It’s easy to forget the significance that footwear bears on a man’s wardrobe. Often an afterthought, we can forget just how pivotal a pair of shoes can be for making or breaking an outfit.
As it is often suggested that a lot can be said about a man by the shoes he wears, we’d love to throw in some tips on the shoes that we have stocked in our wardrobe year-round, their importance and the best ways to style these respective shoe styles, so you’re putting your best foot forward each and every day (pun intended).
Effortlessly stylish, always elegant, the English Oxford is the quintessential shoe when it comes to classic footwear styles. A rather popular dress shoe for a range of occasions, a pair of black Oxford dress shoes will never lead its wearer astray.
Considered one of the most formal styles of footwear, it’s suggested that the Oxford dates back to well over two centuries, where students of the famed Oxford University were told to have coined its name. Unlike its counterpart in the Derby lace up – quite possibly the most common of dress shoes – the Oxford is designed in a way that features a closed lacing system that is expertly stitched underneath the vamp, as opposed to over the vamp found on a pair of Derby’s.
You’ll find us wearing a pair of Goodyear Welted black Oxfords with a black or white tuxedo, with evening attire or even for that important work meeting where first impressions count!
The aforementioned Derby shoe is a style that will work just as well at a cocktail party as it would during the work week. Beyond its versatility, it bridges the gap between smart and casual wear effortlessly.
A style that dates back to the 1800’s, it’s suggested that the Derby shoe has ties to military roots, with generals and soldiers relying on its form, style and function regularly.
Today, every decent footwear retailer will sell a style of Derby shoe; whether it be a formal dress shoe, a utilitarian Derby boot, or even a hybrid Derby-sneaker, which are becoming increasingly popular in today’s trends.
For a bit of inspiration, you could opt for a pair of Derby lace ups when suiting up for a special occasion, or even consider pairing them with tailored chinos or trousers for a more casual (yet sophisticated) look.
The Chelsea Boot
Often, it will come a time that the everyday guy will seek a versatile shoe that can do it all: run in the circles of those formal affairs; jump from platform to platform during the morning work rush; and be at home at your friend’s weekend BBQ. We’ve found the Chelsea Boot to always be the answer.
A shoe that is ever so versatile, rugged and stylish, it’s hard to look past just how efficient this workhorse of a shoe can be.
It’s said the Chelsea Boot reigned in the Victorian era, with Queen Victoria’s shoemaker attributed to the original design and function of the Chelsea Boot style. Often worn by the affluent, it was a shoe that could be used for horse riding and walking around the garden thanks to its rugged and functional design.
Fast forward to 2021, it’s still a shoe style that can battle the four seasons whilst remaining stylish and comfortable. You’ll always find us taking a pair on a weekend trip away, paired down with selvedge denim jeans, a casual shirt and a knit to finish.
Opt for a Goodyear Welted or Blake Stitched sole and your Chelsea Boots will last years with regular care.
Europe and loafers: are there any two things that pair more effortlessly? We’ll wait…
The loafer is one of our favourite styles of footwear, not only for the comfortability factor (who doesn’t love slipping into a pair of laceless shoes?), but due to its ability to be so adaptable to an array of occasions. Have a semi-formal destination wedding? A pair of black or dark brown tassel loafers will look a treat. Searching for an alternative to dress shoes for your friend’s fancy birthday drinks? Slip on a pair of suede penny loafers. The opportunities are endless!
Did we mention its ‘cool factor’ appeal, championed by leading style icons, from JFK to Steve McQueen, and countless of style barons in between?
Birthed from the moccasin style, what emerged in the early 1930s was the loafer as we know it today. The two most common styles that you will find when searching for a pair of loafers is ‘penny’ or ‘tassel’. The penny loafer is distinctive in that it features a strip of leather on the shoes’ saddle that features a ‘penny’ slit cutout. Pair with anything from denim jeans to tailored suit trousers, and don’t shy away from the exploration of material: from leather to suede to velvet. The tassel loafer – somewhat more formal – features just that, a tassel, on the shoes’ vamp, and will pair effortlessly with cuffed trousers, a formal suit or even tailored chino shorts for the summer.
As for the ‘socks/no socks’ debate: we’re partial to a no-sock loafer during the summer roaming the streets of Italy. In the winter, a pair of neutral-tone socks looks amazingly handsome when teamed with rolled denim jeans at the weekend, or cuffed trousers for something a little more formal.
A classic pair of low-top leather sneakers should reside in every man’s wardrobe, no matter the season. American luxury footwear brand Common Projects can be attributed to kicking off the trend of this style of sneaker, and men haven’t looked back since its first introduction in 2004. A trusty pair of white leather sneakers will always serve its purpose in your wardrobe, and with a bit of know-how, you can effortlessly pair a host of outfits in your repertoire with just one pair of sneakers.
When we look for a fresh pair of sneakers, style, comfort and quality are three non-negotiables. Considering you might wear your sneakers everyday of the week (we’re looking at you, creatives), you’ll want to get it right, so investing a little more into your purchase will never lead you astray.
When dressing your sneakers up or down during the summer, you can’t go past a sleek white or neutral-tone sneaker paired with rolled chinos or denim jeans and a casual crewneck t-shirt; classic. During the cooler months, a sneaker will work well with tailored trousers (cuffed), a turtle neck and an overcoat to finish. For an alternative look to a cocktail-themed party or wedding, why not pair your sneakers with a suit?
Options are endless.
Unapologetic, never arrogant, always assertively BESPOKE
image credits The Rake, George Cleverley, Crockett & Jones, Matches Fashion, Mr Porter, Esquire, Harrods, The Robb Report