Men’s Guide to Matching Leathers
One of the most frequently asked questions in men’s fashion seems to be how to match a belt with shoes. This is a task that seems to elude men all over the world, let alone coordinating these items with their other accessories such as watches, gloves, bags, wallets and jackets. However, it is not actually that complicated. Get it right and you’ll build a solid base for your entire look, allowing you to mix and match other pieces as you please.
Despite what you might think, there are no hard and fast rules as to how to co-ordinate your leathers. There are, of course, principles of classic style but sometimes breaking these ‘rules’ can make a mundane look suddenly cool and modern. However, for fashion novices or those who are not confident combining several leather items, here are a few tips to help you on your way.
Belts and Shoes
For many men, this is their main style concern. While this combo may be the simplest, it’s also the least acceptable to get wrong. So what’s the secret?
The key to matching belts and shoes is to choose pieces of a similar colour and formality.
Notice that belts and shoes only need to be a similar colour, not the same. Look for belts and shoes in the same colour family i.e. match blacks with blacks, browns with browns, tans with tans etc and there’s no need to be too exact about it. Spending hours hunting for the perfect shade of brown to match your shoes would be a waste of time. No one is likely to notice and if they do, they’re likely to find you overly finicky anyway. A slight discrepancy in colour will lend you an air of cool nonchalance. However, it is also possible to be too lax about matching your colours. Pair dark brown boots with a light brown belt, for example, and you might look lazy and unpolished.
Despite this, there are some colours that you should avoid matching at all costs. If you want to introduce an element of bright colour into your outfit, limit it to one accessory only. For example, a bright green belt might be a wonderful statement of your personality, allowing you to create a particularly striking outfit. However, to find a pair of matching bright green shoes would be both difficult and ridiculous.
Next you need to think about formality. You wouldn’t pair a dinner jacket with jogging bottoms so why pair smart and casual accessories? Even if you match the colours, a pair of casual brown suede loafers would look strange with an equally brown but slim high-shine leather belt. Similarly, a large silver cowboy belt buckle would look out of place when combined with your perfectly polished oxfords.
Now you’ve grasped the basics you can apply these same principles to your watch strap, bag, wallet, gloves or any other leather fashion item. However, here are a few extra tips to keep you ahead in the style stakes.
Watch strap – If your watch strap is leather you should match it to your shoes and belt. However, you can afford to be less precise. As long as you choose the right colour family, the tones can be different. For example, a brown watch strap could work with a tan belt and shoe combination.
Bags – You don’t need to worry too much about matching your bag. Unlike the majority of women’s handbags, men’s bags are designed to be functional and you don’t want to have to change your bag every time you change your shoes. As long as you co-ordinate your other accessories you’ll look more than stylish enough.
Wallet – Given that people only see your wallet when you pull it out of your pocket it does not need to match the rest of your outfit. Similar to bags, men tend to have a favourite one that they use all the time so why not match your wallet to your favourite bag? That way it will tie both pieces together and prevent either from looking out of place.
Gloves – Gloves are not always made of leather but if they are, you can afford to be adventurous. Matching your gloves to your belt and shoes can look exceptionally stylish but it’s not essential. By choosing a different colour or texture leather you can make them an interesting focal point of your outfit.
A leather jacket is a timeless fashion item that every man will own at least once in his life. But how should you co-ordinate it with your other accessories?
The key is to avoid leather overkill. If you are already wearing brown leather shoes and a brown leather belt, a leather jacket in the same shade of brown is a bad move. A tan jacket, however, would compliment them perfectly. The exception here of course is black. A black leather jacket, belt and shoes is easier to pull of and is often the basis of many a successful paired-down look. Otherwise, try to opt for a jacket in a similar colour but a different texture such as suede or shearling.
Hopefully, you’re now feeling a little more clued in as to how to co-ordinate your leathers and perhaps even considering digging out an old piece you didn’t know how to wear. But no matter how you mix and match your items, do so with confidence and others are bound to dig your look too!