How The Best Dressed Men Wear Black Shoes & Khaki Pants
It is generally acknowledged that black, just like white and neutrals, goes well with any other color or pattern. But sometimes, in theory, a color combination should look good, but in practice, it can be a hit or miss. You start dressing, look in the mirror, and realize something is off. Why would these two colors not go well together?
One such case of color combinations is black and khaki. What is the first thing that comes to your mind? Are you are getting pictures in your head of office workers in 80s movies. Wearing their high-rise baggy khaki pants, bulky black shoes, white socks, and tucked collared shirt?
While this outfit can make anybody cringe, that does not mean that khaki pants and black shoes cannot be worn in a stylish way. We are here to dispel any myth that this color combination is impossible to rock. And we are here to give you the possibility to wear khaki pants according to your needs and style.
For some, black and khaki can be an unflattering combination, so one must pay attention to various parts of the outfit to make sure this works. But, if you’re wondering what color pants to wear with black shoes, khaki just might be your answer!
Image source: lorenzodangelo1963
Black shoes and khaki pants - can it work? When the outfit is styled according to the weather, and occasion, as well as your body type and personal style, this combination can be successful.
What are khaki pants?
Khaki pants are a staple in a man’s wardrobe. One may say that they are even better than jeans, because of the soft and lightweight material that offers comfort and allows the skin to breathe. Khakis are also versatile when it comes to the style (from sporty and casual to formal) and can be worn all year round (and complement your outfit with the appropriate accessories). But do you know how they got introduced into daily life?
Khaki pants started as part of military uniforms, due to breathable fabrics and the color perfect for camouflage. After World War II, khaki pants continued to be worn by veterans as civilians, and it slowly transitioned into casual wear. Slowly, their popularity grew and it became a must-have for a mans’ wardrobe.
The point of khaki pants is to mix comfort with elegance. The material allows you to move easily, movement, while the straight leg cut and mid-rise fit, gives you a tailored look. With time, you can even have a collection made of several pairs of khaki pants in various colors, shades, and materials (thicker and warmer material for winter, more lightweight for summers).
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When it comes to their color, generally darker khaki pants are matching easily with black shoes. This offers you a less bold appearance. However, the lighter the khaki, the tougher it can get to work, because of the stark contrast between a light khaki and black. That does not mean it is an impossible look to pull off. It is all in the way you construct the whole outfit. From the colors of the clothing and how well they are tailored, to the shoes and accessories. Needless to say, there are many choices for you to consider when deciding to wear khaki pants with black shoes.
Also, are you opting for strictly khaki-colored pants or are you also going for a navy, beige and/or olive green? The family of khaki pants is big, and there are many choices when it comes to colors. Start with a classic khaki color and then build your khaki pants collection from here. Slow but steady steps will allow you to have several pairs you can choose from and that will also fit you.
How to choose your black shoes?
So you have chosen your pair of khaki pants and you are wondering what kind of black shoes you can wear them with. You know this is possible, but all you are picturing in your mind are awkward outfit shots of bulky shoes and khaki pants that are way too long. Fear not, when wondering what color shoes go with brown pants, black shoes and khaki pants can be a great combination. Check out what type of shoes go with your pants!
- Dress shoes
- Summer shoes: loafers and boat shoes
A pair of dress shoes is a must-have - be it a pair of oxfords, derbies or brogues. Invest in a high-quality pair, as they can last you several years if they are well taken care of. Dress shoes go great with any suit you might have in your lifetime, and this includes a khaki suit.
We know summers can be hot, but do not attempt to pair your khaki pants with sandals, as this can create a start style contrast between the extreme casualness of the sandals and the elegant cut of the pants. It may be tempting, but going for sandals with socks is also very unfortunate.
If you prefer dress shoes but are looking for a summer version, loafers are an excellent choice. You can wear them with your khaki suit at your formal work event, or you can wear them with your cuffed khaki chinos at a casual party. Bold Society Shoes offers interesting loafers that you can sport for a pop of color. And they are also extremely versatile summer shoes.
Boat shoes are another alternative as summer shoes, albeit less formal. In both cases, to spare you the extra layer and have some freshness, you can skip socks. If you do, make sure to have high-quality loafers or boat shoes so that your skin can breathe and minimize the sweat.
If you are looking for a more casual vibe but you are not into loafers, sneakers can also be a great choice. They are sporty by themselves, but in this case, you can wear them for a preppy college-vibe outfit. Picture this - khaki chinos, plaid shirt with a sweater on top, and your favorite black skater sneakers.
Is winter coming? Are you bracing for cold weather, snow, and generally unpleasant weather? Then you have to also wear appropriate footwear. Boots are an excellent way to not only keep you warm and dry but also stylish. How about pairing your khaki pants with Chelsea boots, knitted sweater, and a long black coat? Or how about a black turtleneck sweater with your khakis tucked into black lace-up boots?
