It’s not terribly often that we see brown trousers. Whether part of a suit, a pair of chinos, or just some standalone slacks, they’re one of the rarer colors that mean wear. The last American politician to wear a brown suit to any effect was Ronald Reagan, and he was president thirty-some-odd years ago.
Perhaps they’re relative unpopularity is because they remind us of bodily waste. Who knows?
Regardless, in a dressy situation they’re a great alternative to charcoal, and as casual pants, they’re a great fall option.
Read on for how to pair shoes with this tricky pant color. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re limiting the color to any shade of chocolate (except white, of course).
NOTE: There are exceptions to every rule.
Use your good judgement, and feel free to leave us a comment if you have questions!
Read on for full explanations and reasoning of the above coordination suggestions. Or, click here to go see our Ultimate Shoe & Trouser Color Coordination Matrix showcasing how to match any color shoes with any color trousers.
How To Coordinate Brown Trousers With Different Shoes
Best Shoe Matches
Burgundy is a reddish-brown, so these are very much in the same color family as brown. This is great for dressier outfits, especially if you’re substituting a brown suit for a charcoal or navy one. The last person to do this to any great effect was Ronald Reagan, so you’ll get some rarity cool points too.
A particularly good casual option, grey shoes with brown trousers is an offbeat combination that we cosign when you’re out of the office and dressing casually.
If you’re wearing a brown suit or suit separates, a light brown shoe is a perfect complement. You get points for variation on a color theme, and it’s appropriate for most offices.
Navy shoes are tough to come by, but if you can pick up a pair, try them with brown pants. This is conceptually similar to pairing grey trousers with navy shoes and will work particularly well in lighter shades of each color.
Acceptable Shoe Matches
This one is seasonal and best done with the lightest shade of chocolate you can find. But not white chocolate. Don’t be obtuse.
No-Go Shoe Matches
As we stated in our article on beige shoes, this combination resembles the inside of a candy bar a bit too much for our taste. We love Three Musketeers just as much as the next guy, but it doesn’t need to be represented in our clothes.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: black and brown don’t look good together. If you don’t get it, write it on a chalkboard one hundred times until you get do!
Though we love dark brown shoes, it’s far too matchy-matchy with any chocolate-colored trouser. Avoid this.
*EDITOR”S NOTE:* This is another pairing that has caused some intra-blogger trouble. We have it under “no-go” but if you think you’ve made this pairing well, please share it with us in the comments!
You are not a shrub, nor should you dress like one. Green shoes are much better with beige, blue, or tan trousers. Jeans are also a better bet. Try any of these combinations before attempting to pair green shoes with brown pants.
Orange and brown has a weirdly seventies feel to us, and we all know that the seventies were the worst decade for menswear, seconded only by the nineties. If you ever find a brown tie with a faint burnt orange pattern, fine, maybe that will work. Orange shoes and brown trousers, though? No.
Purple shoes and brown trousers are not pleasing to the eye. Purple shoes would go better with many other pant colors.and we strongly encourage you to read the article we published on it.
Brown trousers will not be done any favors when paired with red shoes. Stick to jeans and blue trousers with red shoes.
Links To Other Shoe & Trouser Coordination Resources
Shoe & Trouser Master Coordination Matrix – FREE Download