Wear Black Chelsea Boots to Your Advantage

Key Points

  • Black Chelsea boots have been a fashion mainstay for generations.

  • The leather and suede versions of the Chelsea boot go with almost any style from casual to more formal.

  • Chelsea boots are easy to clean and maintain.

Shoes can make or break your outfit. Everything from the ankles up may be considered a portion of being a "sharp-dressed man," but the shoes tell all. For the casual observer, it's either obvious you put thought into your appearance or you gave up once you got to your footwear. To send the right message, consider the "holy grail" of footwear — the always cool, extremely comfortable, and shoe-chic black Chelsea boots. These shoes are undeniably appropriate for any man and any occasion. No, really!

Learning these necessary fashion and cleaning tips means you and your black Chelsea boots are sure to be turning heads for many years to come.

Why Black Chelsea Boots Are Important to Men's Fashion

Whether it’s The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, or even Austin Butler, black Chelsea boots have been in the public eye and on many famous – and unfamous – feet.

The Chelsea boot was created in 1837 by the order of Queen Victoria, who wanted a boot that would keep her laces from getting caught in the stirrups while horseback riding. Since then, the no-laces, slip-on boots are a staple for music icons, famous actors, royalty, and even fashion-conscious men and women in the general public.

You are hard-pressed to name any other footwear that has lasted through multiple centuries.

Granted, many non-footwear fashion items have also survived the test of time, and some that were hopefully relegated to the dustbin have resurfaced. 

Black Chelsea boots

Looking at you, JNCO jeans.

When you put on black Chelsea boots, it is rewarding to know you don't need a whole new wardrobe to go with a single pair of boots. Chelseas go with just about anything. If you have numerous pairs of sneakers and loafers only to ensure your shoes match the rest of your ensemble, you can buy a pair of black Chelsea boots and hold a spring cleaning rummage sale to clear out your closet.

Chances are pretty good you don't have an excess of shirts and pants hanging in the closet. Three shirts and three pairs of pants give you a choice of nine everyday outfits. Instead of needing five or six pairs of shoes, you probably only need one — black Chelsea boots.

A good fashion tip: Less is more. A focused closet gives you a focused look.

The fact that Chelsea boots have been around so long is a testament to their compatibility with vastly different fashion trends over the decades.

The boots are more relevant than ever in 2023!

How To Style Suede Black Chelsea Boots

As of the early 2020s, suede Chelsea boots are the most popular version because they can be worn with casual outfits. Denim and Chelsea boots seem to be made for each other, regardless of their colors.

If you prefer black denim pants, consider wearing a solid-color T-shirt with a black or brown suede jacket. The black denim embraces the texture of the suede, while the shiny leather of the jacket attracts attention to your upper body.

If you want a well-considered outside opinion, actor/writer/fashion icon Justin Theroux once said, "I've always liked boots. I always think it's better to wear a boot, not a shoe."

The boots also pop much more in an ensemble of light-blue denim pants with a black or white T-shirt under a red flannel. Adding a denim jacket takes your outfit from casual and fun to mature and fun! This is known as the so-called "Canadian tuxedo."

Black Chelsea boots with jeans outside Photo source: Google.com

How To Style Leather Black Chelsea Boots

When considering leather, think about dressing business casual or retro. Black leather Chelsea boots are meant to be worn with suit trousers. You can wear them with black or navy blue denim pants, but the beauty of the leather goes best with the recommended option.

Black trousers focus attention on your shoes because the different textures mesh well together. Black denim with leather boots makes the bottom half of your outfit blend too much. Cotton or wool pants are a great stand-alone piece, while the leather provides chic flare on your feet!

A graphic T-shirt is a bold choice to add edginess to the dapper bottom half of the outfit — if that's your thing.

An important note: Stay away from wearing T-shirts featuring brand names such as "Adidas" or "Yeti." With this specific style, the print on your T-shirt should be the name of a band, a photo, art, a movie poster, or some abstract imagery. Turning yourself into a walking billboard for a company, store, or other products detracts from an otherwise rugged masculine look.

How To Clean Suede

Cleaning your sexy suede black Chelsea boots is quite simple.

