Wear this: Bold and Two-Toned Shoes Put your best foot forward in this retro-cool style

It’s perfectly understandable to go straight for the neutral tones and classic shoes in your wardrobe. They’re safe elements that anyone can look good in and you won’t risk looking like a style novice. But next time you reach for that basic pair of brown leather shoes, why not opt for something more eye-catching, like a pair of bold two-toned shoes? When styled correctly, these shoes can make an otherwise boring outfit pop and give passersby the impression that you are indeed, a fashionable guy. Read on to find out everything there is to know about them.

What Are Two-Tone Shoes?

Taft Two Tone Boots

You might have seen them on Leonardo DiCaprio when he was playing the literary legend, Jay Gatsby. The definition of a two-toned shoe is just as its name suggests. It’s a shoe (often an oxford or brogue) consisting of two contrasting colors. Believed to be originally designed by famous footwear manufacturer, John Lobb, they are also known as spectator shoes today. 

History

In the 1920’s, two-toned shoes symbolized a more casual and sporty style for days out of the office and were particularly popular with musicians and gangsters. Originally, spectators were black and white and worn in the spring and summer months, as it was fashionable to wear white shoes during that time. The black was believed to hide grass and dirt stains. Today, spectators come in a variety of color combinations and are worn by swing dancers or vintage lovers who want to relive that era. It is the perfect footwear for anyone that wants a style challenge and appreciates the timeless silhouette of a wingtip or cap-toe shoe.

Why You Should Wear Them

man wearing brown and white spectator shoes

Two-toned shoes are definitely a bold statement and adding them to your closet is a great way to amplify your personal style. They are perfect for anyone who may be a bit of an old soul and prefers a vintage aesthetic with a lot of history behind it. The intricate design of the spectator shoe gives off a timeless feel that sets your look apart from the typical modern style. Depending on how they’re styled, they can give you that advantage to make a great impression. But no, you don’t need to suit up to rock them. Two-toned shoes can be worn with your typical casual wear, like denim and a sweater, and still retain their classic charm.

How to style them

Make good practice out of color theory by coordinating your outfits by colors that go well together. For example, complementary colors like red and blue make for a bold contrast that is appealing to the eyes. It’s also a good idea to coordinate outfits by warm and cool colors, for an analogous and well-balanced look. Just because the shoes have two contrasting tones doesn’t mean the rest of your outfit has to as well. Having a consistent color scheme will make your look easier on the eyes and your two-toned shoes stand out even more. Here are some of our outfit ideas

cool tone outfit with black and white spectator shoes

Trim Fit Dress Shirt $39.90 • Hermes Cape Cod Belt $950 • Stacy Adams Atticus Wingtips $79.99 • Navy Wool Suit Jacket $638.00

Pair a bold two-toned shoe with a monochrome outfit to really draw attention on your footwear. To prevent looking too plain, try experimenting with different textures and patterns in the same color tone. Watch out for scaling if you’re going to mix patterns so your outfit won’t look too busy. If your shoe is a darker shade, go for an outfit with light colors to create emphasis on the shoe and vice versa with a shoe in a lighter shade. The opposite effect will draw the eyes to the focal point of your outfit, your two-toned shoes.

Keep in mind the other pieces in your outfit. You shouldn’t be wearing two-toned shoes with a casual graphic T-shirt. Instead, opt for a collared shirt like a polo or dress shirt. If the weather calls for it, throw on a knit sweater or cardigan for the stylish scholar look.

maroon, navy, and cream outfit idea with brown spectator shoes

Mezlan Colorblock Leather Wingtips, $199.99 • Pendleton Wool Crewneck Sweater $60.00 • Bennett Signature Business Shirt $89.95

 

Pants have the power to make or break the shoes so make sure they are a good fit. That is, not too tight and not too baggy. Ill-fitting pants that are not hemmed correctly will hide the statement shoe’s classic vibe. Spectator shoes look best with a slightly cropped, slim fit pant. This tailoring will keep your vintage style from looking dated.

Wear printed socks and roll up the cuffs of your pants. This will give your outfit an extra flair of personality. Don’t wear socks that make too much of a statement. Go for a pair that is a neutral color but have a fun pattern.

While they are bold, spectators can be a great addition to your closet essentials when you incorporate more toned-down pieces into your outfit. They aren’t just for dressy occasions that call for a matching suit and tie. In fact, spectator shoes are historically thought to have been very casual. By mixing and matching with more casual garments, you can definitely rock this statement style of footwear.