Check out this handy table for some ideas to get you started!
Type of shoes
White or neutral derbies and sneakers
Loafers, boat shoes, sneakers
Chukka boots, sneakers, loafers (if the weather allows)
Chelsea boots, Lug boot, lace-up boots, sneakers (if the weather allows)
What colors can you wear with khaki pants and black shoes?
Khaki and black are two rather boring colors by themselves. But even if individually they may be also very versatile, you have to be careful when putting them together. And especially when you are thinking of adding a third color in the mix. Feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities? That’s the beauty of fashion. The important part is to start slowly, from black and darker colors, building it up through brighter colors, something along these lines:
- Dark colors (navy, burgundy, grey, seaweed green)
- Mid-tone colors (masala, olive green, mustard, cobalt)
- Pastel colors (light blues, yellows, greys)
- Bolder and brighter colors (red, pink, yellow, lavender, turquoise)
The safest way to make this work is by going for a black shirt, sweater or t-shirt. That way, a balance is maintained and there is nothing flashy that can distract. For a casual style, go for a black button-down shirt with cuffed sleeves. If it is cold, opt for a cozy black knit sweater For a more sporty style, go for a collared t-shirt. When it gets cold, pair the khaki pants with your favorite black hoodie and you are ready to go.
If you think wearing a black top is too much color coordination, but you want to play it safe, you can simply go for dark colors. There is a wide variety of choices, from dark brown and burgundy to navy blue and seaweed green. These colors are giving a slight hint of colors to your outfit, but will still keep a balance between the darkness of the shoes and top versus the lightness of the khaki pants.
Feeling more confident than just wearing dark colors but nothing too bold? Beautiful colors such as magenta, masala, mustard, cobalt, or olive. Such colors are not too flashy, but also not too dark (so you are avoiding an overall matchy-matchy look). You are having a bit more color in your outfit and everything is complementing well.
White, just as black, is another excellent way to add some variety into your outfit, while also keeping it tame. A white shirt can be very versatile with khaki pants. Wear it at work for a formal look, and then roll up the sleeves for a casual style when you go out with your friends.
If your pants are a light khaki, then you can go for not only for white tops but also pastels and brighter colors. See how you feel with a light blue or light grey shirt. If you are a fan of pastels, you can experiment with various shades of pastel pink, light yellow, lavender or turquoise. Keep in mind that you should decide on a color combination that you feel comfortable in.
We are getting bolder and bolder with our color suggestions. Build up your confidence by starting with darker, safer colors, up to lighter ones and then you may even feel confident of trying patterns!
Patterns are a whole category by themselves. Here you have to not only consider the colors but also the type of pattern. For a preppy fall look, a dark-colored plaid shirt goes great with khaki pants and black shoes. A checkered blue shirt is perfect for a casual event. If you are afraid of patterns but would still like to try, go for dense patterns such as birdseye, shepherd’s check, barleycorn or sharkskin. You can find shirts with such patterns all over and as far as the color choice goes, start with a black and white combination.
For the boldest of us, beautiful paisley or floral pattern can do the trick. It can be either in tame colors, such as brown, black, beige or in something more colorful with greens, reds or blues. As soon as you find the color and pattern combinations that please your eyes and make you feel confident, the world is your oyster.
Use accessories to mix it up
Just like with women’s outfits, men’s outfits are complete with the accessories. Always be careful when choosing one though, as accessories can make or break an outfit. Some of the accessories you can effortlessly throw on include:
- Ties or bowties
Belts: one can say that belts are a must-have in a man’s wardrobe. An ever-present accessory that goes well with any pair of pants. This applies also in the case of khaki pants. Picture yourself wearing a great pair of khaki chinos, your favorite shirt, and your summer loafers. But somehow something feels off - and that is when a black belt can save you and complete the outfit nicely.
Ties or bowties: If you are going for a more formal outfit, you need to step it up with a tie or a bowtie, depending on what you prefer or feel comfortable with.
Watch: A high-quality watch is another must in a man’s wardrobe. It not only keeps you punctual, but it also adds a touch of class to your outfit.
Eyewear: If you already need prescription glasses, make sure they are fit your face shape. When buying sunglasses, you should also look for a flattering shape, as well as UV protection.
Scarves: Scarves can be a great way to look elegant, and also stay warm. Experiment with different ways to knot it, as well as different colors and materials.
Jewelry: If you are a fan of jewelry, you can definitely go for it. We suggest going for something that fits your personal style. Perhaps a delicate leather bracelet?
Bags: Invest in a high-quality bag that is comfortable to wear, spacious, and in a color that works for your whole wardrobe - most often brown or black.
