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How to choose the right shoe for your suit

It is often said that the first thing people notice about you is your shoes, and no matter show sharp your suit or how suave your style, if you don’t get them right then your entire image could fall flat. In those situations where it’s vital you make the right impression – whether it’s meeting a key decision maker in the business world who could make you some serious money, or coming face-to-face with your future wife’s father for the very first time – failing at footwear is simply not an option, and a good pair of shoes is a must to complete a polished and professional look.

Of course, a sensational image all starts with a good suit, so choose an outrageously well-cut designer option or have one made to measure for the ultimate fit. Once that’s done, it’s onto the finishing touches, and with your suit decided, it’ll be easier to know where to start.

Here’s how to go about choosing the right pair of shoes to go with your suit, for an impeccably put together look that is guaranteed to impress all the right people.

Choose a quality designer pair of shoes for maximum style and optimum durability

Semi-casual suit

A semi-casual suit is a versatile choice, and one that lends itself to a little more variation when it comes to footwear. Summer suits and materials such as corduroy or tweed look great with classic staples – think loafers, oxford shoes and derby shoes, and you won’t go far wrong.

Versatile shoes that can be dressed up or down, you’ll be able to wear them with many of your other outfits, too – and that includes those days when you decide to swap suit trousers for jeans, and pair them with a smart blazer for a sophisticated yet casual look.

Choose a quality designer pair for maximum style and optimum durability – the best shoes out there are built to last. Rather than black, which is perhaps the most serious shade of all, pair your semi-casual suit with a classic brown or grey pair of shoes instead. Opt for more muted finishes such as suede – shiny shoes will look a little much.

Three-piece suit

For a formal occasion such as a wedding or christening, it’s likely you’ll be wearing a three-piece suit, and a perfectly tailored, made-to-measure outfit deserves to be paired with an impeccable pair of shoes.

With this in mind, opt for classic black – patent leather, with a brilliant shine, combined with a great pair of cufflinks, is the ultimate way to polish off your look.

In a business setting, a brogue or buckled shoe could work well – just make sure it’s the right fit, as there’s nothing like limping around with a sore foot to ruin that carefully crafted image.

However, this is a case where less is definitely more. Wearing a classic, understated black shoe allows the focus to be on the suit. You can wear a short heel, but don’t go overboard.

Coloured suits

Coloured suits have been a key trend in recent years, and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. If you’re bold enough to mix it up a bit and sport a statement look, then a plain pair of shoes can work well – keeping accessories understated will let the main event do the talking.

Even so, a more adventurous footwear choice is a great way to add interest to your outfit, and these days, clashing colours is nothing to shy away from. Try burgundies or rusts with navy blues or blues with browns or greys – have fun mixing and matching it up, creating a range of interesting looks to take your pick from.

Do, however, avoid matching your shoe colour to your suit – blue, red, or any other colour from head to toe is the ultimate fashion no-no, so pick just one and aim to either complement or contrast.

Start with the basics, and branch out to some more adventurous choices from there

The essentials

To ensure you always have the right pair of footwear on hand to suit any eventuality, it pays to invest in a few key pieces, which you can keep boxed in your wardrobe until needed. Purchasing a pair in black, brown and grey will mean you’ll have a colour to go with every suit, and brogues and loafers in particular will never go out of fashion.

Start with the basics, and branch out to some more adventurous choices from there. You’ll never be caught short with a few classics in store – but don’t be afraid to inject a bit of personality into your look, either.