The big shoe dilemma - black or brown?
To be or not to be, red or black, Deal or no Deal? Indeed man has faced many great dilemmas through history and will undoubtedly face many more in the future. Yet no dilemma will ever challenge that which passes through the minds of shoe wearers around the globe — black or brown?
Flexibility — matching or clashing?
Matching or clashing?
Whether it be blue jeans or white chinos, men’s black shoes are unrivalled for flexibility — quite simply, they will go with just about anything. Brown shoes on the other hand, err foot, are a little bit particular about what they’re associated with and clashes with certain colours are common. If you want flexibility, go back to black.
Style — cool or fool?
Look cool or be a fool?
When it comes to style, brown shoes have a certain je ne sais quoi and offer that touch of class needed to set off an outfit. Though there is most definitely a danger of getting it horribly wrong and looking like a pimp at a funeral. Black shoes offer a subtle kiss of style and won’t let you down, but sometimes they play it too safe and aren’t even noticed.
Occasion — sheep or wolf?
Rebellious or regimented?
There’s a misconception that the occasion dictates the colour of the shoe, but that isn’t necessarily the case. If it’s a funeral, then sure black shoes are your best bet, and this may also be the best option for the majority of job interviews. With everything else from weddings to creative job interviews, well it depends on what you’re wearing or how you’re feeling, but black tends to be more uniform and brown more rebellious.
Distinction — blend or rustle
Blend in or stand out? - Photo by Ed Yourdon
Make no mistake, brown shoes will steal the show
when you first walk into a room — infusing the wearer with an air of distinction, but sometimes stealing the show from the wearer himself. Black shoes might seem unspectacular in comparison and sure they can blend into any party without a second glance. However shine those beauties up and match them with the right clobber, and they’ll give brown shoes a fight.
Character — you talking to me or would you like to talk to me?
Mob boss or bohemian? - Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Black and brown shoes certainly give off different signals; intensified even more by the type of person who is wearing them. From mob bosses to nightclub bouncers to the police force, one might be forgiven for thinking black shoes have an intimidating, no-nonsense approach. Brown shoes tend to be on the feet of bohemian beatniks and artists, academics and librarians and posers and playboys.
Of course you don’t have to be any of the above to enjoy either colour — just remember it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it.