I recently talked to a CEO of a company which makes millions in profits every year about his interview process. And while the standard answers about what he expected from the interviewee were given, I was surprised to find out that his determining factor for professionalism was based upon a person shoes. He stated that a person’s shoes tell a great deal about a man, how he pays attention to detail, how he maintains his affairs, and how well he understands himself. Profound. It got me to thinking, and I must agree, pairing your shoes properly with your outfit, superficially your jeans, it important. Here is how to best pair the best shoes with jeans for men.
What is the Occasion?
A majority of the men I know have perhaps three pairs of shoes in their closet. This is not to say that there are those which have an extensive selection, but from my experience, men tend to keep their shoe selections to a minimum. That being stated, it is important that the few shoes which are owned are paired well with the jeans that are most commonly worn. If you have a business suit, then you need a pair of luxury shoes to carry the theme of professionalism, blue jeans should have a more casual shoe (as well as functional), and of course, work boots/shoes should be paired with a work outfit.
Even with three pairs of shoes, you can still have a pairing for the occasion. I would suggest that individuals in an office or corporate setting have a larger selection, as the various board meetings and the various situations in which you may find yourself will require a different pairing.
Perhaps I am a bit of a traditionalist, or perhaps I just understand the basics of color theory, but neon shoes are not an appropriate color selection unless you are making an artistic statement. Colors matter in your shoe selection, and it is vital that you understand what matches and what clashes. If you have a dark black pair of jeans, then the best colors are browns and whites.
I advise against black shoes with black slacks unless you can pair the shades of black together. If you have (for example) mars black against an ivory black it looks weird. Black shoes should be reserved for high corporate events where you would want to have such a paring as mentioned above, for khakis, and for blue jeans. While red alligator leather is luxurious in its appearance, it should be kept for the day to day operations and for dark colored casual jeans. They should not be used for formal wear.
Don’t get me wrong, the tennis shoe has its place in society, but that place is in athletic bags. Use your shoes when you go jogging or when you are at the gym, and then switch over to a pair of shoes which have a bit more personality and refinement to your character. You do not have to have a pair of leather loafers, but can have a pair of nubuck boots (just ensure you have leather conditioner to maintain them) or genuine alligator leather shoes. Here are a few reasons why you should ditch the tennis shoe and find a shoe which pairs well with your jeans:
The overall design of the tennis shoe contradicts the seams and style of most jeans and shirts
The stitching on tennis shoes frays easily leading to a disorganized look
The colors of tennis shoes are typically too loud for most outfits
You cannot pair tennis shoes with a suit and hope for a high paying job in today’s economy
What Person do you Want to Convey?
The jeans that you choose and the shoes that you wear should give off a definitive vibe as to your character. If you want to be seen as a sleek professional, choose a pair of dark shoes which have a sleek finish. If you want to have a creative yet professional look, consider alligator skin as the distortions to the roughness give a bit of a creative flare but do not overpower the shoe.
Outdoor professionals should pair their blue jeans with nubuck or with dark brown leather. As the profession is outdoors, look for shoes which have a defined texture which mimics nature.
Keep Those Shoes Clean
Of course, the type of shoe that you wear does little to impress anyone if they are not well maintained. Mud, stains, debris, scratches, all add to the perceptions that a person will have about you when viewing your footwear. Use leather cleaner and conditioner on your shoes or bring your shoes to a professional leather artisan for regular maintenance and repairs. Keep them clean, keep them tied, because you never know when your shoes may help or hinder you from your next big job.