Men who care about how they look, pay very close attention to the choice of shoes. Worn cheap shoes can ruin a person’s business reputation. Therefore, you need to choose shoes carefully, especially if a lot depends on what the first impression is. There are many examples of such situations: a rendezvous with a potential business partner or employer, a first date with an attractive girl, etc.
If you need to appear before your counterpart in all splendor and create the best impression, you should bet on the classic model of shoes. The most official and strict style of men’s shoes is called oxfords.
Until the 17th century, men’s shoes were represented mainly by boots. Men wore shoes with high tops, both outdoors and indoors. And thanks to Louis XIV, who was not tall, but he wanted to rise above his subjects, men’s shoes acquired heels.
The first who decided to wear shoes with low tops, were students studying at Oxford University. It was there that they began to wear semi-boots, which had an ankle that barely covered the ankles, and slits on the sides that made it easier to put on shoes.
Over time, models of student shoes have undergone significant changes. First, the slits were replaced by lacing, and second, the height of the shoes was significantly reduced, the shoes now did not cover the ankle. However, some researchers argue that these revolutionary changes did not take place in the student environment, since not only students, but also representatives of high society, began to wear “Oxford shoes”.
There is a version that the “ancestors” of modern men’s oxfords was the shoes worn by the inhabitants of Scotland. One of the types of classic men’s shoes in the United States today is called “balmorals” in the honor of the Scottish residence of the Windsor dynasty – Balmoral Castle.
Over time, men’s shoes have become a prerequisite for attending various social events. Nowadays, men’s oxfords are still very popular.
Modern men’s Oxfords have the following features:
- Lacing. This is a mandatory part of the shoes of this type, moreover, the lacing system in Oxford closed. This is the main difference from other types of classic shoes for men – the derby. What is “closed lacing”? To understand this, you need to get acquainted with the names of the parts of shoes. The front part, covering the rise of the foot is called the vamp, and those parts in which there are holes for the laces – berets. If the pinching system is closed, then the vamp is sewn over the berets.
- Height. The height of the classic shoes – below the level of the ankle. However, you can also see high oxfords covering the ankle. But this type of shoe does not belong to the classics.
- Heel. This model has a wide low heel, oxfords on a flat sole, that is, they do not produce anything without a heel. The height of the heel, as a rule, does not exceed 2 centimeters.
- Sole. They produce classic men’s oxfords on thin soles of specially treated leather. However, now on sale there are more democratic options. For example, you can find shoes on a thick sole made of polyurethane, this is the so-called winter men’s oxfords. Although the name is conditional, the shoes do not have a warm lining and are not suitable for wearing in the cold. Shoes on thick, often grooved soles do not belong to the official category, it is recommended to wear it with informal clothes.
Materials and colors
Traditionally, for the manufacture of oxfords used soft, specially designed calfskin. The material has a matte smooth surface, classic-style shoes do not have perforations and other decor.
Today, suede oxfords are also popular, as well as leather models with suede inserts. But these models are not recommended to wear with strict business clothes, they are more suitable style casual.
The informal models include oxfords, made of embossed leather, creating relief on the surface.
Traditional solution – black oxfords. These shoes belong to the category of official shoes, which can be worn not only with a classic suit, but also with a tuxedo or dress coat.
Less official option – brown oxfords. Such shoes can be worn with a suit, but, according to the rules of etiquette, you can wear it only at events starting before six in the evening. With a tuxedo colored shoes are not worn. Brown oxfords will make quite a successful ensemble with a gray, brown or gray suit.
Two-tone, for example, black and white oxfords look interesting too. This shoe is not official, it is used to create stylish everyday images. Two-tone shoes can be contrasting (black and white, brown and white, etc.) or be made in the same color scheme (light and dark blue, beige and brown).
In the photo you can see that modern designers in creating oxfords do not always adhere to classical canons. Consider which models are most popular.
Classic oxfords are models of smooth matte leather, produced in two colors – black and brown. Models have no decor, so they look very simple, but elegant and stylish.
Black oxfords are the best choice of evening shoes, brown ones are acceptable for daytime activities.
The difference between this model, which is called Cap toe, is the presence of an additional seam in the front of the shoes. This style was created in due time in order to protect the wearer’s fingers from other people’s heels; for this purpose, an additional piece of thick leather was sewn on toe shoes.
This style is considered less formal, Cap toe shoes can be worn, both with a suit and with free-style clothing.
