The Shoe Snob Blog

May 7, 2012

Written by , Posted in News

Balancing Your Outfit

Expensive suits, crap shoes (with the exception of Colin Farrell, who looks to have some decent ones)

Everything has its place, whether it’s cheap shoes, expensive suits, mediocre shirts, wrinkled trousers etc., but too often do you see a lot of men jumbling them all together in a way that does not make sense. There are ways to mix and match them, get away with it and still look relatively good. Take me for example, often I wear cheap shirts purchased at Primark, and then pair them with expensive suits and shoes. Most of the time, no one notices, but I can tell you that there is a difference, and I can see it, as well as feel it. When I look at my colleagues £100+ shirts, their collars and quality of shirt material look infinitely better than mine. Granted, I do this on purpose as I deal with polish all day long, particularly black polish, which I will have you know is very hard to get off of a white shirt, and therefore don’t want to wear nice shirts that I will constantly run the risk of ruining. And since the collars have built in stiffeners, they usually look decent enough….allowing me to balance my outfit, as the other articles of clothing within my outfit tend to correlate in price. But the other day, I made the mistake of wearing a very nice suit, with some shoes that did not correlate, in price, quality, or look and realized that so many men do this, and ruin their entire look, as I had.

Expensive Suit, cheap shoes = no good
Expensive suit, expensive shoes = good

For the life of me, I can’t understand why most men will fork out loads of money on their suits but then will only want to spend 1/5 of that on their shoes. I mean, if you can afford a £1000 suit, then certainly you can afford £400+ shoes. For me, the rule would be that you should spend half of what you are giving for your suit, on your shoes. Just to clarify, if your suit is £1000, then ideally (in my twisted mind) your shoes should be cost around £500. This way, you maintain a good balance in your outfit, because it is so amazingly noticeable when someone is wearing a decent suit with the crappiest £100 shoes. When you do this, you stick out like a sore thumb and no matter how nice or expensive your suit is, your shoes just kill the entire outfit. However, there are ways to fool people as some shoes can look real good and expensive but not be. For example, when you shine a shoe up, that has a decent leather but be a mid range shoe, you could easily pass it off as something of higher quality due to the maintenance that you have given it. It is surprising how a shine can make a shoe look so much more expensive than it actually is. But this will require a bit of knowledge in knowing what is able to get there and what isn’t, as a cheap leather won’t look good no matter how high you shine it.

Photo Courtesy of Rugged Old Salt
Both Shoes by Spigola by Koji Suzuki, Photos courtesy of Rugged Old Salt

NOT THESE BELOW

Now, the buck doesn’t stop with incorrect price correlation within your articles of clothing, but also needs to take into account the types of styles that you are putting together. What I mean by this is the act mixing trendy attire with classic attire, certain Italian shoes with English suits etc. If you have a nice Savile Row suit with a very English cut, it would look absolutely silly to pair it with some ostentatious trendy designer shoe by LV or Gucci. They just don’t go…and that’s not to say that the English cut suit has to go with English made shoes, because that’s not the case either. It’s about matching styles. Elegant for elegant, trendy with trendy. When you start to blur the lines a bit too much, you throw off the balance of your outfit and thus your look. Obviously there are some style icons who can do this and get away with it, but it’s very difficult to do. If you are wearing a very slim cut Italian suit with soft lines, then don’t be afraid to wear your Ferragamo tassel loafers….but then you would want to sTay away from some heavy, double-soled British brogue. Like for like, in style and price, will allow you to keep a good balance in your outfit at all times.