Friday, March 12, 2010

Reader's Question: Khaki Suit

As always we are more than happy to answer Reader’s Questions. This one is from John from in Seattle.
Alright, I'm getting married in a sweet Banana Republic khaki suit. I'm thinking cordovan bicycle toe oxfords, sorta like the To Boot New York 'Randall' Split Toe Oxford at Nordstroms (I don't think it's in cordovan, though).
Am I being a bit too picky or should I just settle for a nice venetian loafer (Cole Haan immediately leaps to mind)?
Thanks! Your blog is excellent and thanks for bringing style to the masses without the pomposity.
First off John, congratulations on your impending nuptials it sounds like you will look very dapper for the event. A khaki suit in the summer/spring can be magnificent and quite a statement. It is a nice choice for a more modern wedding.

You discussed the Split Toe Oxford from To Boot, but this shoe is too dark. It is a shoe meant for dark suits, not the light khaki suit you will be wearing. The dark color of the shoes will make the outfit look bottom heavy. Stick to a lighter color like a light brown suede or a tan/walnut. You want the shoes to compliment the khaki suit, not clash with it.

You will also need a shoe that can transition easily between outdoor and indoor and is more casual, in line with the suit. We feel that the loafers are too casual for your wedding, while the theme is certainly more casual than a black tie affair; you are not getting married barefoot on a beach. Wear some shoes that respect the occasion and ditch the loafer idea.

Since you are in Seattle and the weather can change in a moment, it is best to stay away from the quick to mind choice of white bucks. While they are perfect for sunny days where cotton suits are worn, if it is a rainy day or overcast day, the shoes will not look right. Save them for the sunny South Carolina wedding.
With that said, where does that leave us? A few choices come to mind:

Johnston & Murphy make a great saddle shoe. Tan suede with brogue leather, it is a perfect spring/summer shoe. It is casual yet sophisticated and it will look great with the khaki suit. The shoe sells for around $130 and can be worn all day and night without offending anyone.

A nice walnut colored wingtip will work great. This shoe will hold up better on a rainy day and will add some fantastic character to your soles. Keep the shoe a light brown and the outfit can pop with such a terrific complimentary shoe. This Allen Edmonds MacAllister shoe is as classic as they come. It has the shape and fit to work great with a suit but is not stuffy. This shoe or one like it will go for around $250.

As we have discussed previously, J Crew and Alden teamed up to make a tobacco colored wingtip. It is a modern color and shape, extra light brown with rounded toes and blucher design. This is a magnificent shoe and will last until you’re fourth kid graduates high school (assuming you end up having four kids). Basically, this shoe will last for 20+ years, if not longer. Your wedding day might be a nice memory every time you slip the shoe on. The Alden shoes sell for around $450.

Lastly, you can go with a tan buck, a compromise between the white buck look but with coloring that will work better on an overcast day. We would still prefer one of the wingtips, but can appreciate the elegance and simplicity of a pair of bucks. Bucks are a common shoe this Spring, sold by Allen Edmonds, Johnston & Murphy, J Crew and many others. Bucks will typically set you back $150 or so.

Whatever the choice, Modern Dignified would like to thank you for your readership and kind words, but most importantly, we would like to wish you a wonderful and fruitful marriage. You are braver than we are.

If anyone else wants our opinion, for whatever it is worth, email us at: You can also become a fan of Modern Dignified on Facebook and follow Modern Dignified on Twitter @ModernDignified.

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