Dark denim saves the day when you want to look dressy but don’t want to wear a suit… but choosing the shoes to go with them is in an important call.
Your classic canvas, low-top, lace-up sneakers — Converse Chuck Taylors or Vans — lay the foundation of a simple casual outfit with a white tee, sunnies and a cap up top. On the other hand, chunkier designer sneakers work better with edgy streetwear like a longline tee and a khaki military jacket with a skinnier dark denim jean. Steer clear of white shoes, which go better with lighter denim, and can look dirty if they’re not 100% bright white next to the dark jeans.
Loafers or boat shoes are a slightly dressier, preppier option for your smart casual kit, perhaps paired with a button-up shirt and a rolled cuff to flash a little ankle. Dark brown or oxblood loafers dress up your dark denim, while boat shoes — with their non-slip sole and waxed leather — add some preppy style to a summer ensemble. Ditch the socks or at least make sure they’re invisible.
Hiking boots with a heavy jacket and a plaid shirt form a rugged outdoorsy outfit whereas dress boots — like sleek Chelsea boots or something with brogue detailing — work nicely with a chambray shirt and a chunky knit pullover or shawl-collar cardigan for date night during the cooler months. Sandy-coloured suede chukkas, or desert boots, and Clarks Originals are also versatile, lighter partners to dark denim in warmer weather, going well with a pastel button-down, for instance.
Simple open-laced derbies, with their variety of toe types, are perfect for smart casual outfits, which also obviously require a dressier jean, and brogues are another open-laced shoe with a little extra embellishment. Black dress shoes with jeans looks a little stuffy and dorky, so opt for tan or brown instead — a crisp white tee or button-down with a blazer makes a simple smart casual outfit ready for date night, or play with shades of blue (like a powder-blue shirt and navy jumper) to complement the warm browns.