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What Color Socks to Wear With Brown Shoes?

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

what color socks to wear with brown shoes

The question, “What color socks to wear with brown shoes?” has echoed through the minds of many style-conscious individuals. It’s a conundrum that has sparked numerous debates among style enthusiasts, and for good reason.

Believe it or not, there are people who will be perplexed if they see you wear you the “wrong” color of socks! After all, in the world of fashion, every detail counts.

But don’t worry! This guide will help you in understanding the basics of color coordination and step out with confidence!

Matching Socks with Brown Footwear


The thing is, you don’t really have to be a fashion expert to figure out what works with brown shoes. Selecting the right socks to complement brown footwear only takes a basic grasp of color rules and its application.

The interplay of colors is a complex art, and understanding its principles can significantly enhance your fashion choices. Here are some of the basics when it comes to color-matching:

1. Complementary Colors

One of the foundational concepts in color theory is the idea of complementary colors. On the color wheel, these are pairs of colors that are positioned opposite each other.

In the case of brown, which is a warm and earthy color, its complementary color is blue. So, blue socks can create a striking contrast with brown clothing, making them a versatile and stylish choice.

2. Analogous Colors

On the color wheels, these colors are plaed next to each other. When wearing brown, you can consider colors like deep red, orange, or even a rich burgundy for your socks.

This creates a harmonious and visually pleasing combination, as these colors share similar undertones.

3. Monochromatic Scheme

If you prefer a more understated and sophisticated look, you can opt for a monochromatic color scheme.

This involves selecting shades of brown for both your clothing and socks, creating a refined appearance and allowing your choice of footwear to blend seamlessly with your outfit.

Aside from these color theories, here are other things that you may consider in choosing the right hue to match your dress socks with brown shoes:

  • Occasion
  • Personal Style

Ultimately, your choice of sock color should also consider the occasion and your personal style.

For formal settings, sticking to classic colors when coordinating socks, like brown and navy or brown and black, can be a safe bet.

On the other hand, for casual or creative occasions, you have more room to experiment with bolder choices like green and purple that reflect your personality.

If you are still having a hard time identifying what color socks go with brown shoes, you can refer to this chart:

Shoe Color Pants Color Brown Shoes Sock Color



Gray Gray, Navy, Red, Burgundy, Purple, Pastels, Olive
Navy Gray, Navy, Burgundy, Olive, Sky Blue, Purple, Red, Olive
Khaki Khaki, Olive, Brown, Navy, Charcoal
Olive Khaki, Olive, Brown, Navy
Brown Khaki, Olive, Burgundy, Brown
Black Red, Purple, Pastels, Sky Blue, Burgundy

Fashion Dos and Don’ts With Brown Shoes

Determining the right sock color for brown shoes is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fashion. Here are some fashion dos and don’t when sporting brown shoes:

1. No brown in town!


The idea behind this rule is rooted in some class distinctions. Back in the day, brown was considered a more casual, countryside color, while black and gray were the sophisticated choices for city life.

So, “No brown in town” was like a sartorial way of saying, “Save the earth tones for the countryside, buddy.”

This being said, avoid wearing brown shoes at events that call for a more formal attire!

2. No brown after six!


Back in the day, someone somewhere decided that brown was a daytime color. Evening wear? Nah, brown’s got no business there. It’s as if brown becomes fashion contraband after six.

This is because brown is often associated with nature, earthiness, and simplicity. This symbolism doesn’t align with the idea of sophistication and opulence that evening events typically demand.

Darker colors like black, deep blue, or charcoal gray were thought to be more appropriate for evening affairs as they exuded a sense of refinement.

However, this rule is not strictly followed nowadays, and you only need to think about it when dressing for formal events.

3. Avoid wearing brown shoes with black suits/pants!


This rule advises against pairing certain colors or patterns with black suits due to their formality and the potential for clashes.

Black shoes and suits are traditionally reserved for serious and formal occasions, while brown shoes are considered less suitable for black suits and more common in casual settings.

4. Avoid mixing patterns.


If your pants already have patterns, avoid those decorative markings on socks and vice versa. Socks with very colorful or bold motifs are often casual, so they may be unsuitable for formal events.

Pinstripe, argyle, and ribbing are generally okay in a work environment.


Choosing what color socks to wear with brown shoes can significantly impact your overall look, whether you’re dressing for a formal occasion, a casual outing, or something in between.

In this comprehensive guide, we have delved deep into the art of sock selection when it comes to brown footwear, providing you with valuable insights and style tips to help you step out with confidence and flair.

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