Understanding Men’s Dress Shoes isn’t difficult.
Like most things in life, if you break it up into sections and apply a few guidelines it turns out to be pretty simple.
This guide is an overview of men’s dress shoe formality meant to help you “generally” understand shoe types, the levels of dress, and what shoes can be worn with what style clothing.
Note – this chart does make generalizations that some shoe aficionados may have an issue with. I admit it’s not perfect – if you have suggestions, email me. In later articles, we’ll tackle the issue of color matching and address specific styles like suede and cordovan.
- The dressiest oxford men’s footwear selection. Sleek, refined, most often sold in black or brown but appropriate in any dark conservative color.
- Style variations include plain toe, cap toe, brogue, and whole cut.
- Appropriate for a suit, if casually styled works with sports jackets and odd trousers. Do not combine with jeans or chinos.
- Every man who owns a suit should own a pair of classic oxfords that are minimally styled. If you wear suits daily you should rotate three pairs or more.
- Less dressy than Bal oxfords, identified by lacing system sewn outside of the shoe.
- Well dressed men know these can be worn with a suit, but are better with an odd jacket and trousers. Can be worn with jeans assuming they are casually styled
- Style variations include cap toe, wing tip, brogue, wide variation in materials like suede and mixed leathers.
- Common variations are saddle shoes, derbies, spectators, and laced moccasins
- A classic shoe that should serve as your 2nd or a 3rd pair depending on needs -the more extreme the styling, the less versatile the shoe.
- Dress boots are meant to be worn when the weather dictates protecting the ankles from water, mud, and snow -in levels of formality they should not be worn with a suit, although they can if the weather calls for it. If wearing under fair weather conditions, boots should be worn under the rules applicable to a pair of informal bluchers.
- Style variations include cap toe, wing tip, brogues, wide variation in materials especially water resistant leather cuts.
- Appropriate for a sports jacket and odd trousers or jeans. Only wear with a suit in rainy/snowy weather.
- A man should consider boots if he is exposed to conditions that warrant their wear -otherwise, reserve them for your 4th to 5thpair.
Men’s Loafers or Slip-ons
- The least dressy choice, they are a product of comfort and convenience.
- Only with a suit when traveling, they are at home with a casual odd jacket and trousers minus necktie. Can be worn with jeans or chinos as well.
- Style variations are wide -usually the more delicate and closer resemblance to oxfords the more dressy. Also, the greater the exposure of socks, the less formal.
- Common variations are monk straps, tassel loafers, penny loafers, unlaced moccasins.
- Loafers are a traveler’s best friend – easy to slip on and off when going through airport security or when relaxing on the plane,I recommend they be the 2nd pair a traveling man owns or the 3rd pair for a man who like to look sharp around town in jeans and button down shirt.
All of the shoes in the pictures can be found at AceMarks.
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They raised over $1.8 MILLION Dollars because their leather dress shoes are that good.
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