What To Wear With Brown Shoes: Matching Pants to Light Brown, Tan, or Cognac Leather

by Barron Cuadro  |  in Smart Casual

Have you ever wondered what to wear with light brown, tan, or cognac colored leather shoes? Dark brown shoes, easy, Black leather shoes, easy… but what about light brown?

I personally love that light brown / tan leather color for shoes, and today, I’ll show you which pants look best with this color leather shoe.

I’ll also show you one option that looks great, but that you’d never expect… and also a few pants colors to AVOID wearing with tan leather shoes.

By the way, all the tan leather shoes I’m using as examples today are from Ace Marks. In case you haven’t come across Ace Marks yet, they’re known for their high-end leather dress shoes and sneakers in both classic and unique color combos.

Super premium, really beautiful shoes.

Each shoe is made from full-grain calfskin both inside and out.

Everything is handcrafted, hand-dyed, and hand-burnished by a family-run company of 4th-generation master craftsmen.

These craftsmen also do work for really high-end brands whose shoes sell north of $600, so you know you’re getting a great deal in terms of materials and build quality when you buy Ace Marks shoes.

Ace Marks

Ace Marks is a reasonably priced, cleverly contemporary, utterly luxurious and comfortable dress shoe

Check Latest Price

So let’s get into the combos, shall we?

Prefer video?

I put together a video for our YouTube channel with all these shoe and pant combinations. Check it out below.

pants #1: Dark denim or navy chinos

A deep dark blue with tan leather shoes is a classic, no-fail combo. Not only can you wear navy chinos, but dark denim as well.

In fact any denim with a medium blue wash or darker will look great.

So whether you pick up this pair or already have a pair of your own, medium to dark denim will look sharp when paired together.

As far as what to wear up top? Don’t let the tan leather color throw you. You can pretty much wear anything you’d normally wear with dark blue denim, weather that’s a white OCBD, grey T-shirt, red and black buffalo check flannel, even a chambray… it’s hard to go wrong.

pants #2: Medium grey chinos

Medium to dark grey (charcoal) with tan leather shoes is another color combo that looks great.

But, to be honest, these shades of grey look good with all colors. In this case, it really lets that tan color pop.

As far as the rest of the outfit, just make sure your shirt looks good with medium grey / charcoal, which is hard to get wrong since grey matches with all your other colors.

pants #3: White jeans

White denim or chinos and tan loafers are practically my uniform in the summer.

I love this combo for warm weather dressing, or when I’m traveling to a more tropical locale. I usually wear this with a blue chambray or a navy or olive linen shirt.

Similar to your dark blue denim or grey chinos, practically any shirt will look great with this white / tan combo. Feel free to experiment with brighter, more vibrant colors up top (like a red polo or your favorite floral print short sleeve shirt).

pants Choice #4: Burgundy / green chinos or cords

Want an awesome look for the colder months? Go with a burgundy or dark green corduroy with a tan chukka or Chelsea boot.

Olive or army green also works well, but for winter or the holidays, that deep, rich, dark green looks extra awesome. The richness of the tan leather will go nicely with the deep burgundy tone as well.

Jewel tones and more deep, rich colors look great in the winter. Just think of a typical tartan plaid scarf with navy and green, red and yellow. When you pair that scarf up with a menswear neutral like an olive green or grey, those colors pop! Same goes for burgundy and dark green.

With burgundy or dark green pants, I’d wear something simple up top. Maybe a white shirt, light grey, light blue, or camel.

pants Choice #5: Black jeans

You might think you can’t wear a brown shoe with a pair of black pants, but you’d be wrong!

Tan leather especially can look really sharp and interesting with black pants. The chelseas above are a great example. I would definitely rock these with black denim all day.

The only time the “black with black, brown with brown” rule applies is when you’re wearing a suit. If you have a black suit on, you should avoid dark brown leather shoes. That would be weird.

But don’t be afraid to experiment with black and brown in your casual outfits. You can go with a really inky pair of dark black denim, or something washed and slightly faded.

Up top, you have as much freedom as you do with a pair of dark blue denim. I’d wear a chambray shirt or maybe something in a fall tone like burgundy or dark green.

Avoid These pants with Tan Leather Shoes

There are a few colors that don’t look so great with tan leather. Really, it will depend on the shade of tan / cognac you have.

Just keep in mind contrast. You want contrast between your pants color and the color of leather.

Avoid medium khaki / tan pants

If the contrast is too low, it doesn’t look great. Plus this look is too matchy matchy and kinda dorky looking.

But if you can go either a bit lighter with the pants, or a bit darker with the shoes, then that contrast looks much better.

Avoid light grey pants with loafers

Same thing: the lack of contrast doesn’t work that well here. It’s not terrible, but it’s not… great.

When you compare it to a slightly tweaked version with a bit more contrast, doesn’t that look much better?

So, tell me…

What’s your favorite color pants to wear with tan leather shoes? Tweet me »

These are the shoes I used as examples in this post and the video:

Ace Marks

Ace Marks is a reasonably priced, cleverly contemporary, utterly luxurious and comfortable dress shoe

Check Latest Price