BROWN men’s shoes, popular with the aristocracy in the 1930s, when they were championed by the Prince of Wales and Hollywood movie royalty, are being revived in Manhattan. After World War II, the conventional black shoe returned, except among upper-class European men, who continued to wear brown suede wingtip styles with their business suits.But why did men stop wearing brown shoes? I think everyone got the memo sent out in song form by Frank Zappa, but why did he pick on brown shoes specifically?
The title was inspired by an event covered by Time Magazine reporter Hugh Sidey in 1966. The reporter correctly guessed that something was up when the fastidiously dressed President Lyndon B. Johnson made the fashion faux pas of wearing brown shoes with a gray suit. LBJ flew to Vietnam for a surprise public relations visit later that day.(Tiny video clip.)
In the slideshow at the first link, you'll see lots of fashionable guys wearing brown shoes with gray suits. So don't think you need a brown suit to wear brown shoes, at least not if you plan to traipse about midtown Manhattan for the fashion photographers.