Leather shoes are the hallmark of classy, upscale wardrobes. Not only are they sexy and stylish, but they’re also simple to maintain. You can keep a suede pair of shoes looking good for years to come, meaning you can wear them with a variety of outfits.
Which outfits, exactly? You should wear your suede shoes:
At Formal Events
Come on, you know it, and we know it. Suede is fancy. Suede is dapper. Suede gives onlookers a sense of wealth and modern fashion. You need to channel all the adjectives suede gives you into a proper formal outfit.
For men, formal typically means a suit and tie. For ladies, it’s either a lovely dress or a tailored pantsuit. It’s hard to pull off a dress with suede shoes, but suede shoes look good with a suit — no matter your gender.
A note: keep them in your closet if you haven’t touched them in a few months. The leather most likely cracked and creased, a sign of poor upkeep that you shouldn’t let the public see.
But if you’ve been diligent with preserving the longevity of your suede shoes, dazzle your well-to-do audience with an outfit and break them out.
Here are the best combinations to help match the color of your shoes to the color of your suit:
Black Suede Shoes
Wear them with a black, gray, navy, olive, or tan suit.
Black is a neutral color and goes with nearly every suit color out there — within reason. There are some brightly colored suits out there, such as this orange and green one, that black suede shoes can’t do justice. But as it stands, black suede shoes go well with most colors.
“Even brown?” You say.
That’s the exception when we mean “most.” Brown and black do NOT go together. Brown shoes don’t go with a black suit, and black shoes don’t go with a brown suit.
There are two rules you should know in life. The first is do to others what you want done to you, and the second is don’t match brown with black.
You’ve been told — now you have no excuse.
Brown Suede Shoes
A pair of brown, creaseless shoe pairs excellently with gray, navy, or olive suites.
Brown is a neutral color that looks completely natural on a suede shoe. For weddings, formal business meetings, or any other important scenario, suede shoes are a way to show that you’re about to throw your all into a situation and look good while doing it.
We mentioned this before, but we’ll repeat it. Do NOT wear brown suede shoes with a brown suit. Don’t even wear them with black pants. There’s no excuse for looking like you don’t know how to dress.
Most older people know not to wear the two colors together. Even if you’re in high school or college and just now learning how to dress, don’t give others a reason to look down on you, especially at an important function — one so fancy it warrants wearing a suit.
Suede is your brown. Brown suede is a close, reliable friend. Know what color suits to wear brown suede shoes with gray, navy, or olive. For any other color suit, use your discretion.
Oxblood or Burgundy
We’ll be honest — burgundy suede looks cool. They’re a bit unconventional but still within the realm of regular footwear, meaning you can dress to stand out while still dressing to impress.
Imagine this suit but with burgundy suede shoes. How amazing would that look? Not only does navy blue look striking against burgundy, but you let your personality shine through while still looking handsome and formal.
Along with a navy suit, wear your burgundy suede shoes with gray, black, or brown suits. Use your discretion (or talk to your more fashionable friend) when pairing burgundy suede shoes with another color suit.
Burgundy is a vibrant color that a lot of people like looking at. You’ve made the right choice to pair them with a suit.
With Cuffed Dark Denim Jeans
Look at how good this outfit looks. Just look at how excellent a crisp, clean pair of jeans appears next to a fresh pair of suede shoes.
Suede and denim go together like bread and butter to create a “smart casual look.” Gone are the high school days of wearing ratty old tennis shoes with sweatpants when you’re running to the store or hanging out with your friends. It’s time to dress more mature but still look comfortable.
Suede with a pair of dark jeans is the best way to do that. Not only are you dressing comfortably with your favorite pair of jeans, but you’re also adding extra strength behind your look with a good, broken-in pair of suede shoes.
When you pick the right pair of suede shoes, they fit as comfortably and easily as a pair of sneakers. You won’t even feel them there after a while, but people will know that you have a sense of style — even if it’s just throwing on your regular pair of jeans with suede shoes.
Suede shoes are the key to dressing up any outfit, but jeans are crucial to keeping your vibe loose and relaxed. Combine both denim jeans and suede shoes, and you’ll be looking stylish while feeling comfortable. Just don’t forget to maintain your shoes regularly, or else they too will start to look shabby.
With Beige Trousers
Suede shoes sit at the cusp between fancy and formal. You can’t wear suede shoes with shorts and a tank top and call it casual. If you wear the tank and the shorts, the shoes automatically take the outfit from “I’m a chill guy, chilling on the couch at home” to “I’m a dapper man but still want to dress comfortably.”
Since suede shoes are automatically attractive, they must be worn in an upscale context. Trousers or slacks provide that perfectly, and beige can be worn with suede shoes in a variety of colors.
Beige trousers add a little more pigment than stark white ones so that you can match them with a pair of black, brown, burgundy, or even olive green beige shoes. Beige is the perfect companion, no matter the shoe color.
Be sure to iron your beige trousers regularly, as you don’t want creases to take your fashionable outfit down a notch or two because of pants wrinkles. It’s easy to look put-together by wearing suede shoes with a variety of outfits — and even easier to seem slovenly.
Take twenty minutes out of your day once a week to iron all your important clothes. Better yet, get a hand steamer to keep your pants wrinkle-free easily. With modern technology, there’s no excuse to wear wrinkled trousers with your smooth suede shoes.
Complementing a Leather Jacket
Gone are the days in which wearing a leather jacket means you’re a greaser or a part of a biker gang. Anyone who wants to give off a cultivated edgy vibe can wear a leather jacket. When matched with a pair of suede shoes, the leather-on-leather combo makes you look refined while still someone not to mess with.
Both leather jackets and suede shoes are powerful. The leather jacket still pulls from its badass greater and biker ancestors, but the suede shoes soften the look a little bit. It creates an edgy yet preppy vibe that’s chic and modern.