Hats: Hats can either complement your outfit or completely ruin it. There are many types according to occasion and weather. Experiment with different styles until you find the hats that suit your style of clothing in general, as well as the occasions that you are usually attending. For example, if you have a sporty style and casual, caps or knit hands (in winter especially) are your go-to's. If you have a more formal style, you can go for a fedora.
Socks: One may forget about socks, only to be reminded of their importance when you look at yourself in the mirror and you realize something is off. In general, your socks should not match the shoes. If your pants are of a light khaki, you can go for white socks that can match with your white or light-colored shirt. Otherwise, for darker khaki pants, you will always get it right by matching your socks to the pants. Either go for socks in the exact same color or a contrasting color for a cool look. How about an olive sweater, khaki pants, olive socks, and black shoes? Sometimes, the absence of socks is also important - as they can be particularly distracting when worn with loafers or boat shoes in summer. In this case, you can definitely skip them.
Check out some color combinations to help your khaki pants and black shoes stand out!
Cream, beige, light khaki or white
Mid-tone colors such as crimson red, emerald green, magenta purple, cobalt blue, mustard, tangerine orange.
Darker Khaki, Taupe
Dark colors (black, brown) and dark shades of green (olive) , purple and blue (midnight blue, navy)
Jackets/blazer/cardigans: These are not simply accessories, but rather integral parts of the outfit. But by adding a jacket, blazer or cardigan, you have even more opportunity to improve your initial khaki pants - black shoe combination. It all boils down, as always, to occasion and weather. Jackets are excellent choices for a casual or sporty outfit. And in terms of colors, do not go too crazy, especially if your top is a bright color. Another more casual choice, but for a different vibe, is button-down cardigans. Cardigans themselves come in various patterns and colors, and that gives you infinite choice on how you can wear your khaki pants. Concerning formal events, blazers are the way to go. If you are going for a khaki suit as part of your wardrobe, it is even better; whenever you go for a khaki suit and black shoes, your outfit is 75% decided and you just have to pick your top.
Well-fitting clothes for perfect black shoe khaki pants look
With the advent of fast fashion and clothes being cheaper in general, fewer people are getting custom-made clothing. Everybody is trying to fit into standardized sizes - and with everybody being various shapes, sizes and heights, it can be a tough journey to finding well-fitting clothing.
That’s why it’s always advised to make use of a tailor’s services. A tailor can not only create custom clothes from scratch but can also help you improve what you currently have. This is perfect for those who cannot seem to find the perfect pair of pants to fit well all over.
If it’s a formal suit, the pants should be in your size and tailored by professional. You would not want them to be too loose, too short, or too long. They should look like they were made for you and your body.
- If it’s a pair of khaki chinos, which are more casual, you should go for the size that fits you best, and if needed, also get them to a tailor.
- If your pants are too long but everything else fits perfectly, and you want to save time or money, cuff them up until your ankle for a relaxed look. This would go perfectly with black loafers or boat shoes in summer.
Khaki pants and black shoes? It’s all in the attitude!
Are you feeling confident in yourself and your outfit? Are you unsure whether this color combination suits you? Or you feel it is old-fashioned, outdated, boring? As we previously saw, there are many ways to make khaki pants and black shoes work; not only by choosing appropriate materials or the right type of shoe but also by adding certain accessories for extra classiness. However, at the end of the day, it all boils down to your attitude.
- The way you speak
- Your posture and body language
- Get rid of negative thoughts
Your speech: Being nervous can result in a shaky voice. Try to speak slowly, be energetic, maintain eye contact, and smile. This will make everybody feel relaxed (including yourself) and you will feel more at ease.
Body language: Exude confidence by keeping your back straight and head held high, as if a string is pulling your head up. Whenever you find yourself slouching, try to imagine this.
Smile: Smiling is not only conveying confidence but also sends out friendly signals to the others around you.
Positive thoughts: Our mind is very powerful and negative thoughts can dampen your confidence. If your mind is telling you “I’m [ugly, not worthy, boring, etc]” tell yourself - Would you talk like that to your best friend? Try infusing positive thoughts and slowly your confidence will grow
Have we convinced you yet?
We hope that now the thought of the “khaki pants and black shoes” combination won’t send shivers down your spine anymore. But rather get you excited at the opportunities that it presents, and the versatility this combination has. Get you excited to go out and hunt for the right pair of khakis for you. Not only that but also great shirts, sweaters and - of course - black shoes. We hope that this guide has not only to make you interested in the khaki -black color combination but also interested in building your wardrobe and investing in high-quality pieces.
And when you are confident in wearing khaki pants with black shoes, how about trying other color combinations for your wardrobe such as:
Gone are the days of awkward khaki/black outfits that scream boring and bland. Do not be afraid to experiment with different types of pants, shoes, and accessories, as long as you are feeling comfortable. Make sure you are having fun with it, learn from failed and successful combinations, and finally, end up having several outfits that you are proud of and can always go back to.
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