Absent of any laces, the monk strap shoe is fastened with a buckle and strap. The style was popularized by European monks centuries ago, who wore this shoe style to keep their feet warm and dry. The monk strap shoe is a great alternative to the loafer and can be worn with both casual and formal looks.
Here are some tips on wearing monk strap shoes stylishly with any outfit.
Related: Types of Monk Strap Shoes
How to Wear Monk Shoes with a Suit
While the monk shoe takes a back seat to Oxford and Derby styles when it comes to formal events where certain dress codes are expected, you can still wear monk strap shoes to slightly more formal affairs. Just make sure that the rest of your outfit is fairly simple and understated.
Cognac and Oxblood monk shoes pair exceptionally well with navy suits. Just be sure to get a matching brown leather belt to complete the look.
Consider wearing black monk shoes with a charcoal grey or black three-piece suit for a slightly more sharp look. You can add a pop of color through small accessories, including a pocket square or your tie.
How to Wear Monk Shoes with a Blazer
Consider wearing monk shoes with a blazer for slightly more informal or business casual occasions where a suit isn’t required. This is a great way to show off your style without being too dressy. Perfect for the office or a night out, you can’t go wrong with this look.
Brown monk strap shoes can nicely complement a navy, light charcoal, tweed, tan, burgundy, or white blazer. If you want to add a little bit of extra flair, consider pairing them with patterned socks or a checkered blazer.
On the other hand, black monk shoes can be a bit tricky. Therefore, we recommend this color of monk shoe be paired with a black or charcoal blazer.
For the pants, we recommend dark denim, chinos, or wool trousers.
How to Wear Monk Shoes with Jeans
While tough, it is possible to wear monk shoes with jeans and look stylish. The key is to make sure that the rest of your outfit is fairly simple without too many clashing colors or patterns.
If you’re going to wear monk shoes with jeans, we recommend dark wash denim in a slim or skinny fit. Some guys can get away with stone-washed or light-colored jeans. It is more difficult to pull off, but when done correctly, looks great.
Avoid distressed or ripped jeans as they directly contrast with the formal look of monk shoes.
A clean and nearly form-fitting polo shirt, sweater, or white oxford shirt is best for the top. Anything too baggy or loose will look sloppy.
How to Wear Monk Shoes Casually
Believe it or not, some men have pulled off wearing monk shoes with shorts or just a button-down (absent any blazer). We don’t necessarily recommend it, but if you’re going to do it, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First and foremost, make sure that the shorts are fairly form-fitting and not too baggy. Second, the rest of your outfit should be fairly subdued without too many clashing colors or patterns.
Lastly, avoid wearing socks that rise above the shoe’s collar as it will ruin the clean line. Instead, no-show socks are the way to go.
Style tips to Keep In Mind
Here are a few considerations and fashion rules to keep in mind when deciding what to wear with your monk shoes:
Upper Materials: Monk shoes are typically made from leather, but they can also be made from suede or woven fabric. Leather is more formal and best paired with suits and blazers. Suede and fabric monk shoes are more casual and great for jeans or chinos. Here we review some of the best monk shoes.
Color: Brown and black are the most common colors for monk shoes. These timeless colors are versatile and can be worn with various outfits. These colors are great if you want only a few, but highly rotated, items in your wardrobe.
Buckle Type: Monk shoes will either be single strap monk shoes or double strap monk shoes. The former has one large strap across the shoe, while the latter has two smaller straps. While the number of buckles is largely a personal preference, generally speaking, the more hardware on the shoe, the more casual it is. You can use this as a guide when pairing monk shoes with the rest of your outfit.
It depends on the dress code. If it’s a black-tie affair, we recommend you leave your monk shoes at home and opt for a more formal dress shoe like an oxford. However, if the dress code is more relaxed, monk shoes can be appropriate.
No, we don’t recommend it. Monk shoes are too casual to be worn with a tuxedo. Instead, go with a polishable dress shoe like an oxford or loafer.
If you are interviewing at a finance firm, then no, a monk strap shoe is too casual. However, if you’re interviewing for a position in a more creative field, then a monk strap shoe could be appropriate. Before the interview, if possible, get a good idea of the company culture to better gauge what type of shoe to wear.
It can be done, but it’s largely not advised. Monk strap shoes are meant to be worn with pants and jeans. Wearing them with shorts can look a bit odd and out of place. If you must wear them with shorts, we recommend sticking to solid colors like khaki or navy. Additionally, make sure the rest of your outfit is fairly smart-looking.