How to Wear Blue Pants and Black Shoes - A Style Guide

blue pants black shoes

How to Style Blue Pants and Black Shoes and Look Amazing

Sometimes the simplest wardrobe change can be the most impactful in terms of style. Everyone knows that blue pants and brown shoes go together like peanut butter & jelly but swapping those brown shoes for black shoes can open up new style opportunities.

Can you wear black shoes with a navy suit or, in this case, pants? Of course! There’s nothing more classic than a pair of blue or navy pants styled with black shoes. Blue pants are classic, black shoes are classic, and when brought together the two create a refined, polished look.

This is because navy-blue and black are considered neutrals, which means they can pair with every color, as well as each other. Since blue is a versatile color when it comes to workwear, the right shade can instantly add style points. Blue pants and black shoes are appropriate for a variety of events ranging from casual to fancy, all depending on how you experiment with different styles and colors. Blue pants and black shoes are also considered wardrobe staples, so they might already exist in your closet.

Ready to try a new look and don’t know where to start? This list of helpful tips includes the following breakdown of details behind stylistic choices, providing how-to information to wear blue pants with black shoes:

  1. Figuring out the fabric and shade of pants
  2. Complementing pants with patterned sock
  3. Determining the type of shoes
  4. Completing the look with your shirt
  5. Sources of inspiration
  6. Final details, fit and accessories

Choosing the blue pants that go with black shoes

blue pants black shoes
Credit: mensfashionhubb

Like most professional workwear, the color of the pants or suit usually determines the rest of the outfit. While a black suit and black shoes is standard, a blue suit and black shoes offers a little bit more style. How much style and flair, then, is a personal choice.

Even within the range of blue pants and blue suits, there’s a variety of options. So, how to pair blue pants and black shoes? Think about the event or setting. The general rule of thumb in menswear is that the more conservative or formal the event, the darker the suit. If choosing to wear blue, navy would be the best bet for important business meetings or high-end events.

But for everyday workwear or happy hour get-togethers, there’s more room for experimenting with color. Outside of navy, blue pants tend to vary in shade and saturation of the color, such as turquoise, royal blue, or blue-gray. And with the evolution of men’s fashion today, blue pants don’t need to be plain either. Patterns, like herringbone or checkers, and textured suits, like corduroy or velvet, can elevate the outfit, and when paired with classic black shoes, all the attention will be on the stylish suit.

In addition to color, there’s also the season to think about. Just like dark colors are considered fall and winter appropriate, lighter colors are favored for spring and summer, the perfect example being the white pants with black shoes. Certain pants fabrics and patterns, too, are only appropriate for certain seasons or tend to come back into fashion during certain seasons. This handy chart should help break it down:

Fabric/Pattern

Season

Seersucker

Spring/Summer

Linen

Spring/Summer

Cotton

Spring/Summer

Wool

Fall/Winter

Tweed

Fall/Winter

Corduroy

Fall/Winter

Velvet

Fall/Winter

 

What socks to wear with blue pants and black shoes

navy pants black shoes
Credit: Soxy

Plain or funky? Crew-style or no-show? The choice of sock is endless when it comes to pairing socks with blue pants and black shoes. It’s possible to stick with the classics of white, black, or navy socks, but socks with a little personality can inject a little more style into the overall look.

Enter Soxy, a premium lifestyle brand that makes bold, classic, and funky socks (and other accessories) to help empower people to express themselves and their individuality. Soxy’s range of sock styles and patterns can suit every personality and situation – from the businessman to the laidback grill-master. Soxy’s sock patterns fall into the following categories:

Additionally, Soxy’s designs are exclusive to the brand, meaning these pattern and color combinations can’t be found elsewhere.

For blue pants and black shoes, the choice of sock pattern comes down to the type of pants. With jeans, there’s a little more leeway, but professional blue pants can be dressed up or dressed down with a nice-patterned sock.

Soxy has a variety of socks that perfectly tie together blue pants and black shoes. From simple to bold styles, the key to picking out socks depends on the colors.  Since black and navy are neutral, almost all colored and patterned socks will complement or contrast the colors of the pants and shoes.  

black shoes with navy pants

Want socks that stand out? Brighter colors or wild patterned socks, like these Orange Zig Zag Socks will provide a pop of color between the blue pants cuff and the top of black shoes. For subtler socks with personality, many of Soxy’s Novelty socks feature designs related to careers - such as lawyer, car salesman, and architect – but in muted blue and navy tones to blend better with a suit.

Still having a hard time choosing socks to pair with blue pants? Soxy also offers bundle packages, which offer five pairs of socks with a similar feature. This Purple Thin Stripe Sock Bundle, for example, is perfect for any businessman looking to branch out from his standard array of socks. The stripes aren’t overpowering, and the purple tone is a perfect complement to a pair of navy pants.

Different Black Shoes for Different Occasions

can you wear black shoes with navy pants
Credit: Soxy

Once the blue pants and socks are chosen, it’s time to move onto shoes. Men’s shoes are almost as varied as women’s shoes these days, with a wide range of styles from casual to formal. And depending on the dress code of the work environment, a multitude of black shoes can be worn with blue pants. One way to match the dress code as best as possible is by picking the appropriate shoes.

