//How to Pair Brown and Blue

How to Pair Brown and Blue

In my opinion, one of the most underrated combinations in menswear is brown and blue. Just think about it for a second, there are a lot of blue suits and navy suits out there, lots of brown shoes and different elements but often, people don’t wear them together.

So today, I talk about why it’s a good idea to pair brown with blue, I discuss certain basic accessories that you should have in your wardrobe, and also I provide a little bit of inspiration about how you can combine them without limiting yourself.

Why Do Brown & Blue Look Great Together?

Basically, blue and orange are in the opposite side of the color wheel meaning they’re a complementary contrast color, because of that, they naturally work well together and are pleasing to the eye. Brown is such a great color because it is a neutral shade and depending on if you get a dark chocolate brown, medium brown, light brown, or maybe a pastel brown, it really works for 99% of men out there. The same is true for blue, if you look at the shade of navy, medium blue, royal blue, or light blue, there’s one shade of blue that works for any kind of man out there.

On the other hand, if you have dark skin, going with high contrast items such as maybe a navy suit with a white shirt and tan brown shoes go really well together. If you have a medium skin tone, you can avoid the high contrast of black and white as well as the extreme pales of maybe light blue with light gray. Otherwise, you can have a dark blue suit with a light blue shirt and a brown grenadine tie. Another great aspect of brown is that it brings down the formality of blue and makes it more casual.


In this day and age, where even classic outfits are getting increasingly more casual, brown and blue are your best friends. Brown also increases the versatility of blue so just think about your navy dark business suit that you can wear with a white shirt and your black oxfords but you can also just take the jacket of the suit to pair it with some khakis, some brown suede boots, and a brown knit tie, and it has a very different feel and it’s suited for different occasions. So that way, with those colors, you get more wear out of your wardrobe and you don’t have to invest as much.

If you think about it, there are lots of shades of blue and brown. Because of that, it’s very easy to always create a certain element of contrast that works well with your skin tone and looks pleasing to the eye. So as long as you avoid the extremes such as a navy suit with a really dark chocolate brown color, you’re good and you’ll always find the appropriate contrast. For the same reason, no matter if you have a light, medium, or dark skin tone, you can find a combination of brown and blue that works for you.

Classic Brown & Blue Wardrobe Staples

Navy DB suit with pink shirt and black double Monks Polo SS 2013

Navy DB suit with pink shirt and black double Monks Polo SS 2013

1. The Navy Suit

Whether it’s single-breasted or double-breasted, it is a great companion and should always be in every man’s wardrobe.

Brian Sacawa in a blue diagonal twill DB blazer with horn buttons and contrasting light colored trousers

Brian Sacawa in a blue diagonal twill DB blazer with horn buttons and contrasting light colored trousers

2. Navy Blazer

The navy blazer is a definite must-have in your closet because of its versatility.

3. Navy Grenadine Tie

It’s not made out of a hundred percent silk but it has a really pleasing texture that’s a little more matte and interesting than most shiny blue ties you can buy in the market today. It can be worn formally with navy suit or with tweed jackets.

A blue dress shirt with purple paisley tie from Fort Belvedere

A blue dress shirt, brown jacket and purple paisley tie from Fort Belvedere

4. Light Blue Dress Shirt

It can either be with button cuffs or with French cuffs. That being said, light blue comes probably comes in 150 different shades for shirts and so you can find exactly the right one for your needs.

Navy slim fit chinos offer a depth that light khakis dont

Navy slim fit chinos offer a depth that light khakis don’t

5. Navy Chinos

Personally, I’m also a big fan of navy chinos.

Mohair Blue, Burgundy, Green and Yellow Silk Wool Medallion Pocket Square - Fort Belvedere

Mohair Blue, Burgundy, Green, and Yellow Silk Wool Medallion Pocket Square – Fort Belvedere

6. Blue Pocket Square

Every man should have a blue pocket square because it complements well with a navy suit but you can also have other blue elements.

