Slowly but surely many people are faced with the prospect of going back to the office.
While working from home gives us the freedom to wear whatever we want to work, at least when it comes to pants (thanks, Zoom meetings), heading back into a professional setting requires us to step up our fashion game.
Black, navy blue, brown, and gray are the colors now back in focus as those colors represent the business world.
Since we haven’t put together a whole outfit in a long time, we will have a close look at some combinations for a gray suit.
If you have such a suit in your closet, and you can’t quite figure out what to pair it with, no worries.
There are plenty of ideas for you here! So let’s deep dive into the question: What Color Shoes and Belts Go With a Gray Suit?
What Color Shoes and Belts Go With a Gray Suit?
Navy blue, cognac brown, and black are your best bets concerning which color shoes and belt you might want to consider wearing with a gray suit. Most shoe stores, especially in the fall and winter months, stock these colors in copious amounts. Retailers that specialize in shoes are notorious for stocking belts as well, so chances are, you’ll be able to pick up a brand new navy blue, cognac brown, or black matching pair of shoes and a belt in the same spot! Fashion is a very personal thing, so if you’re feeling a different color, such as a dark brown, to go with your gray suit, don’t be afraid to give it a shot!
Dressing Up Your Gray Suit
Even if you’re not going back into an office setting, there will eventually be a time when you’re going out on the town or to a fancy event.
Knowing how to dress up and match a gray suit is crucial, because put simply, it’s not easy.
You’ll notice that many people, both men, and women, regularly choose black suits over gray.
This predictable choice happens because black is easier to dress, but it looks incredibly sharp and pulled together when a gray suit is matched perfectly.
When it comes to the shirt and tie, gray suits are combinable with a lot of colors.
However, when you look at the options for shoes and belts, it narrows down to black, brown, camel, and blue.
And here it’s not only a question of the shoe color but also the type of shoe plays a decisive role.
Before choosing the shoe, be aware of the occasion.
Also, the shoe will determine the appearance of the outfit: sporty, elegant, or classic business?
It makes a difference if you wear loafers, formal lace-up shoes such as Oxfords, or sneakers to your gray suits.
The Classic Business Shoe
Oxford shoes are classic business shoes.
Constructed from almost one piece of leather, the shoe became THE business shoe.
Over the years different designs of the shoe were developed, such as the Oxford Brogue Shoe with perforated decorations along the seams and often a design on the toe cap.
The More Casual Option
Loafers are slightly less formal – especially since they were worn without socks over the last couple of seasons.
They were especially famous amongst American colleague students – comfy and no need to fasten any shoelaces.
Just slip in and be ready to go.
And while in the 80s the shoe was also worn with socks (yes, even with white socks) apparently also the college students made the “slip in without sock” look famous.
Today or I should say currently that kind of shoes are mainly worn without socks, which leads to the discussion within conservative companies if this is really a business look.
The Informal Option
For a casual Friday or to obtain a business chic dress coat, sneakers are a good option. Just make sure that they are not worn out, clean, and not too fancy for a business environment.
Meaning: leave the bold color combination at home and choose some sophisticated sneakers.
If you are planning to go for an after-work-drink, leave the jacket in the office.
Alternatively, you can switch the formal shirt with a white t-shirt and wear the suit jacket.
Both options take away the formal appearance of the suit.
No matter what style of dress shoe you choose to wear, they’ll take your gray suit from drab to fab in thirty seconds or less.
Add a Belt
While fashion has come a long way in the past twenty years or so, it’s still relatively important to match your shoes and your belt.
Suits really shouldn’t be worn without a belt, even if you’re going for a casual vibe.
It’s a pleasing aesthetic and easier on the eye.
You don’t have to purchase your belt from the same store from which you bought your shoes.
Also, your belt and shoes do not have to be the exact same color.
Your feet and waist are far enough apart that a slight color variation will go unnoticed.
Dress Down Your Gray Suit
Gray suits have blown up in popularity recently, from grooms to CEOs, it seems that everyone is wearing one!
The best aspect of a gray suit is that it’s easier to dress down than a black one.
Gray suit pants or slacks look incredible with a white button-down shirt.
Without a jacket, it looks casual, and yet has a business appearance.
Also, you can pair your gray suit with, wait for it, sneakers!
Chuck Taylors or Nike Blazer Mid 77 are matching well with a gray suit, but other brands offer fashion athletic choices that look fantastic.
When dressing down your gray suit, choose a pair of (clean) sneakers in a muted color.
Chucks come in various colors, and with a gray suit, you could choose navy blue, white, black, or burgundy!
Finding a belt to match your chucks is the icing on top of the fashion cake.
You’re sure to turn heads in a dressed-down gray suit.
What Color Shoes and Belt Go With a Gray Suit? FAQ’s
Can I wear red shoes with a gray suit?
Red and gray go very well together. However, I feel the red shoes are rather something women can combine with a gray suit. You don’t want to look like the pope on a business trip, and always have the occasion in mind: red shoes might not be suitable for your next business meeting. Choose red socks instead to have an eyecatcher in your look. Or choose the red shoes for a more casual outfit.
Does it matter if the suit is light grey or charcoal?
Yes, it matters. Light grey is more casual, while charcoal grey is very formal. Also when it comes to the color of the shoes, there are differences: both pair well with black shoes, however, when wearing a charcoal suit choose dark brown shoes or deep burgundy shoes.
Putting an Outfit Together
In reality, each of us needs to consider our preferences when we’re getting dressed.
We should take established fashion “rules” and play with them, tweaking them here and there to fit our personalities.
However, never underestimate the occasion, sometimes it needs to be the classic formal business look and sometimes you can mix your creations with one part of formal business attire.