Don’t believe us? Check out this outfit. The model looks like he doesn’t have time to be standing there, looking dapper, as a photographer snaps his photo. He has businesses to run and beers to drink with famous band members. He needs to go off and demand money from someone. There’s no time to waste.
We’re exaggerating a bit to make a point. A leather jacket paired with suede shoes is a fashionable way of telling the world that you don’t have time to sit around debating when to wear suede shoes. You need to wear them now so you can get out the door and seize the day.
For Making Business Casual Your New Norm
In the era of social media and creating “personal brands,” there’s a constant pressure always to look good. You never know who could stumble upon your photo or what they would think about you. And unfortunate as it is to say, how you look matters.
There are some aspects of yourself that you can’t change, but you can control what clothes you wear. We understand that not everyone can afford the most beautiful clothes in stores, but a nice pair of suede shoes is a way to invest in always looking good.
The best part about suede is that it can be worn in both business and casual settings. When you want to hang out with your friends, you can throw on your suede shoes, nice trousers or denim jeans, and a well-fitting button-down.
Boom. Your casual outfit now looks well-thought-out and put together. If you want to give off an even chiller vibe, you can wear suede shoes, jeans, and a nice t-shirt.
The common denominator between all of these is the shoe you’re wearing. Suede shoes are crucial to taking your outfit — no matter what you’re wearing — to the next level. It beats tennis shoes any day.
As a Way to Send a Message to the World
Now, you don’t have to dress up because we told you to. If anything, you should volunteer to elevate your outfit as a symptom of high self-confidence.
You’re amazing. You’re unique and smart and talented and ambitious. If you dress like you don’t care about yourself, you hide those wonderful qualities about you.
If you dress with ratty shoes that are creased, scuffed, and generally look abused, you show that you have low standards for yourself. When you wake up and decide to keep wearing those same worn shoes day in and day out, you show that you’re not one to make a beneficial, necessary change for yourself. You stay in your comfort zone even when it’s damaging you.
This isn’t to say that you can’t wear, say, Chuck Taylors, and not be a successful person. We’re saying that if you don’t take care of your shoes (or general wardrobe, really) and continue to wear subpar clothing, that’s going to affect how you see yourself.
You’re going to say, “I’m fine looking this way because I don’t think I can do better. I don’t want to bother myself with the positive habits of upkeep that elevate my wardrobe to the next level.”
If that’s how you want to dress and if that’s the general message you want to give off, then fine. Be our guest.
But with a simple pair of suede shoes, you can start to change your life from the outside in.
As the saying goes, “the clothes make the man.” If you start dressing fancier, the way successful people do, you can begin to believe that you can accomplish what they did.
It’s a bit like posture. Standing up straight isn’t going to fix your grades or put more money in your bank account or add more hours to the projects you need to accomplish to become successful.
But just the power of improving your posture boosts your confidence, which then gives you permission to take on those difficult tasks that leads you to success.
So, when you ask yourself when to wear suede shoes, know that the answer is any time you want to feel important to the world. A simple pair of suede shoes is enough to take you from the goofy guy who’s maybe a slacker, maybe the geek, to someone people want to get to know.
That’s the power of acquiring — and maintaining — a pair of shoes.
We’re not saying suede shoes are the key to wealth, health, and happiness. But when you improve your wardrobe and start dressing like you’re someone who matters, you can let that aura absorb into your body and, eventually, your thoughts. You’ll begin to believe that you matter because of how you see yourself in the mirror. And then you’ll start to act that way.
When to Not Wear Suede Shoes
When It’s Wet Outside
Suede is a form of unfinished leather, meaning there’s not a lot protecting your shoes from the harsh, cruel world. Water is one such element to watch out for.
If you know it’s going to rain, then it would be best to switch out your suede shoes for either a finished pair of leather shoes or another type of shoe altogether. Suede isn’t utterly hopeless in the rain, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.
If you’re unfortunate enough to get caught in the rain, quickly treat your shoes with a leather conditioner. It will soften the leather and moisturize it, ensuring the water doesn’t dry the shoe out and lead to cracks.
You can’t control the weather, and getting your suede shoes wet will happen at some point. But if you can avoid it, keep your shoes nice and dry as much as possible. That way, you can make sure they last as long as they can.
When It’s Hot and Bright Outside
When summer is in full swing, the only thing you want to do is go outside and enjoy it. Your suede shoes would like to help you in that endeavor, but they’re a bit too sensitive to the heat and sun to help you out entirely.
Suede shoes aren’t total solar wimps — they can still handle being in the hot, bright day for some time. But leather is a porous material that dries out quickly. The longer the shoes are in the direct sunlight, the quicker they’ll dry out, and the faster you’ll have to moisturize them.
When life gets busy, the last thing on your mind will be conditioning your leather shoes. If you’ve adopted good life habits, as mentioned previously, you should be able to manage at least some moderate upkeep. But wearing suede shoes during the thick of summer stresses the leather and makes them susceptible to creasing.
To give your shoes and yourself a break, keep them indoors when the temperatures start to rise.
When You Haven’t Conditioned Them in a While
When the suede leather dries up, the material is less porous and stretchy. When you walk around, you can permanently crease the shoes from your movement.
To avoid permanently altering your shoes, don’t wear them until you have the chance to give them some care. Spend the twenty minutes you need to moisturize them before slipping them on and heading off to conquer that day’s tasks. Your shoes are only as strong as your management of them.
Suede shoes are sleek, stylish, and can be worn with almost any outfit. Knowing when and how to wear your suede shoes is the key to getting the most out of your shoe. Be sure to choose not only the right outfit but the right attitude to wear your suede shoes, and you’ll be golden.