First Pair of Dress Shoes - Black or Brown?

I recently graduated from college and will be starting my first job in consulting in a few weeks time. Because of this, I'm working on building out my wardrobe and realize I need a nice pair of leather shoes to wear to the office and client engagements. There are a fair amount of posts on WSO about Allen Edmonds and the like, but I want to know about color as well.

Can I get away with my only pair of dress shoes being in brown? Especially because I will rarely have to wear a suit to work?

Would also appreciate any suggestions on other kinds of shoes. I'm currently looking at the Frye Paul Mal Oxford and Frye Jones Double Monk.

Comments (10)

Jul 20, 2018

Black AE Park Avenues are a risk-free option that are very versatile. You'd be OK with brown shoes too, but make sure to keep it dark.

I'm sure there are plenty of other dress shoes worthy of suggestion, but Park Avenues are about as classic as you can go. Beautiful shoes and well worth the money.

Aug 26, 2018

London: No brown in town.

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Aug 26, 2018

Brown shoes are fine. Black is a little more versatile with different color jackets/sport coats, but as long as you pair your shoes with a matching belt, it doesn't really matter much.

Would recommend To Boot New York; buy all my laced dress shoes from them.

Aug 28, 2018

Black plain cap-toes.

Aug 28, 2018

Some of this decision comes down to what you wear the most of. If you wear a lot of black/gray/charcoal pants, then I think black is a good choice. If you wear a lot of blues/greys, then a walnut brown wouldn't be a bad choice.

At the end of the day, you will end up getting black and brown and be set. I'm an allen edmonds guy and i will second park avenues as a good starter pair. If you look for factory seconds you could probably pick up two pairs for $400. I have three factory seconds pairs and you cannot tell what is actually wrong with the shoe at all. Allen Edmonds makes shoes for Brooks Brothers as well, so if you find factory seconds branded as brooks brothers, they are even cheaper.

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Aug 28, 2018

Think of good shoes as a capital investment: I bought several pairs of Churches shoes when I got out of HBS, took good care of them, and they lasted for years.

Good care means spending $10-20 on cedar shoe trees and never wearing the same pair two days in the row. Why? Your feet perspire and your shoes absorb moisture. Cedar shoe trees draw out the moisture and help preserve the shape of the shoe.

Don't be enslaved by the tyranny of "OR:" buy a pair of high-quality dark brown AND black shoes, and get better ROI.

Aug 31, 2018

Pick up some Park or Fifth Avenues from Allen Edmonds for $178:
Get both black and brown at this price point.

Sep 12, 2018

"Ah brown, the color of cowards," said a great Kids in the Hall shoe store sketch.

Sep 19, 2018

Buy 2 pairs of black shoes. Either 2 pairs of oxfords or 1 pair of oxfords and 1 pair of loafers.

As others have stated, shoes are an investment, you get what you pay for.

Buy 2 pairs and get cedar shoe trees. Alternate shoes each day and as soon as you take your shoes off, put the shoe trees in, so they dry out and re-gain their shape. Keep them clean and get them shined once a month. In winter, get rubber Totes overshoes covers to keep them dry in slush and keep the salt off.

Sep 19, 2018
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