Can I Wear a Brown Bag With Black Shoes? (Simple Answer)

Black shoes are a great wardrobe basic. Everyday black shoes can work well with both formal and casual outfits. But finding the right bag to wear with black shoes can be a challenge.

You may have heard fashion rules regarding the pairing of shoes and handbags. One of these old-school rules states that you cannot wear a brown bag with black shoes, but this rule has been considered outdated for a long time now.


Quick Answer

Yes, you can wear a brown bag with black shoes. The fashion rule that you should match your bag with your shoes originated in the 1950s, and fashion has evolved a lot since then. You can pair different colored shoes and bags these days, granted they work well with your overall outfit.

While the matching handbags and shoes rule no longer applies, there’s no doubt that it can make any look put together and neater. Moreover, some rules and guidelines still apply when pairing different colored bags with black shoes. Let’s take a detailed look at these:

Brown Bag and Black Shoes Outfit Ideas

Different styles of brown bags can be paired with similar styles of black shoes. Here are some outfit ideas to pair brown bags with black shoes for different occasions:

  • Brown tote bags with black high heels can be paired with various formal outfits. These formal outfits can range from black slip dresses to black suits. Add some gold-colored statement earrings or a chunky gold necklace with the black dress. With suits, keep the gold-toned jewelry minimal and chic.
  • Brown backpacks with casual black shoes such as flats and sandals can work well with casual outfits. Casual outfits can include black jeans with a black t-shirt, blue jeans with graphic t-shirts, cotton trousers with printed blouses.
  • Small-sized brown handbags can also be paired with casual black shoes. You can wear black mocassins or slip-ons when carrying small brown bags too. Choose a casual button-down in a fun print or color and some brown-colored cotton pants to complete the outfit.
  • A large brown tote bag in leather or canvas can be paired with black flip-flops or wedges for a beach day or a day out in the city. Wear a cotton or linen maxi in white or a fun floral print. Some gold-colored jewelry can complete this look.

When pairing a brown bag and black shoes with any print or design in your outfit, add a pop of black or brown in some form. This pop of color can be in either top, bottom, jewelry, or scarf. The pop of color brings together the brown bag and black shoes and makes the outfit look thoughtfully put together.

What Color Bags Can I Wear With Black Shoes?

You can wear all basic colored bags with black shoes. Black shoes can make any outfit look grounded and give you the freedom to play around with colors with your bag. Handbags in neutral colors such as nude, grey, tan, and white work well with black shoes on all occasions. Solid colored bags in deep colors such as red, navy, and camel also work well with solid black shoes.

However, the color of the bag can be a hit or miss depending on the outfit. For a cohesive look, include your handbag’s color in your outfit. For example, a grey colored bag with black shoes can work well with a grey suit or grey formal pants. Similarly, a red-colored bag works well with black shoes when paired with an all-black outfit.

Brown Bag with Black Shoes Outfit Ideas

Brown bags can look great with black shoes when paired with an overall monotone outfit. You can carry any style of brown bag with black shoes when wearing a black suit or a black dress. For everyday outfits with brown bags and black shoes, try matching the color of your bottoms with your shoes.

Pencil skirts, jeans, joggers, and even jean shorts in black color can all look great when paired with black shoes and brown bags.

Can I Wear Printed or Patterned Bags With Black Shoes?

Patterned and printed bags are great to pull off different looks. You can easily pull all kinds of patterned and printed bags, from expensive monogram patterned bags to printed tote bags with your black shoes.

The key to pairing printed and patterned bags with black shoes is to maintain cohesiveness in your overall outfit. Avoid clashing the pattern or print on your handbag with other prints in your outfit, including your shoes. The colors in the pattern or the pattern or print itself on the handbag can also determine other parts of the outfit.

For example, floral prints are softer on the eyes than sharp patterns such as houndstooth. If you want to carry a houndstooth patterned bag with black shoes, avoid including houndstooth patterned other items in the outfit.

Instead, pair it with solid clothing items and accessories to let the houndstooth pattern on the bag take the spotlight. On the other hand, a floral printed bag with black shoes can pair well with a similar floral printed top.

Handbag Styles That Work Well With Formal Black Shoes

A general fashion guideline states that all parts of an outfit should have a similar style. Hence, you can pair various formal handbags with your formal black shoes.

Pair large-sized formal bags with your formal black shoes for a formal business look. Satchel bags, large formal totes, fold-over bags, quilted bags, and structured duffel bags all work well with formal black shoes in a professional setting.

For an evening look, you can pair handbags styles such as envelope, small bucket bag clutch, wristlet, small quilted bag, and small fold-over bag with formal black shoes. You can also pair small shoulder bags, baguette bags, and shopper bags in various colors with black formal shoes for a day or night out.

Handbag Style Pairing with Black Sneakers

Black sneakers can be worn for casual Fridays at work, running errands, or even shopping. You can pair a variety of bags with your black sneakers, depending on your planning for the day.

Pair your black sneakers with a small messenger bag for a casual workday to a night-out look. Small totes also work well for this purpose with black sneakers. But pair a large tote with your black sneakers if you plan to go shopping or run errands.

Does a Black Bag Work Well with Black Shoes?

Pairing a black bag with black shoes isn’t necessary, but it always works well. You can pair a basic black handbag such as a large tote or a quilted bag with various black shoes. Small black bags can especially look great with casual black shoes such as sandals or slip-ons.

Another fashion guideline that can help you pair a black bag with black shoes is matching the color of accents in both these accessories.

For example, black boots with a gold zip on their sides should only be paired with a black bag with gold zips. Clashing accent colors in your black bag and black shoes can make your overall outfit appear unkempt.

Wrap Up

Brown bags and black shoes have become a fashion statement on their own. You don’t have to worry about the fashion police from the 1950s anymore. You can now pair any colored bag with your black shoes, given that both the bag and shoes have similar styles.

Now that you know the updated basic guidelines of pairing bags with shoes, you can create many new outfit combinations. Let me know in the comments what colored bag are you most excited to pair with your black shoes.

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