Black shoes are a staple of any man’s wardrobe, whether they’re sneakers, formal wear, or boots. It’s because they can be paired with almost any color pants or suits. But essentially, the style of the shoe will determine whether the complete outfit is casual or dressed.

Black shoes, like sneakers, paired with blue pants like jeans are always casual. Oddly enough, white sneakers paired with blue pants such as slacks, or with a full suit, are the shoes that are usually considered business casual or fashion-forward. But outside of jeans and shorts, black sneakers tend not to be found in the workplace. One exception to this rule, however, is if the sneakers are designed to look more like dress shoes and are made of high-quality leather material.

navy blue pants black shoes

Still, if casual shoes are preferred, there are other options! Other casual shoes include:

  • boat shoes 
  • moccasins
  • loafers

Black dress shoes, on the other hand, have a wide spectrum of styles that can range from formal to extremely formal, like black tie or opera shoes. There are a variety of details that determine the formality of the style such as:

  1. Perforation of the shoe
  2. Toe cap of the shoe
  3. Color of the shoe
  4. The material of the shoe
  5. Style of the shoe
black shoes navy pants
Credit: ortodoux

Perforation: Perforations on shoes usually refers to the designs on the shoes, also known as brogues. The most common known brogue styles are full brogue, semi brogue, and quarter brogue.

Toe Cap:  Referring to the piece of leather over where the toe box is in the shoe, the design of the toe cap on a shoe determines its formality as well. The various toe caps are: wingtip, cap toe, plain toe, and whole cut which is actually a shoe made from one whole piece of leather.

Color: Historically, black shoes have been considered the most formal type of shoe wear, specifically black oxfords or an opera pump. But black shoes can also be casual, especially if they have an extra color or feature a pattern on the shoe. These fashion-forward shoes are more acceptable in professional work spaces, but should be avoided for any black tie event.

Material: Leather is the standard for men’s dress shoes, although there are many decent imitation leather shoes that hold up pretty well. When it comes to formality, the shine of the leather plays a key part: Patent leather shoes, usually reserved for opera pumps, are considered the most formal, while suede leather shoes, which look softer, are much more casual. Any other fabric, like canvas or rubber shoes, would also be considered casual.

Style: Lastly, and in conjunction with all the other elements, the style of the shoe helps determine its formality as well. There are a few factors that determine this, from the toe shape of the shoe (pointed or rounded) to the height of the heel and height of the shoe. Additionally, whether a shoe is a slip-on or a lace-up shoe also determines how dressy the shoe is, as well as any details like a tassel or fringe on the top of the shoe.

Familiarity with shoe types and names are important, and this small chart can help distinguish whether those black shoes in your closet are appropriate.

Casual – Happy Hour, Weekend Events

Formal – Professional Events

Flexible – Weddings, Professional Events

Boat Shoes

Oxfords

Penny Loafers

Sneaker-Hybrids

Opera Pump

Chelsea Boots

Drivers

Chukka Boot

Bluchers

 

It can be a little overwhelming, but the beauty of a standard black shoe is that you’ll only need one or two pairs to wear for any occasion.

But if you want to add some personality to your black shoes and blue pants, there are options.

can i wear black shoes with navy pants

Creative sole colors or laces on black shoes is another way to add style. The secondary color of the shoe tends to lean towards brighter colors or uncommon shades of yellow, green, and red. This pop of color on a black shoe can be matched with either the socks you’re wearing, or the blue shade of your pants. It’s a fairly recent trend, and one that Soxy has had a hand in, creating more formal shoes with a little color and personality. That pop of color on a shoe can also be placed on the top part of the shoe, in the side panels of a wingtip design. It’s an updated look on the classic saddle shoe design.

Find the perfect top with black shoes and navy blue pants

When it comes to wearing blue pants and black shoes together, the standard and most acceptable top to wear is a white button-up shirt. It’s perfect for meeting the required dress code, it’s a classic look, and it balances out the rest of an outfit if other accessories are introduced. A white shirt and blue pants are a no-frills, professional outfit that can be found in most people’s wardrobes, and is considered a staple.

navy pants and black shoes

If the rest of the outfit relies on solid colors, a white button-up or even a white sweater with a small, subtle pattern can be worn for more style and creativity.

If you want to introduce more colors into your outfit, you can opt to wear a lighter colored shirt with your blue pants and black shoes. Pale pinks, purples, blues and greys all complement blue pants well, so there’s no need to worry about clashing colors, and these lighter tops pair well with both light blue pants as well as richer blues. If you’re leaning towards a darker palette, dark grey, black, and earthier colors like rust or forest green suits a pair of navy pants and black shoes perfectly.

