Do you ever find yourself wondering if it's even possible to wear dress shoes with jeans? I’m here to tell you that it is.
The key to pulling off this look seamlessly is abiding by a few rules. The 5 dress shoe and jean rules to be exact.
So what are these style rules?
- Wear the right jeans
- Choose the right dress shoes
- Balance the other elements
- Use the right combinations
- Know the occasion
Dress Shoes With Jeans Tip #1: Wear the right type of jeans
There are a million types of jeans out there. Well, maybe not that many – but a lot.
While all jeans are casual there are some kinds that are dressier than others. Opt for the dressier variety.
Distressed jeans, jeans with holes, and jeans with a lighter wash are all ultra-casual and will NEVER go well with dress shoes.
Instead, opt for denim that fits well in the waist and the hips. Watch the length of the jeans and see to it that they are not too long and drag.
Find jeans that have a more tapered fit at the bottom. Boot cut jeans will not work with dress shoes.
Never go with a baggy fit but opt for a slim or regular cut.
What about skinny jeans? Avoid these. Skinny jeans are way too tight around the legs, and the dress shoes will look more like clown shoes.
As for color you will not go wrong with dark indigo jeans or even a black pair.
It may surprise you but colored denim – provided it is the right fit and length – can work with black or dark brown dress shoes.
The main thing to make sure of is that there is enough contrast between the shoes and the jeans so they do not appear to match exactly.
Dress Shoes With Jeans Tip #2: Find The Best Dress Shoes To Wear With Jeans
It’s not just the jeans that play a part in making sure that your whole ensemble works.
It is equally important to be mindful of the dress shoes that you choose.
When picking out dress shoes select a pair that leans more on the casual side.
Oxford shoes are great dress shoes but they are on the more formal end of the spectrum and will therefore not work with jeans.
A better style to go with is the Blucher, Derby, or loafer shoe style.
The shape, construction and vamp placement of these shoes lend a more casual vibe than compared to Oxfords.
Bluchers use open-laced construction, as opposed to the closed-lacing in Oxfords. The vamp is sewn over the shoe rather than under it, making for a slighter bulkier look.
Derby shoes are similar to Bluchers in their open-laced style. The Derby uses two elongated quarters sewn together at the heel The Blucher uses two small leather pieces sewn to the vamp.
Loafers are regarded as ideal summer shoes despite their Norwegian origins. They blend in seamlessly with jeans. Black loafers are still considered casual so wear them with confidence.
Other options for shoes like monk straps, desert boots, chukkas and slip-ons will work beautifully when paired with jeans.
Dress Shoes With Jeans Tip #3: Balance other elements of your outfit
Even though you’re wearing jeans – the fact you've chosen dress shoes as your foundation means you need to elevate the whole look.
A T-shirt or sweatshirt just isn't going to cut it. Balance out the look with a well-fitted collared button-down or dress shirt.
Keep your accessories simple.
Consider completing your ensemble with a hat if you are confident that you can pull that off, and if wearing the above-mentioned dress shirt consider a wool or woven necktie.
Every element in your ensemble should match your chosen dress shoe.
Tip: If you are a larger man be aware that dress shoes can make your feet appear smaller. Tread carefully combining dress shoes and jeans if you have a larger midsection.
A beautifully cut sports jacket is a great option if you are looking for flattering clothes for big stomachs. This can bring balance back into the outfit and prevent you from appearing disproportionate.
Dress Shoes With Jeans Tip #4: Use The Right Combinations
By bringing dress shoes into the equation, you have to keep your other leathers in mind.
The basic rule of thumb is to match your leathers such as a leather watch strap.
That being said, they don't need to match exactly. The closer you get them, the better.
You can make your life easier by nailing the most visible piece of leather most men wear apart from shoes: the belt. Businesses like Anson offer interchangeable micro-adjustable holeless belts in premium full-grain leather. Even a small number of swappable buckles and belts can compound to give you a great number of options for any occasion.
Example: Pairing brown shoes with a cordovan belt wouldn't work. The reddish hue in the cordovan would clash too much. However, you would get away with matching the shoes to a chocolate leather belt (even though chocolate is lighter).
What about suede?
Though it is leather, the rough texture in suede offers more wiggle room. You could wear suede dress shoes with a leather belt sporting more contrast between them.
Can you wear black dress shoes with jeans?
Black is hailed as a fundamentally formal color. Even then, it's possible so long as the leather doesn't shine. Broguing or other decorations would help to enhance this look.
Dress Shoes With Jeans Tip #5: Know The Occasion
You face a challenge with this look – is it formal, or casual?
You can wear them to most business-casual occasions. The combo can easily be upgraded with a sports jacket that will bring it to the next level.
Then again, keep in mind that jeans are casual. You cannot wear this combination to any event requiring formal or black-tie wear. Never wear dress shoes and jeans to a wedding. It is not a suit, despite how good it looks.
Is It OK To Wear Dress Shoes With Jeans? Summary
The answer is yes, you can. There are a few things to consider, though…
The whole ensemble has to match the caliber of the shoes. Your jeans can't be raggedy or have tears – they need to be well-fitted and clean.
Your shoes can't be too formal for the occasion. That means Oxfords are out. Finally, you have to match your leathers.
Follow these rules, gents, and you'll rock this look.
What to read next? Find out 10 essential shoes every man should own.
Click below to watch the video – Wear Dress Shoes With Jeans & Look Amazing: