I used to have a pearl grey herringbone cashmere jacket. I loved it, but it is a little tricky to use for exactly the reason you highlight. I found it worked best within (relatively) monochromatic looks. For example, charcoal/mid-grey or winter-white/cream trousers & black shoes/boots or oxblood/burgundy ones respectively. Shirt white or those very pale/icy shades of blue or pink. Tie dark grey or black or with the cream trousers/oxblood shoes combo, you can go for a dark colour tie (navy, forest green, chocolate brown, etc).
Professor Monkey is right that the default is still black shoes with a navy suit. I recall a great deal of news print when the England squad for the World Cup wore tan shoes with navy suits in an Italian-inspired ensemble...David Beckham henceforth led a GQ revolution. But that's still rather what it is: something of a fashion statement.
Not that I see anything wrong with it, and I'm wearing darker tan shoes with a navy suit today. I think as Dr Holdfast said, it draws attention away from the face, which might be an advantage Stitchy and I have already considered! Anyway, it's definitely not wrong in my book. Just a lot more casual: contrasting shoes is more or less the same as going with an odd jacket, I think.
no. the default with a navy suit is not black shoes. at least not universally. and anyone who says that there is anything wrong with brown shoes and a navy suit is a moron. its classic italian look. its just (apparently) not very british.
as i understand it, HF was more remarking on the particularly light shade of brown, or rather chestnut, that i was wearing with a navy suit. im pretty certain that that is also a rather acceptable italian combo, and some love it and some hate it, as its jarring nature is not really deniable.
I pretty much agree with both of you, in fact. For me, the default with navy suits is indeed black shoes... and most of the time, I feel that looks by far the best. But I do certainly recognise a useful/acceptable/more informal role for either very dark brown or dark burgundy. In fact, inspired by the discussion yesterday, I chose to wear a burgundy pair with a navy suit today. What I don't much like is lighter brown with navy. Obviously it has found widespread acceptability and naturally, I can rationally accept that... but my gut still tells me that it looks wrong, and I don't wear it.
If the suit is a lighter shade of blue, then lighter brown can look just fine, though. For example, a sapphire blue or RAF blue or steel blue or equally light summer suit could pair very nicely with a number of shades of brown inc. light brown. My distaste for them is predominantly with dark navy.
Anyway, that burgundy shoes/navy suit combo I mentioned. Lighting was even more terrible than usual, so the correction is equally harsh:
Edited by Holdfast - 2/5/14 at 8:29am