Can you ever have enough shoes? Ask any woman and she is bound to have at least 20 pairs! Men are not too far behind despite fewer style and colour options, but the styles are as classy as they come. From Oxfords to loafers, from boots to moccasins, there is a pair for every occasion and nothing is more attractive than a man with a pair of clean and stylish shoes. There is a reason for the saying ‘shoes make the man’. The ensemble may not be all that great, but when paired with the right kind of shoes, it can take a man to a whole different level.
The basics of choosing men’s dress shoes lie in the features. The main differentiators are laces, brogueing and the toe style. Here’s a look at the differences:
Closed and open lacings can be hard to differentiate but are an essential to the formalness of the shoes. Closed lacing, as featured in Oxfords, can be confused with Derby shoes that have open lacing to give them a more casual look. Brogueing is the perforated pattern that runs through the seams of a shoe. It can be present on any style of shoe but is most popular on Oxfords, boots and derby shoes. Any shoe and toe style can have brogueing and is available in four different toecap styles: full brogue, longwing brogue, semi-brogue, and quarter brogue. Toe styles too can range from wings to caps to a plain toe style.
Now there are some popular styles that are an essential in every man’s wardrobe.
The Oxford is a classic and versatile option. It can be dressed up with formal wear or dressed down for a more casual look. Very popular as a choice for formal wear, they look fabulous with a suit and tie ensemble.
The Derby shoe, also known as the Blucher, was originally intended as sporting and hunting boots. Many may mistake them for Oxfords, as their shape is similar and the differences are few. The main difference lies in the construction of the lacing.
The Monk Strap falls somewhere ‘in-between’ the Oxford and the Derby. It has a similar shape to the Oxford but without laces. The Monk Strap has a wide strap that is fastened across the front of the shoe. This can be either a single or a double buckle feature. These are a nice alternative to the laced dress shoes and add a sense of style to any outfit. Monk Straps are often crafted out of leather or suede and can be found with or without decorative brogueing.
The Loafer is similar to a moccasin and is most recognizable by its slip-on style. Originally meant as a casual house slipper made for King George VI of England, the loafer did not gain popularity until much later. In 1966, Gucci introduced the infamous ‘bit loafer’ that featured a metal strap across the front in the shape of a horse’s bit, thereby making it a little more formal than originally intended. The different styles apart from the bit are tassels with or without a side lacing or penny loafers. This style goes great with any casual attire, be it a pair of shorts, linen pants or even a casual suit.
Some of the best luxury brands for men’s shoes are Santoni, Hugo Boss, Joseph Cheaney, Armani Collezioni – all available at The Collective. Time to put your best food forward.
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