7. Blue Socks

Another good blue item to have in your wardrobe is a pair of shadow striped navy and dark blue socks. Why? Because you can really pair them with any kind of blue or navy pants, they will always look professional, will always look good, at the same time, it’s not your typical run-of-the-mill solid navy socks.

charcoal brown suit

charcoal brown suit

8. Brown Suit

In terms of the color brown, probably the most underrated item in a man’s wardrobe is a brown suit. Most men don’t think they have to invest in a brown suit, personally, I think every gentleman’s wardrobe should contain a brown suit because it can be dressed down or up. For example, if you go with a charcoal brown suit, it’s business appropriate yet it’s not as formal as maybe a dark gray suit when you go somewhere after work. If you get a light brown suit, it’s the perfect weekend suit or casual suit when you want to look dapper yet be distinctly different from your business wardrobe. Best of all, you can wear the slacks as well as the jacket individually with different combinations so you really get a lot of wear out of this brown suit.

Brown tweed jacket with yellow orange dress shirt and Houndstooth Silk Bourette Bow Tie Burgundy Cream - Fort Belvedere

Brown tweed jacket with a yellow-orange dress shirt and Fort Belvedere accessories

9. Brown Tweed Jacket

Obviously, there are so many shades of brown but having at least one tweed jacket is perfect because it’s a wonderful fall-winter garment, it’s a classic staple!

10. Brown Grenadine Tie

One of my favorites is this solid brown grenadine tie. It’s really easy to combine, you can wear it with tweed or with a business suit or with a business casual outfit and it will always look timeless, appropriate, and never out of place.

suit slacks in mid-brown with split toe derbys

A pair of vintage Norwegian-toed derbies made by Mannina of Florence, as owned by Sven Raphael Schneider.

11. Brown Shoes & Boots

The Honestly, there are so many shades of brown and you can have dark browns, reddish browns, medium browns, or light pale browns, and if you want to see all the brown shoes that I have in my collection, check out this video here.

Light Brown Linen Pocket Square with Blue Handrolled X Stitch - Fort Belvedere

Light Brown Linen Pocket Square with Blue Handrolled X Stitch – Fort Belvedere

12. Brown Pocket Square

Last but not least, I think a brown pocket square can really help to tone down an otherwise formal business suit but it also works with summery linen jackets as well as tweed jackets. If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, make sure you have different textures for example, on the one hand, you could get a silk pocket square with blue paisleys just like the one I’m wearing here right now, and then you could combine it with a more casual pocket square in linen that is very pale brown with a light blue X stitch.

Interesting Brown & Blue Combos

  • A blue suit with a brown tie and a pocket square that picks up the tones of blue and brown. Of course, you can also wear brown shoes with it but the rest of it can really vary. You can add maybe a boutonniere in light blue or not at all. Maybe you could add a third color to the outfit, it all depends on your heart’s content but this combination will always work. Of course, instead of a suit, you can wear a pair of white winter flannels, maybe a pair of khakis, but stay away from navy chinos because they may be too close in color, there’s not enough contrast and would just look weird. That being said, you could also wear gray flannels or medium gray sharkskin pants, whatever works. Having that blue element in there allows you to do a lot of things. 50 years ago, some people will be nervous to wear a navy business suit with brown shoes. In this day and age, there’s nothing normal than that and if you go to Italy, you probably see very few well-dressed men wearing black shoes with a navy suit. They’ll probably always choose one shade of brown, could be lighter, it can be darker, but it’s just their favorite color.
Brown Jacket with Light Blue Shirt & Blue Red Striped Bow Tie

Brown Jacket with Light Blue Shirt & Blue Red Striped Bow Tie

  • A darker brown or a medium brown suit with a light blue shirt. It can be solid or it can have a subtle pattern and then add either a blue tie or a brown tie. It’s very calming and interestingly, you can put together entire outfits that consist of nothing but brown and blue yet they won’t scream “Look at me! I just combined two colors” as if you would combine maybe red and blue or white and blue.
Several jeans and jacket combinations worn by Sven Raphael Schneider

Several jeans and jacket combinations worn by Sven Raphael Schneider

  • Blue denim with brown shoes. I think you should never wear denim with black shoes because it’s simply too hard of a contrast between the formal black color and the traditional denim workwear.

What are your favorite brown & blue combinations? Drop a comment below!


How to Pair Brown and Blue

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How to Pair Brown and Blue


Do you sometimes wonder what shirt or tie would look best with your navy or brown suit? Find help in this color matching guide for men.


Sven Raphael Schneider


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