Women find mix-matching leather such a breeze. Once they have an ensemble of Red Gucci handbag, black Louboutin with red soles, and an optional red western-style belt, they’re good to go. But men often find it extremely difficult regardless if they have enough shoes and belts.

When I was in the corporate world, I saw a lot of men looking great with their well-fitted shirts and trousers. However, there’s one big problem: Wearing a brown belt and black shoes ensemble. Of course, I did that many years ago. As we become older, our style improves. One of them is learning how to mix and match shoes and belts.


According to anyone that follows the old rule, the color of the texture should match or be as close as possible. It works well on black because black is usually associated with formal or military wear. Black on black. Brown on brown. Green on green. Never match black with brown.


Sometimes, we have to bend or even break the rules. There’s a new rule that the color of the leather can be mixed up WITH CAUTION. This provides a nice visual contrast that complements your clothing ensemble. This rule applies especially to individuals who have only two pairs of shoes and one or two belts in different shades of brown. All you have to do is to choose the right combination with the closest shade and texture as possible, not far from each other. In making a combination, choose your shoes first.

Courtesy of Bauer-Griffin and GQ

I have one good example for you. Pierce Brosnan is best known for portraying James Bond in the 1990s and being one of the most stylish actors of all time, whether he’s on the set or even when boarding on a plane. As you can see in this picture, he knows how to play and bend the rules by combining his dark tan driving mocs to a brown woven leather belt and dark tan overnight bag.

If you’re concerned about having just a pair of tan shoes and a light brown belt, you don’t need to worry! All you have to do is to stick with what you have and modify its look. Let me share with you a simple solution that I do for ages: By applying darker shades of shoe cream or polish to your shoes to look closer to your other leather pieces. For example, if you have a pair of dark tan shoes, you can use shoe cream with the shades of cognac and dark brown to recreate a natural-looking aged look on your shoes.

At the end of the day, it’s all about you pulling off the right look. Hope this helps you look stylish and feel great with only a limited pair of leather goods.

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