POLL: Brown shoes and dark suits in ENGLAND - CBD? UCBD? Heresy?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Balfour, Aug 22, 2012.

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Are dark brown shoes acceptable with dark suits as appropriate professional dress in ENGLAND?

  1. Never

    17 vote(s)
    24.3%
  2. Yes - but not as CBD

    27 vote(s)
    38.6%
  3. Yes - but not as UCBD

    21 vote(s)
    30.0%
  4. Yes - even as UCBD

    5 vote(s)
    7.1%
  1. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    I agree. In my opinion, shoes, like dark suiting, can be close to black but should never be actual black. If you're going with a navy suit in town, very very dark brown is preferable to black, something between these two:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    Quote: I agree - that is why I think the convention is unfortunate: it precludes the aesthetically more appealing option, at least for CBD (I voted "yes, but not for CBD" FWIW).

    Thanks for posting the picture.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  3. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    I hope this does not come to pass: I am not suggesting it would be desirable to abandon a conservative dress code (although this does not seem to depend on the Alternative Business Structures reforms, see, e.g. Allen & Overy(*) - business casual all year, all week apart from client meetings).

    Indeed, I shudder when I read some of the posts here that say people need to contend with work dress codes that specifically prohibit ties, for example.

    Instead I am suggesting that it would be desirable if the convention in the UK did not frown upon pairing the right sort of brown shoes with dark suits.

    (*) For non-lawyers, A&O is a large commercial 'white shoe' law firm in London.
     
  4. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Link?

    I think the OP covered it pretty well. The farther you get from the square mile, the less eccentric brown shoes will appear. But, like everything, there are caveats. The City is all about business and I can't really imagine not wearing a suit there, which definitely means black shoes. I would not wear brown shoes with a dark suit in a private club. But I would wear brown shoes with an odd jacket. Odd jackets can be perfectly OK in a private club but I wouldn't wear one for business.

    You do see people in the square mile wearing brown or cordovan/ox blood shoes but they are inevitably foreigners. Cordovan/ox blood is, in fact, usually an American affectation. So you can wear non-black shoes with a dark suit if you want. But bear in mind you are making not only a fashion statement but a social one.
     
  5. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    this is strange...
     
  6. cosmic

    cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Dark brown oxfords are IMO acceptable in the city if they are paired with a well-fitting conservative navy suit, since the colour matches so well. I would not wear dark brown oxfords with a charcoal or dark grey suit whilst on serious business in the conservative parts of London. Mid-grey is borderline.

    I see many people wearing suits without ties, and badly fitting suits, and beater black shoes. These all look infinitely worse than a good pair of dark brown oxfords paired with a navy suit and tie.

    Also, one should not be a slave to convention. Conventions only change because a few independent-minded people correctly perceive their flaws, and then start flouting the flawed rule for good reason. So, as a style-conscious London banker or lawyer, it is not just permissible, but it is your solemn moral duty to wear dark brown oxfords with navy suits at least once a week, and to defend it stoutly if challenged.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2012
  7. Joker Man

    Joker Man Senior member

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    Black shoes only. Brown shoes are for Cockney east enders at the fish market.
     
  8. Lucan

    Lucan Senior member

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    I prefer the look of black with grey suits personally, but will occasionally wear brown for a bit of variety.
    With dark blue suits, I prefer the look of brown, but will wear black for a bit of variety.
    This, however, is based on the fact I'm not in the city. I work at a firm of consultants in a small town who mostly wear jeans and I just wear suits for pleasure, not because the rules say I must.

    I voted Yes - but not CBD. If you want to look smart, black will always be right, but brown could look wrong or be seen as wrong in the eye of the beholder, and I think that is they key part.
     
  9. williamson

    williamson Senior member

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    But who are the men whom one sees in "the square mile"? Granted, they could be those who work in the city, but they could be casual visitors.
    I do not like brown with blue, and certainly would never wear brown shoes with a navy suit; but you are right that suits without ties are infinitely worse. This CANNOT be too strongly stressed!
    And so do I - see my comment above. The prejudice against the tie needs to be vigorously combatted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  10. stupendous

    stupendous Senior member

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    depends on the occasion, no?


    I like both choices. :)


    Why fritzi?


    I'm not English, but black only for EVERYTHING business? Not even these?

    http://leathersoulhawaii.com/2011/09/09/saint-crispins-105-wingtip-lsw-lsbh/

    I try to wear brown as much as I can, and it's been noticed in a positive way.
     
  11. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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    I like both black and brown shoes with dark suits, but IMO if you go with brown it has to be the right shade, i.e. very dark and preferably desaturated. And while it may look good, it certainly isn't conservative.
     
  12. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    because we're not eyetalians aka spaghtifresser, katzlmacher...
     
  13. Jermyn

    Jermyn Senior member

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    In my experience of IB either brown or black is an acceptable choice.
    Black tends to be preferred for client meetings and is more popular with over 40s.
    It is always the more conservative choice.

    I have a friend who works for Bloomberg (a more relaxed office environment) and he was terrified of 'deviating'.

    He finally bought a pair of dark slate EG wingtips (barley distinguishable from black, under all but the brightest of lights) and was relieved to find that nobody cared in the slightest. As a consequence he has now bought a pair of oxblood and a pair of dark brown captoes. These have also escaped criticism.

    I often get the impression that 'normal' people absolutely do not care about these kinds of things, either that or they don't notice them.
    There are just vague ideas of what constitutes being dressed for business and most people adhere to the default (i.e. black shoes)


    My current place of work, in Mayfair is a completely different story.
    Ties are never seen but waistcoats, braces, grey suede shoes, burgundy double monks, lilac socks etc. are all perfectly acceptable.
     
  14. stupendous

    stupendous Senior member

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    Agreed. I've worked in banking a loooong time, and black shoes are the predominant choice. Never mind if they're butt-ugly, or dirty or unshined, 8 out of 10 will be in black shoes.

    In my present place of employment, there are only two of us that wear decent brown shoes. Most every other male in the office wears black. I was even admonished for having colourful socks.

    You place of work sounds interesting J. I take it you're done with IB?
     
  15. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    I think I have worn brown shoes in London once in my life and it made me feel very peacocky and disreputable.
     

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