in accordance with how dressy you need your outfit to be, now it’s time to figure out your shoe selection.

Brown is also very versatile, in that it can be dressy or casual. Just as with suit colors, the lighter your shoe color is, the more casual it is.

matching medium grey pants and brown shoes

So, for example, if you are wearing a casual pair of light grey pants, you’ll need lighter brown shoes.

A general rule of thumb to remember is that your shades should match. For example, if your pants are charcoal grey, which is as dark a grey as you can get, your shoes should be dark brown, too.

matching charcoal grey pants and dark brown shoes

You have many brown shoe color choices, ranging from dark, medium to light. You may leave a little room for some contrast in the shading between pants and shoes, but not too much.

In other words, dark brown dress shoes don’t pair well with light grey pants, but you can most likely get away with medium brown shoes.

Other Colors that Match with Grey and Brown

Grey and brown are both neutral colors, which makes them a perfect canvas for color.

They look truly stunning when paired with darker colors, such as burgundy, navy, or dark green. Even black can look incredibly striking with grey and brown.

Light grey suit with blue stripe shirt, navy tie and brown shoes color combination

Dark colors are the easiest to work into this color combination, but you aren’t stuck with only dark choices.

Once you’ve become comfortable mixing these bolder colors with grey and brown, you can try your hand at mixing things up with brighter colors, such as light blue or pink.

Light grey suit and blue shirt color combination

Of course, black and white are always the safest color combination for any color scheme

There are occasions that bolder colors aren’t always appropriate in some settings, such as business. That’s when black and white are a perfect pairing to fall back on.

Different Types of Formal Brown Shoes for Grey Pants

When you’re dressing for formality, you are probably going to be wearing charcoal grey pants.

When that’s the case, you’ll need dark brown shoes to go with them. You’ll also need an appropriate dressy shoe style.

Your best bet for dressy shoes is always Oxfords. The beauty of these shoes is their versatility; they are the shoe for formalwear, but you can also wear them when dressing down.

brown oxford dress shoes sample

This means that you can also get them in lighter shades of brown and very dark.

Oxford shoes are considered so dressy because of their closed lacing system. The way the shoe is constructed creates a lovely slim silhouette for your foot. Sleek is always right in line with formal.

Derby shoes are an ideal second runner-up for formal brown shoes. They are very similar to Oxfords but have closed lacing instead of open lacing. It’s very subtle, but derbies aren’t quite as sleek as Oxfords.

brown derby dress shoes sample

You can really step outside the box and still stay within the formal dress shoe range with monk straps.

brown monk strap dress shoes sample

The monk strap shoe is unique. It forgets all about lacing systems and goes for buckle enclosures, instead! It’s a uniquely dressy type and looks terrific with a cheeky grey suit.

Different Types of Casual Brown Shoes for Grey Pants

You may not realize it, but your shoes set the tone for your entire outfit. Just a switch-up of shoes can take your suit from dressy to casual.

So, if you’re looking to make your grey pants more casual, here are some shoes you’ll love.

Brown leather loafers are excellent for conveying a relaxed and leisurely tone. In summer, you can even skip the socks to leave all formal shoe cares truly behind.

brown loafer shoes sample

Wingtip brogues are ideal for a smart-casual look. They are incredibly dapper but still keep the relaxed vibe going strong.

And finally, ankle boots, such as Chelsea boots, are a very unexpected twist.

These boots are very modern and also casual. Their slip-on nature says that they’re so relaxed they can’t even be bothered with laces.

Brown Shoes & Grey Suit

As I’ve mentioned before, black shoes with a suit are always your most formal option. For a grey suit, that’s no exception.

how to wear a grey suit pants with brown dress shoes

However, there’s no reason you can’t experiment with a more casual footwear option, depending on your setting.

Your suit can be any shade of grey and still be paired with brown shoes. Just ensure that you have the right shade of brown to go with your suit.

For example, if you decide to wear a charcoal grey suit, it might be better to match it with dark brown dress shoes.

how to wear brown dress shoes with charcoal grey suit pants

Since this color combination plays with a bit of an unusual fashion trend, it may be best to stick with a more formal, traditional dress shoe.

Oxfords and derbies are always a great choice and are so versatile that you’ll be able to wear them with many other outfits.

Finishing the Look

Because grey is a neutral color, there are so many color options for dress shirts. If you are wearing a light grey suit, you can’t go wrong with a lighter-colored dress shirt and a dark tie.

wearing a grey suit with a white shirt and brown shoes

Blue, grey, black, or pink ties are all excellent color choices to complement your light grey. However, you aren’t only obligated to stay with those colors.

If you’re wearing a white or light pink dress shirt, how about experimenting with a maroon or even purple tie?

A charcoal grey suit is more formal than a light grey suit. Charcoal grey is deep and will follow along many of the same lines as a black suit.

This means keeping your brown shoes very dark and wear a white dress shirt. Feel free to play with the color of your ties, but a dark-toned tie would look the best.

Brown Shoes & Grey Trousers

You’ll have a few more options for your footwear if you aren’t wearing a full suit. Grey trousers can still be very dressy but can easily be more casual. This opens up your choices for footwear.

wearing brown shoes with grey trouser pants

Loafers are a good choice for a relaxed approach to your outfit. However, if you want to look less casual and more contemporary, slide into a pair of monk strap shoes.

Grey is a very trendy color right now, so when paired with monk straps, you’ll look very polished.

Finishing the Look

Of course, a white dress shirt is always the standard pairing for any pair of dress trousers. However, if you are in the market to branch out a little, you have a ton of choices with grey pants.

If your pants are light, try wearing a jewel-toned shirt. Deep green, blue, or even red would look stunning with a pair of light grey pants and brown dress shoes.

wearing light-blue shirt, brown shoes, and grey pants

These colors pair so well together that it’s almost as if they were made to go together.

Darker grey pants can also be worn with jewel-toned dress shirts, but they are better suited to lighter shades, such as pale pink or blue.

If you’re looking to add a blazer, you could mix and match your greys and wear a lighter or darker shade.

You could also opt for a black blazer, but be careful that it doesn’t clash with your brown shoes! Make sure the shades are complementary.

Accessories You Can Wear with Grey Pants and Brown Shoes

Accessories are the key to letting the real you shine – the way you choose to accessorize sets you apart from all the other grey pants and brown shoes.

You can tell a lot about a person by the items they choose.

A tie is a perfect way to infuse some color into your outfit. This is where you can easily insert one of the bold colors I mentioned earlier, perhaps navy or burgundy.

wearing blue striped shirt and burgundy dotted tie with grey suit

You can also make your outfit infinitely more interesting with a patterned tie. Don’t be afraid to explore different colored plaids or polka dots.

If you decide to wear a belt with your pants, remember that a simple style is preferred over something large and flashy. And certainly no eye-catching buckles.

And remember the golden rule: the color of your belt leather should match the color of your shoes.

wearing brown belt with brown shoes and grey pants

Watches are somewhat rare these days, with the rise of smartphones always ready to tell us the time. However, a nice dress watch can make a huge impression on the people who notice it.

Remember to match the watch with other leathers if the strap is leather.

But you can also experiment with metal straps. This is one instance where you can stray from the color of your shoes, so how about a nice black metal watch?

Alexander Stoicoff
Author: Alexander Stoicoff

Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.

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