The saying goes that shoes make the man and that a man’s respect for himself can be shown through his shoes. Is it true? I wouldn’t say so. Some men might not be educated in the world of fashion but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have respect for himself.
With that being said, shoes are still important and your choices matter even more for the dressier ones. There are many types of dress shoes out there with many different variations so how do you pick? This guide will help you with that.
The first pair of dress shoes that every man who wears a suit needs is the classic and timeless oxfords. They are characterized by their closed lacing system. You can tell it has a closed lacing system when you don’t see any visible flaps on the face of the shoe. Oxfords are dressy, elegant, and minimalistic. They are mostly sold in black or brown and can be dressed up or down depending on which oxfords you have.
An oxford that is made with patent black leather would be good for formal occasions in which you would wear a tuxedo. For an event in which you would wear chinos and a sports coat, you could wear a pair of full grain leather oxfords. Since oxfords are meant for formal occasions, I would suggest you to not wear them with jeans.
The monk strap shoe can come with one buckle, two buckles, or even three! One strap gives you a clean, minimalistic, and timeless look. However, when you go with double monks or more, you’re leaning towards a more fashion forward look. The formality of these shoes is in between that of the derby and the oxford. They are unique and will definitely make you stand out.
When you buy the shoe, you can enhance your look by making sure the buckle matches your belt buckle, wrist watch, and cuff-links.
Bluchers / Derby
Bluchers can often be confused with oxfords since they look so similar. The difference is that they are characterized by their open lacing system (as opposed to the oxfords closed lacing system). This means that the lacing is sewn to the outside of the shoe and that you can see visible flaps on the shoe. An open lacing system allows the shoe to have a wider and more comfortable fit. They are a little less sleek and a little less formal than the oxfords. They are also heavier and more rugged than the oxfords too. These are a great choice for your business attire or your smart-casual wear. Bluchers can go well with more casual suits that are made of fabrics such as linen, tweed, and cotton. You can also wear these with jeans unlike the oxfords.
Many dress boots have the shape of bluchers but have higher ankles. Dress boots are used for when the event requires you to walk through the rain, mud, or snow. They should only be worn when the weather requires it. They have the same formality as bluchers so dress them up and down as you would with bluchers.
Loafers / Slip-ons
Loafers are the most casual shoes on this list. If you travel often, these should be the 2nd or 3rd pair of dress shoes that you buy. They are fantastic for the travelling business man. When you need to go through security at the airport, you can slip them on and off quickly and easily. Not only are they comfortable and convenient, but they can make any smart-casual outfit. There are many different types of loafers such as boat shoes or penny loafers. One tip you should be aware of about loafers is that, the more formal the shoe you have, the less sock you should expose.
Formal Pump / Opera Pump
Opera Pumps are one of the most formal types of footwear that a man can wear. They are meant for black tie or white tie events. Some people think that all loafers are casual however, the opera pump is a loafer made of polished shiny black patent leather. It is also characterized by its grosgrain ribbon decoration on the cap of the shoe. They are an alternative to wearing patent leather oxfords and are mostly seen on the most fashionable of men.
Typically, the sleeker and simpler the shoe design, the more formal it is. This guide explains the different types of dress shoes that a man would have in his wardrobe however, each of these shoes can be styled in different variations. For example, the you can have a wingtip oxford or a whole cut oxford. Those variations will be covered in another article.
What are your favorite pair of dress shoes and how did you choose them? We would love to know all about it. Leave a comment below or share your thoughts with your friends!