Spread some baking powder on the stains of your boots and let them rest for ten minutes. Rub the stains out with a toothbrush. If the stains are stubborn, splash a small amount of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol onto the stains and continue to use the toothbrush to graze the stains.

An alternative is to use a rag to wipe the excess dirt from your suede shoes. Spread a thin layer of warm water and dish soap. Wipe with a damp cloth and then use a dry rag to get rid of the soap residue.

How To Clean Leather

To clean your leather Chelseas, create a vinegar and water mixture. Soak a cloth in the mixture and start to wipe away the dirt or scuffs. Be sure to stuff your boots with a long cloth or paper towels to preserve their shape.

If you want the best of the best, worry no more. Amazon.com has a variety of leather shoe cleaning kits. The Marz company's kit has rave reviews.

The Marz kit contains two polishes (one specifically for black leather), two sponges, a shining cloth, and a horsehair brush. The leather solution is a surefire way to keep your shoes from losing their shape. Cleaning the boots with water can result in the leather eventually cracking. The horsehair brush gets rid of any nasty scuffs that occur throughout the day without damaging the leather. The cloth cleans residue away in one swipe.

For $18.99, this leather shoe cleaning kit is an investment to consider.

Black Chelsea boots with cleaning supplies

How To Style a Suit With Black Chelsea Boots

Some ask if it is okay to wear Chelsea boots with a suit. The answer is a resounding "Yes" — but only if they're black leather. Suede footwear is too closely linked to casual fashion to go well with a sophisticated suit.

You are wise to stay clear of suits with patterns because the combination looks awkward. Perhaps the best choice is a slim-fitted black suit. A thin, black satin tie goes well with the smoothness of the black leather boots. This ensemble creates a variety of textures essential for any all-black outfit.

That said, the heels on your boots should be no higher than one inch to avoid looking too similar to cowboy boots. Unless you're intentionally going for the "King's Road meets Chisholm Trail" look, take the lower heels. The toes of your Chelseas should be more pointed than rounded.

The width of the soles is important. Make sure to follow the rule that the thinner the suit, the thinner the soles.

If you are a gentleman who prefers baggier suits, thicker soles are appropriate. Thin soles look like socks if you are wearing a baggier suit. People might think you did it by accident. The thicker soles complete your baggy suit.

Styling in Different Seasons

Everybody knows Chelsea boots are great for the colder seasons, but ask yourself these questions before venturing out to walk in your winter wonderland:

  • Is there a thin layer of snow outside?

  • Is there slushy snow on the street?

  • Are the weather conditions harsh or sporadic?

  • Will the elements damage the boots' fabric?

Black Chelsea boots are made to last, so they are usually okay in most weather conditions. If the weather is vicious, wear boots specifically made to withstand those nasty days of winter.

It is frustrating trying to clean salt, mud, and other winter-weather liquids off of your Chelseas.

On calm winter days, style your suede Chelseas with an overcoat and colored scarf. The pop of color in the scarf dispels any impression of you going to a funeral. Be stylish and warm without looking like Randy from A Christmas Story.

A cream-colored cable knit sweater is a perfect match for your suede Chelseas. Once again, avoid tops with logos that draw attention away from the texture and craftsmanship of the sweater.

The Chelsea boot is apropos for all seasons — even hot summer days.

Black Chelsea boots side view

If you want to wear shorts, socks are a must. The socks slim the bulky tops of your shoes up to your lower calves. A pair of linen, denim, or khaki shorts pairs nicely with suede Chelseas, but do not wear sweat shorts, basketball shorts, or running shorts.

While you want the leg to be above the knees, the material in athletic shorts is too casual and throws off your overall look. Linen, denim, and khaki shorts have a more suave edge that is perfect for your Chelsea boots.

For the torso, a go-to choice is a white long-sleeve button-up shirt. The button-up is a studious look and matches the narrow shape of your summer fit. On the other hand, donning an oversized T-shirt seems counterintuitive but advances your striking look of wearing shorts with boots.

Slim doesn't always mean better!

