Sartoria Lab


What shoes should I wear with a smart casual outfit?

When I go to clients houses to do a wardrobe edit  I'll often find a distinct lack of shoes. They will probably have some smart black Oxfords to wear with suits and some sport trainers and perhaps some hiking boots, but quite regularly I'll find there's not a lot in between, so they struggle putting together a smart casual look.

So I often find myself looking for this style when we go on a personal shopping trip. As well as buying smart leather trainers  (you can see the sort of style I mean here though they don't have to be white), we also look for ones that can be a little more formal and be worn for work and / or going out.

Russell Bromley navy derby lace up - smart casual shoes for summer

Last week I was shopping with a client who dresses in a contemporary classic way and we'd bought some grey jeans and pale grey/blue slim cut chinos which we needed to some shoes to go with. He already has some brown suede derbies, so it made sense to go for an alternative colour and these went really well with the trousers. I advised him to avoid wearing them with the navy chinos he had from our last shopping trip though, as navy shoes look best with contrasting colour trousers.

'Passport' navy derby lace up - Russell & Bromley - £195

Paul Smith boots - shoes to wear with smart casual outfits for men

The soft soles of these boots make them perfect to put together with smart/casual looks. The client that bought these, had about 3 pairs of shoes in his wardrobe so he desperately needed a refresh!! They'll go well with jeans and a blazer or chinos and a casual jacket. Although not particularly summery, they're perfect for Spring and Autumn. You'll be pleased to know he also bought 2 x chukka boots, 2 x brogues, and 2 x smart trainers as well, so he now has more shoes than he's ever had!!

'Cleon chocolate brown leather boots - PS by Paul Smith - £200

Tan suede brogues - smart casual styling for men

Suede always feels a bit more summery and as long as you use a protective spray, they should last well. ( I sometimes steam my suede shoes over the kettle too, to keep them looking fresh). They're a great classic style to have in this chestnut colour and are versatile enough to go with a casual summer suit or jeans, plus cotton trousers or chinos. If you're only going to get one pair then I'd make it something like this.

Chesnut suede brogues - Magnanni at Harvey Nichols - £265

Grenson beige suede shoes - personal stylist shopper for men

I haven't yet bought this style with anyone but if I was looking for something slightly younger and more fashion forward then I'd go for these. The lighter colour, along with the suede makes them great for summer and as you can see if you click through to the Grenson site, they look good with rolled jeans and no socks. Being a little chunkier, they'll also balance out some of the wider leg trousers that are coming through as we move away from skinnies.

'Curt' velvet suede derby in Maple - Grenson - £240

Brown suede tassel loafers - personal stylist for men

A client bought some loafers similar to these to wear for smart/casual evenings. He lives in a warmer climate than the UK and wanted something different from the regular derby style that he wears for work. These go particularly well with light summer trousers in fabrics like seersucker, linen and cotton and perhaps an unstructured & unlined blazer or to smarten up a cuban collared shirt.

Brown suede tassel loafers - Sons of London - £220

If you only have smart black Oxfords and sport trainers in your wardrobe and never know what to wear when you go out, then contact me about a personal shopping trip to buy some smart/casual wear including shoes!

"Sarah is well worth her fees. Makes shopping efficient and painless for clueless men like me without being pushy. Recommended!"

I need to shop for a smart/casual wardrobe!

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