One of the biggest style mistakes that men make is not paying enough attention to their footwear. This leads to wearing shoes that are improper for the occasion or shoes that are inappropriately chosen for a suit and trouser combination.
The reality is that footwear can make or break your look. With this in mind, we recommend sticking to classic styles if you’re new to putting together more traditional or professional looks. In this post, we discuss 6 basic shoe styles that everyone should know and work from. As we like to say at Lingo Luxe, “good shoes take you to good places."
The Oxford is often referred to as the most elegant type of men’s shoe – for good reason. Oxfords and Derbies (which we’ll touch upon below) are the classic lace up options to wear with a suit. The principal defining characteristic of the Oxford is its closed lace system.
For a closed lace system, the vamp is sewn on top of the quarters and the shoelace eyelets facing is stitched underneath the vamp. The shoelaces are used to tie the two quarters together thus fastening the shoe onto your foot. It’s a sleek and formal option and is definitely an appropriate choice for professional environments.
A variation of the classic Oxford is what is referred to in North America as a Balmoral, with no stitching but a toe cap and is considered to be a very formal choice.
A Derby is similar to an Oxford in style but has a 2-piece construction, the vamp being the front upper part of the shoe, the counter being the back hell and sides.
While the Oxford has “closed lacing”, the Derby has “open lacing” where the eyelets are attached to the top of the vamp. It is considered to be a more casual, versatile shoe than an Oxford because of this open lacing system and is great for a blazer or a sport coat.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes broguing as an ornamentation of shoes employing heavy perforations and pinking. As a result, it’s a shoe style denoted by its detailing rather than construction meaning that a brogue can be an Oxford, Derby, boot – any shoe with perforated pieced detailing.
A classic wingtip is a common brogue style that brings a lot of personality to an outfit.
The Monk Strap is a great alternative to the Oxford and Derby and adds versatility as it can be worn in various environments and settings. They look equally sharp worn to an important business meeting or on a night out.
The single strap is considered the more classic version, but the double monk strap is increasingly popular and comes across as a more adventurous choice.
For their versatility and timeless style, Chelsea Boots have remained a firm sartorial favourite. However, in recent years, Chelsea Boots have become increasingly popular in both classic dressing and street style.
The slim, sleek silhouette is versatile and pairs excellently with slim cut trousers and suits. Given that bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were wearing these boots back in the 1960s, they are a great throwback look with retro styling. They are also a fantastic option for winter as they are practical without sacrificing style.
Just like Chelsea Boots, loafers have become very popular in both classic dressing and street style with the introduction of new designer styles (we are looking at you Gucci).
Generally, more relaxed due it’s lace-less construction and low-cut profile, loafers are a versatile piece with plenty of different styling options. Tassel loafers are great for a smart/casual look with a blazer and chinos. Detailing like gold buckles can denote a more formal style, broadening the versatility of the shoe style.
On That Note
If you have been neglecting your footwear, now is your chance to make a change. You’ve got all the information you need to pick out a pair. As long as you assess the situation, the right shoes can elevate your outfit. Just take the time to figure out whether they work better with your business-casual look, or that smart suit, and you’ll be a real shoe aficionado in no time.
Thank you Undandy Shoes for providing imagery for this blog post.
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