This is the truth- you can judge a man by his shoes, especially his dress shoes. Wearing the wrong pair of dress shoes reeks of a sartorial catastrophe. They can surely feel like a challenge at first but once you wrap your head around the basics, you’ll always be stepping out in style.
Here are ten things every man should must know about dress shoes to ensure that he’s always putting his best foot forward.
Shoes are almost like living things- they have a tongue, a throat, a waist, eyelets and of course, a sole. The vamp connects the toe area to the quarter that wraps around the body and back.
Let’s talk about the four most popular styles of dress shoes. You can never go wrong with a pair of classic Oxfords, closed- lacing from under the vamp make them look sleek and sharp. Derbys may not be as formal but they definitely more forgiving with their open lacing. Only wear Monk Straps if you can carry them off -if you are not sure about it, you probably can’t. And then we have Loafers that could easily be renamed Lazies. Don’t expect people to be impressed if you have them on your feet.
There’s no harm in getting a little fancy. Brogueing is all about added details to the shoe. Be it patterns of stitches or holes, you can select how much of a dandy you want to be as there are different levels of brogue – quarter, semi, full and wingtip.
With dress shoes, it’s important to watch your toes. Plain toes, the most elegant style refers to no toe cap or brogue detail. A toe cap is an extra piece of leather that is fitted to shoe to make it more versatile. Finally we have wing-tips which refers to a toe cap with an extended point that make the top of your shoes look like they have a widow’s peak.
Leather. That’s it. Nothing else will do. Unless you’re vegan, though stereotypes say that you probably don’t wear shoes anyway. A plain glossy finish is your safest bet, however you can experiment with a textures if you’re feeling adventurous.
You get what you pay for. If you are going to skimp on the price, you will be compromising on the style. If the pair you’re trying on make you feel like a king, get them. Invest in a good pair of dress shoes and they can last you for years, sometimes even a decade.
Black dress shoes are non-negotiable, a man’s wardrobe is incomplete without them. Picking between browns and reds really depends on the colour of your garments. Exotic patterns and whites require an expert level of knowledge about style and shoes.
Stick to Oxfords for really formal events. Monk Straps are for semi-formal events and for when you want to make a statement. Derbys are for smart casuals and sporty settings. For more casual dos, you can slip on some Loafers.
There’s no upper limit to the number shoes you can own, Kanye can testify to that. But to be modest, owning about five pairs of dress shoes across the different styles mentioned in this list is ideal.
All gentlemen should own a quintessential shoe-care kit. A high quality shoe-brush, applicator cream and polish wax will keep your shoes shining like the stars they are. Here’s a protip, shoe-trees are a must-have if you own a pair of dress shoes that cost as much as your kidney.