No matter what you call it cognac, camel or tan, this warm leather hue will be dominating the fall footwear market. After spending the last year menswear tradeshow hopping, I’ve seen almost every brand create shoes, boots and sneakers in that unmistakable color of Werther’s Original. This fall, I grabbed three pair of shoes from Johnston & Murphy’s Handcrafted In Italy, Cates collection – all in tan leather to showcase the versatility of the rich color.
The Single Buckle aka Single Monk
Cates Single Buck (Single Monk) Loafers – Jonston & Murphy || Blue Corduroy Shirt – Uniqlo || Wool Glen Plaid Waist & Trousers – Thomas Pink || Blue Socks – Uniqlo || Umbrella – Totes || Sea Dragon Green Face Watch – Zodiac via hook+Albert || Yellow Leather Cuff – hook+Albert
There’s no doubt that tan leather footwear has been a staple for many guys throughout the years, however; the rich colored-hide has be sitting on the back burner lately due to the popularity (and ease of styling) of its darker, chestnut brown counterpart. There are many reasons to add a cognac color shoe into you’re wardrobe, the main being its complementary color pairing ability.
This fall it’s time to expand your idea of what colors pair with what shoes. Blacks, greys, blues and pretty much every color under the sun complement a shoe in this tone for a variety of reasons:
- Tan/cognac is still within the brown family, but, with a lighter hue that is warmer and less harsh that dark brown
- Burnishing/patina: over time, the leather will age and take on darker qualities. The antiqued look gives the tan leather a smartly weathered quality. You can assist this by polish the toe and small areas of the shoes in black
- Textured clothing like tweed pants pick up even better when ground by a shoe is this particular hue
- There’s also a point when you should consider breaking the “rules” of menswear. They’re just clothes, so add some personality to your looks
Cates Cap Toe Shoe – Johnston & Murphy (available online) || Green Loro Piana Fabric Suit – Knot Standard || Tan & White Gingham Brush Cotton Shirt – Men’s Style Pro x Oliver Wicks Collaboration (available online) || Glendale Cotton & Leather Braces – S.Gents (available online) || Socks – Uniqlo || Blue Knit Tie – hook+Albert
When you’re wearing jewel tones like emerald green, deep orange or even purples, a strong tan leather shoe is the perfect complement. Often darker shoes get lost when paired with such a punchy color like green, but, rest assure that your entire ensemble will be lifted with your tan footwear pairing. Here’s one thing to be mindful of when looking for the “perfect” tan shoe:
- Overly yellow, tan leather shoes! Once you hit a truly yellow hue, the pairing options become more limited
A cap toe shoe is a menswear office staple, wear these to work. Pair them with your navy or mid-grey suits to add some life to your corporate environment. When I was working in higher education, every time I wore tan leather shoes, some higher-up always wanted to know where I got them. Give em’ a try.
The Tassel Loafer
Going for BMOC status? Take a tip out of your grandfather’s playbook and up your geezer-steez with a pair loafers & a plaid jacket. Ok, a plaid jacket might be too advanced, but, it’s definitely a head turner. If you ask my wife what was the first thing she noticed about me when we were in college, it was my style & more specifically my shoe game.
As a somewhat of a lazy-ass college guy, I’d rock loafers just because of they were easy to slide on. You’re granddad was probably rocking penny loafers, but, show your worldly style to all the bros on campus with a tassel pair.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when rocking a pair of tan tassel loafers:
- They pair well with white/off-white & dark wash denim
- Dress them down with jeans & a t-shirt
- A bold sock will add some character. Go with thick stripes (very collegiate)
Photography: Marina T. Peele @Cantwinklefty
Styling/Modeling/Content Copy: Sabir M. Peele
Founder & Creative Director of Men's Style Pro, Sabir has a deep passion for menswear and all things manly. Selected as one of the "5 Best Dressed Men In America" by Esquire Magazine in 2010 & as #GQFall 2013 Best Dressed Man. As of 2014, Sabir serves as a freelance brand ambassador & executive stylist for GQ Magazine & GQ Report. Outside of that partnership, Sabir serves as an independent brand consultant as well. Reach me directly at SABIR@MENSSTYLEPRO.COM