Jeans are such a versatile pair of trousers you will be able to find someone sporting them no matter the situation, formal events excepted. The versatility of the denim jean is supplemented by the ease with which we can pair many styles and types of shoe with them.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re choosing a pair of shoes to go with your favourite pair of jeans. Let’s go through those now.
Why are you wearing jeans?
The style and cut of jeans that you choose in the morning will greatly impact the choice of footwear that will go with them. Choosing the right pair of jeans means deciding what level of dress you’re comfortable wearing that day.
For “casual Fridays” at work, a smart casual event, or heading to the pub with your friends, jeans are a fantastic way to say that you still care about your appearance without needing to wear smart trousers.
But, to really hit the nail on the head for the different levels of casual, smart casual, and semi-formal available, it’s all about the shoe.
Choosing the right jeans for your shoes
It’s not just about the shoes, but the right cut of jeans as well. We’ll talk about each level of smartness for our jeans and shoes pairing and how choosing the right cut is important too.
If you’re looking for a semi-formal style to leave the house with, men are not going to go wrong with a pair of Oxfords. Bringing denim from casual to chic, a good pair of brown Oxfords will add a level of sophistication to your look.
We are choosing brown to pair with the blue of jeans, particularly darker denim because the colours pair better. However, if you’re wearing a very light denim, black Oxfords can really pop with the contrast between light and dark.
When wearing Oxfords, you will want to opt for a tighter cuff – a slim or skinny fit serving best. This is because the slim profile of most Oxford shoes will look drowned out with jeans that are too wide.
For ladies, when aiming for a semi-formal look, you’re more than able to also opt for Oxfords, but another great choice for women in the semi-formal look is a boot with a low heel: like these Chelsea boots.
Particularly if you do not want to wear a high heel, which for ladies tends towards the more formal, a stylish, traditional boot like a Chelsea boot is likely to look great and be comfortable to wear.
Again, a skinny jean is the best to pair with Chelsea boots, showing off the whole boot tends to in fashion.
As a category, smart casual can mean lots of different things for different people. But, a good rule of thumb for smart casual would be no trainers and stick to more reserved, traditional colours. The closer to the brown/black dichotomy that rules formal and traditional shoe colours, the better, for smart dress.
When aiming for smart casual, you can think a little outside the normal “formal” shoes and choose a clean boot; perhaps a military style boot.
Whilst it’s possible to wear a slim fit jean with boots, you can also feel comfortable in a boot cut or regular cut. These wider cuffs would drown out slimmer shoes, but a boot is less likely to look so swamped.
Another option for the smart casual, stepping a little further towards casual, would be a Chukka style boot with suede.
The matte material lends itself to casual more than polished leather does but is still a great choice for smart-casual events.
For women, a smart casual look would be something like a loafer or a semi-brogue. Here, some subtle colour works well, like this Harlow Snaffle Loafer in a subtly-red hi-shine leather.
Again, as with our previous selections, because the loafer is a relatively thin shoe towards the top of the foot, a pair of jeans with a tighter fit and smaller cuff would work well here.
Carrying a casual look off with jeans is simple, as basically any footwear will do. Getting the most out of your casual outfit, go for some trainers. These Cheaney X Goral trainers in navy suede are a great example of casual footwear.
The versatility of denim really comes into play here, and with a casual look, you’re able to really branch out with colour and style. Consider pairing blue jeans with yellow boots or shoes, or consider white trainers with black jeans. Contrasting the colours can work wonders for your style.
Casual styles don’t rely so much on looking clean and tidy, so wear the cut of jeans that feels most comfortable for you.
Taking a similar vein, women are easily able to pull off a casual look with jeans by wearing a pair of trainers as well. These Cheaney x Goral Kelham trainers are a perfect example.
As with most other examples, skinny jeans can work well with trainers; though for a casual look boot cut jeans are also a valid choice.
Versatility of jeans
The myriad of options available when it comes to wearing jeans can sometimes be daunting, but remember a few basic rules: blue jeans and brown leather go well together for shoes and belts; for a more formal look, ensure that your jean leg isn’t covering too much of your shoe or you may look untidy; and when opting for a more casual style, your choice of colour is less restricted.