February 16, 2008

Brown shoes do make it.

The NYT says it's a fashion trend for men to wear brown shoes:
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.


Chip Ahoy said...

Brown shoes, grey suit, causes problems for socks.

Bob said...

In the U.S. Navy, the pilots traditionally wore brown shoes instead of the Navy's usual black.

Bender said...

Why did men stop wearing brown shoes?

We did? When did this happen??

ricpic said...

A true dark brown, whether it be seal brown, dark chocolate brown or even cordovan, does not go well with a grey suit no matter what the fashionistas say.
Brown suede is almost always a medium shade of brown, a greyed out brown if you will, and therefore can be made to work with grey.
Most of the photos shown by The Times are of caramel brown shoes which work well with grey and best with navy.
The solution to chip ahoy's sock problem is to find socks in a medium shade grey-green. Grey-green goes with everything.

Tituspretzel said...

As an expert in this field brown shoes are great if you are in college-with a pair of jeans.

After college, no deal. Black is the only color.

Old men can wear brown shoes too.

And no men should ever wear sporty shoes if they are in their 50's.

No bowling type shoes with those awful stripes for 50 plus guys either sorry. It is terribly tacky unless you are actually bowling in Wisconsin-or Curling.

somefeller said...

Brown (if properly shined) dress shoes or cordovans are fine with slacks and a blazer, if the color combinations are appropriate, of course. Otherwise - black shoes with grey or blue suits, no exceptions.

somefeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somefeller said...

I didn't look at the slideshow before posting my comment. Clarification - the brown shoes referenced in my previous comment need to be dark brown, shined and with with proper laces, not the ugly-ass shoes shown in most of those photos. And I reiterate, never with a dark business suit.

Ralph said...

All those orange-brown shoes are repulsive to me, except #13. I like the color in wood, but not leather (that's dead tree, not hog, Titus). Where's the chocolate brown?

At one stage in the modern tanning process, the leather is light blue.

George said...

Reagan wore brown suits, brown shoes, never listened to Zappa.

Dave F said...

Have been wearing brown shoes for a while now, especially with a good pair of jeans.

And I wear them with brown pants at work. All the women think I'm stylish.

The men? Not so much. But I don't wear clothese to please the men.

Richard said...

Brown isn't classic. It's trendy. I don't make the rules, that's just the way it's been for centuries. Brown will come and go. Black is forever.

And George is right about Reagan. Reagan wore brown a lot and damn did he wear it well.

Palladian said...

"After college, no deal. Black is the only color."

Black isn't a color.

I love brown shoes and brown Sermoneta gloves. But then I wear whatever I like.

rightwingprof said...

So being color blind is fashionable in Manhattan now? And why would one care what is or is not fashionable, in Manhattan or anywhere else? Men's clothes are not subject to the whims of designers, although designers have been trying to change that for years. This is one of the ways in which men and women differ.

Roger Sweeny said...

Does this mean I should go back to school?

From Inwood said...

Anyone besides me old enough to remember the "Brown-Shoe Army"?

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