Want more blue pants black shoes style inspiration? Check out these Instagram accounts

can you wear black shoes with blue pants
Credit: menwithclass

The easiest and best way to try out a new style is to follow a visual guide. Seeing blue pants paired with black shoes, either online or in person, can help with picking out the colors and styles that are personally preferred. With fashion now easily accessible through social media, Instagram is one of the best resources to find inspiration. These select Instagram accounts dedicated to men’s style and menswear are definitely a good resource:

  1. @chrismehan
  2. @soxy
  3. @menwithclass
  4. @gqstyle
  5. @mensweardog

@chrismehan

blue pants black shoes

Chris Mehan’s outfit posts are reminiscent of #OOTD posts that were all the range in Instagram’s infancy stages. His “simple and stylish casual outfit ideas for men” are geared towards the business casual crowd, usually showcasing a crisp button-down shirt paired with slacks, the occasional suit, or a nice pullover sweater. Mehan’s color palette is muted, full of navy, black, forest green, and reds. Everything is well-fitted, and he tends to rotate through favorite color combinations that are in line with the seasons. Mehan’s Instagram account is great for beginners looking to venture out into blue pants and black shoe territory.

@soxy

can you wear black shoes with navy pants
Credit: soxy

A quick flip through of Soxy’s Instagram page reveals a lot of close-ups of socks and shoes, and lots of color. Soxy’s products introduce unconventional colors to classic styles. The socks are paired with a wide range of suit and shoe color combinations for various styling needs and provide great visual examples of which colors go well together. One style tip that can be gleaned from Soxy’s Instagram is to pick one or two colors and stay with that range, like black shoes that have blue accents, and socks with the same blue shade.

@menwithclass

navy blue pants black shoes
Credit: menwithclass

The Instagram account @menwithclass makes suits and navy pants look sexy. Inspired by street style and travel lifestyle photography, the account is a great source of inspiration for color and styling and makes the case for travel-appropriate menswear. The style is in the details, whether that’s the shine of the black shoe or the pattern of the garments, and followers can easily see how taking a style risk can pay off and create a well put together look. While @menwithclass sticks to the standard color palette of navy, black, and grey, it showcases suits and pants both dressed up and dressed down for those who want a more versatile wardrobe.

@gqstyle

black shoes navy pants

For the truly experimental, @gqstyle is one of the top accounts to follow for inspiration. While editorial style fashion can be out there, it’s pretty hard to find a bad outfit in their feed. GQstyle is a great resource for color and pattern mixing, featuring looks from the runway, the magazine, celebrities’ personal photos, and even historical archives. GQstyle is, of course, fashion-forward and trendy, but many of the silhouettes and styles featured on their feed still appeal to the classics. There are definitely a few blue pants and black shoes inspiration photos as well, whether looking for blue jeans or blue slacks pairings.

@mensweardog

navy pants and black shoes
Credit: mensweardog

Combining society’s love of dogs with fashion forward looks, @mensweardog is home to Bodhi, “the most stylish dog in the world.” While Bodhi is often without shoes, he has a fondness for blue suits and styling them in fashion-forward ways, such as with polos or sweatshirts underneath. Menswear dog knows that a blue suit is versatile and that embracing different fabrics can take daily workwear to the next level. Bodhi’s sartorial choices are perfect for men who lean towards a more classic style, with a few trendy or modern pieces to keep it refreshing.

Final Details

can you wear black shoes with blue pants

Finally, to complete the look of blue pants and black shoes, it’s important to check the fit. This comes down to tailoring your pants or shorts to the right length. It also plays off the other elements of an outfit, like most frequently worn shoes. The height of sneakers, boots, and formal wear from the bottom of the foot to the ankle also plays a role in determining the length of the pants that need to be tailored. If the hem of the pants is too long, they’ll bunch up over shoes. If the hem of the pants is too short, it’ll expose the skin, which might not achieve the desired look.

Cropped blue pants with black shoes can be a good business casual option, but the key to making it work is tailoring. Most cropped pants and suits favor the skinny style of casual wear. In a professional setting, you might want to keep the socks neutral, but cropped pants are also a good way to show off funky socks. If you prefer wearing socks but don’t want them to show, Soxy also carries no-show socks, complete with vibrant patterns and designs to provide a hidden splash of color that only the wearer can see. It’s perfect for adding a little bit of individuality, even in a corporate setting.

blue pants black shoes
Credit: hornskovhats

Adding accessories to your outfit also completes the look.  Accessories include hats, scarves, belts, watches, and even your bag. One easy way to keep the outfit put together is to have your accessories match with the rest of your clothing; so, a black belt with black shoes, for example, ties everything together. You can also match your bag or briefcase to your shoes, which is a well-known fashion tip in keeping everything streamlined.

You can also introduce other neutrals into your accessories, like brown or gray to keep everything balanced. They key to accessorizing is to not overpower the complete outfit with either a) too many colors, or b) too many items.

Make the blue pants brown shoes combo work for you

Feel confident to try out this new style? It’s not necessary to implement every change into your wardrobe overnight, but something as simple as changing the color of your everyday pants gives off the impression of a personal style.

Style is a constant evolution based on personal taste and preference that adapts trends new and old and makes it unique. While pairing blue pants with black shoes might not seem too risky, it’s all about presentation and confidence. Experimenting with colors and textures of your clothes can create a whole new look and persona based on how you feel and throwing in some cool-patterned socks is definitely one of the easier steps to improving your fashion game.