GUEST POST: Brown is the New Black

A little guest post love + a male fashion perspective from my new blogger friend, Scott Wicken of! Enjoy:

While it certainly is never prudent to go against a Sicilian when death is on the line, it is imperative to listen to an Italian when it comes to things style-related.  To wit, some excellent advice from designer Domenicio Vacca on the merits of the brown shoe:
"Many Americans have this idea that if you put on a dress shoe, it has to be black. But Italians—and I myself, especially—very rarely wear black shoes, except for very formal occasions like weddings and funerals. I’m almost always in brown shoes, because they just work with everything.  The beauty of brown shoes is that all the different shades let you communicate something about your personality—you tell the world you have a sense of play and character just by putting something on your feet."
I, too, am a firm believer that black shoes should only be reserved for tuxedos, funerals, and the occasional formal charcoal suit.  I have always tried to champion the cause of brown shoes in both formal and informal dressing.  Infinitely more versatile and interesting, brown not only gives you options in terms of shades of color, it also gives you the chance to develop the shoe’s character.  If well maintained, the patina that develops over the course of years only adds depth and personality; it becomes a distinct and visual representation of your ownership. 

Given we live and work in a world where dress codes are increasingly murky, it makes perfect sense for the well-dressed gentleman to invest in a supremely versatile shoe, and there is no finer, more versatile shoe than a perfect brown wingtip.  This wardrobe workhorse can pair with everything from your navy power suit to your favorite pair of jeans and a V-neck sweater.  Chinos and a navy blazer?  You bet. Dressed up or dressed down, a brown wingtip always works; it’s the Swiss Army knife of your shoe rotation.  Lighter shades of brown like cognac, while inherently more casual, become a great way to add a bolder, more European touch to an otherwise classic navy or gray suit or.  “But wait, I should even wear brown shoes with my gray suits?” you’re no doubt wondering, “...but don’t the rules say black shoes with gray suits?”  Not any more, good sir, not anymore.  Brown shoes with anything and everything.

Shopping-wise, a great brown shoe can be found at nearly any price point.  Here are a few of my favorites, all are tremendously versatile and work with a variety of wardrobe items.

The Gold Standard:
Allen Edmonds McCallister

Additional Essentials:
The Bass Weejun Penny Loafer

So gents, invest in your brown shoes, pair with confidence, and bring your sartorial game up a new as the Italians do.

photo credit:


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