If you believe that owning more than two pairs of shoes is strictly for a metrosexual, think again. Being appropriately dressed is a sign of respect to yourself and the places you go. Don’t believe that clothes say something about you? Think about the last sporting event you attended.
The Black Shoe
The black shoe should be the most formal shoe in your wardrobe. These are the shoes that you wear with a suit to weddings, funerals and job interviews. They should be made of leather and have leather soles. The most classic style will be a pair with laces that has a slightly pointed toe. Try to avoid styles like penny loafers or shoes with tassels, which can look dated or out of place in all but the most conservative events.
Before purchasing a pair of shoes, be sure to try them on with a pair of dress socks. Dress shoes should not be uncomfortable, so walk around in them a bit, making sure there is plenty of room in the toe box. To ensure the best fit, go shopping late afternoon, when the foot is slightly larger. Plan on investing in these shoes and buying shoetrees to help keep the shape. If you take care of a well-made pair of shoes, they can easily last ten years.
The Brown Shoe
The brown shoe should be a similar style to the black shoe, and will easily be the most versatile pair in your wardrobe. Choose a pair in dark brown leather that you could envision wearing with both pants and jeans.
When trying to decide which pair of shoes to wear with a navy or gray suit, consider the event. Traditionally, black shoes will further ‘dress up’ a suit, while brown shoes will make it more casual. In a conservative environment wear the black shoes regardless of how casual the event. With jeans, take a look at your top half before deciding what shoes to wear. If you’re wearing dark jeans and a sweater or button down shirt, choose the brown shoes. If your jeans are heavily distressed, or you are wearing a t-shirt, choose something else.
The Euro Sneaker
The euro sneaker is a sleeker, leather shoe to replace your gym shoes. An actual euro sneaker looks like a leather tennis shoe, but you do not necessarily need that specific style. Any lace up modern style made of dark leather that can be worn with jeans are a good idea. A pair of Doc Martens or even a pair of Converse can substitute if you like a retro look. These are the shoes to wear with a t-shirt and jeans.
The Brown Sandal
A brown leather sandal is the refined answer to Birkenstocks, Tevas, and plastic sandals. Equally appropriate with linen pants and jeans, these are the shoes to wear to the beach and back yard barbeques. The key to versatility is to choose a simple thong style in dark leather. Be sure to try these on just as you would any other shoe. Check to make sure your heal is not on the very edge of the sole and that the leather is not tight on the top of the foot.
The Athletic Shoe
An athletic shoe is the shoe that you wear to the gym or for a run. The only requirement for the shoe is that it is appropriate for whatever you do to keep in shape. Do not, however, make the mistake of thinking that athletic shoes are also appropriate for errand running. A bright white sneaker is fine for the gym, wear it with a pair of jeans and it will be the focal point of your outfit. You might not mind, but do you really want the shoe you spend four hours a week sweating into to be thing people remember?