Originally Posted by gdl203
My own version of that rule:
Black shoes=boring; wear only when I have to
Brown shoes=stylish and elegant
Well then we are mostly in agreement.
You agree with me that black shoes are worn because one 'has' to. That means you know perfectly well that black shoes are more formal, more proper and more correct. You would only wear black shoes to a job interview or to a black tie event. It follows that brown shoes are necessarily less formal and hence more casual. That is what it means when I say:
Black shoes=full dress
Brown shoes=half dress
Where we diverge (hey it's OK if we dress differently!) is that I prefer to wear proper, understated and inconspicuously sleek black dress shoes with a dark suit and that brown shoes necessitate dressing down accordingly. I am merely stating the obvious when I say that black is more correct with a dark coloured suit.
I think you will all agree that there is a danger in prescribing formulas such as:
For a start there are other colours that may be preferable to frank shades of brown for wearing discreetly with a dark coloured suit, such as those which are close enough to black so as to look black unless they catch the light at the right angle eg aubergine/eggplant, dark green, midnight navy, and dark anthracite grey. Still, with any colour other than black you risk looking foppish and this arguably always represents a small compromise in dressiness. It may still count as 3/4 or 4/5 dress (if there was such a thing!), but never truly full dress (I am assuming that standard modern day time 'full dress' is the dark coloured lounge suit rather than morning dress).
I should also like to mention that I get the impression from my visits to the US that it is more acceptable in America to wear brown shoes with a dark suit, whereas wearing proper black shoes is more English. The preference for a brown shoe with a dark suit on this forum partially reflects the proportion of American forum members here.