Coats, Hoodies, and Jackets

Jackets and Chelsea boots are meant to be together. If you have any jackets that are "old-fashioned," business casual, casual, or even a hoodie, you're in luck! Any type of jacket matches well with your Chelseas.

Starting simple, wear your black suede or leather Chelsea boots with a grey hoodie. Slim black denim pants are the most suitable option in this instance. Wearing a bold black pair of sunglasses gives your outfit a little extra oomph.

If you need to dress business casual, consider a navy peacoat — not as popular as it once was, but still as classy as you can get. Wear it with a black sweater to get a variation of two similar-but-different dark colors.

This goes with black dress pants, but make sure the width around your ankle is wider than the width of your leather Chelsea boots. The pants cuff must cover the top half of your boots, not lie on top of them.

To expand your outfit, wear a silver watch or some other piece of jewelry that is tasteful but not flashy.

Onto the overcoat — a coat that is never out of style.

Black Chelsea boots at angle Photo source: Google.com

If you’re looking for an appealing overcoat, check out the lineup at Zara.com. They sell coats made of cotton, wool, polyester, and different types of fur. There is sure to be something that suits your tastes.

That said, overcoats with Chelsea boots are the peanut butter and chocolate of fashion combinations. As a popular brewery says of their product, "It doesn't get any better than this."

To achieve a classier look, wearing a herringbone overcoat with leather Chelsea boots is tough to beat. Another idea would be to try a plaid overcoat with either suede or leather Chelsea boots.

Wearing checkered grey dress pants is considered adventurous, but works (with confidence). For casual attire, knitted overcoats are very popular. Knitted overcoats provide more room to experiment with loud colors. Reds, greens, and blues give your outfit an inviting and experimental look.

Where To Find the Best Black Chelsea Boots


For most people, the most important facet of a shoe is comfort. An occasional blister is no fun; remember to properly break in your leather boots. If your feet are sore after wearing the shoes, they are either too small or don't support the shape of your foot.

Always try on boots with thicker socks since those are the socks to be worn with the boots. The elastic should rest on your ankles, not hover over or strangle them. Leather stretches over time, but it needs to be comfortable in the meantime.

In short, if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it!

Before you commit to a pair, try them on at a department store. Ted Baker, Zara, and La Maison Simons sell inexpensive leather Chelsea boots with enthusiastic consumer reviews praising their comfort. Hugo Boss sells a pair on Nordstrom with a perfect five-star rating.


You are unlikely to find a pair of suede Chelsea boots that aren't comfortable right off the bat. The space, flexibility, and convenience of the Chelsea boot are why it's a legend.

The suede molds around your feet. If there is more than half an inch of space on your heels, the boots are too big. Since there are no laces, your boots should be snug and shouldn't have room for them to slip off of your feet.

When you need a pair of shoes in a neutral color, you can almost hear your Chelseas saying, "Pick me! Pick me!"

Clarks, H&M, Zara, Banana Republic, and Marc Fisher carry a few of the best black suede boot options on the market.

Whether you're 19 or 90, there is something to be found for you in each of these brands.

Zara and H&M sell Chelsea boots with a narrow slim-fit look that meshes with skinny jeans; Zara's and H&M's demographics are mostly young men and this generation is all about slim presentation. Clarks, Banana Republic, and Marc Fisher are alternative brands that don't distribute boots that are fads. These brands' boots are well-made and popular in the footwear fashion marketplace.

Black suede Chelsea boots with black jeans Photo source: Google.com

Have Fun!

Perhaps the best thing about black Chelsea boots is they are suitable for men of any age. Their combination of coolness, comfort, and chicness continues to make the Chelsea boot one of the most popular choices to put on your feet.

As you begin your search for the perfect black Chelsea boot, be willing to challenge your fashion comfort zone. Wear pieces that don't work with any other footwear.

The great thing about black Chelsea boots is they are a blank canvas that encourages you to come up with pieces to create your outfit.

The Chelsea boot may fade in and out of favor in the fashion world, but its beautiful simplicity is like a "fountain of youth" for the shoe that all but guarantees it never disappears from streets and feet all over the world.

Just remember: If the question is, "What shoe goes with this outfit?" the answer is "black Chelsea boots."

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