Shoes of any style for which perforation is used to decorate are called brogues. Perforation is used to decorate shoes with a closed lacing system. In addition, the distinctive feature of the model is curly cut line on the toe.
Perforation can be located either only along the seams, or also on the toe. This model is even less formal than Cap toe, so these shoes should be worn with suits of informal style, you can wear them under chinos.
Another option for Oxford – shoes, stitched from a single piece of leather. This model is called Wholecut, it has a single seam located on the back. The shoes have an elegant look, however, their production is expensive. Therefore, single cut shoes are significantly more expensive than usual. The model fits perfectly into the official style.
Which option to choose?
When planning to buy oxfords, you should consider where these shoes are supposed to be worn. So, for ceremonial events it is necessary to choose the classic version or one-piece model.
If a man prefers to wear informal clothes, then it is better to choose a model with perforation. Two-tone shoes also look very original.
Today, classic men’s shoes are becoming less formal, many men wear them with smart casual style clothing and a number of others. Absolutely not recommended to wear oxfords only with sportswear.
What to combine?
We will understand what to wear men’s oxfords. These shoes are suitable not only for a classic suit, they can be combined with other clothes.
Combining classic oxfords with a strict suit is elegant and formal. Moreover, if a suit complete with simple leather shoes is appropriate at a business meeting, then a model of patent leather can be worn under a tuxedo.
If the costume is made of black fabric, then only shoes should be worn to match. Black oxfords are the only acceptable option for shoes at an event, in the invitation to which there is a “Black tie” mark. In this case, a black tuxedo complete with a white shirt with a bow tie should be worn to black oxfords.
If the dress code for a social event is designated as a white tie, then depending on the time of day, choose a light or black dress coat, black dress pants and oxfords tone pants. The shirt, vest and butterfly should be snow white.
Black oxfords wear a business suit and tie for negotiations or a meeting with a partner. But with the free style of clothing to combine classic oxfords is still not worth it.
Informal oxford models can be worn with a suit and free-style clothing. Such shoes look good with jeans, you can choose both blue jeans and models of classic indigo color. The top of the ensemble in this case can be represented by a shirt, jumper and a loose jacket.
If you plan to wear brown oxfords with a suit, it is better to choose not a classic model, but an informal suit made of wool or tweed. You can, for example, wear this shoes with a checkered suit.
Shoes made of suede, even stitched according to classical canons, belong to the shoes of an informal style. Soft and comfortable suede models are perfect for free time.
The most suitable “companion” to suede oxfords are jeans. The combination of denim clothing and suede shoes look attractive and is great for walking and informal meetings.
Instead of jeans you can wear chinos to suede shoes. If the shoes have a neutral color (gray, brown, black), then the pants to them can be chosen gray, dark blue, brown-maroon (marsala shade). You can do and vice versa, choose clothes of neutral colors, and choose shoes from bright suede, for example, wine or mustard color.
Two-tone oxfords may be decorated with perforations or may not have additional decor. Well, and color combinations can be very diverse.
You can wear two-tone oxfords with jeans or chinos. You can wear cropped trousers or tuck the trouser legs underneath to open the ankles. In this case, the socks must be abandoned.
An example of a bow: blue, slightly cropped skinny pants, a white, free-style shirt and beige-brown two-tone oxfords. You can wear two-tone oxfords with an informal casual fit and a turndown collar shirt.
If a man likes to dress brightly and is not afraid of experiments, then he can bet on bright socks. An ensemble consisting of clothes of neutral colors and an equally neutral shoe can be supplemented with socks of bright colors.
In this case, the pants need to choose a little shortened, but they should not be too narrow. If you choose pants of classic length, then the socks just will not be visible, that is, the “zest” of the image will disappear. Too narrow trousers will visually lengthen the feet, and the shoes will resemble flippers.
Onion example: Light blue checkered trousers are worn with a gray jumper, brown suede oxfords and bright red socks. Make sure the socks are long enough so that the leg is not visible.
Oxfords are a classic, so these shoes are in almost every fashion collection. However, designers often depart from traditional solutions, offering new interesting options.
For example, black oxfords from Bottega Veneta are distinguished by a thick cast sole, in the rest designers adhere to classical canons.
Fashionable Gucci shoes also have a thick sole, in addition, the designers decided to use unusual colors, offering shoes in the color of ripe cherry and milk chocolate.
Louis Vuitton models are made of brown, embossed leather imitating crocodile leather, while models from Prada are made from a combination of materials – leather and suede.
So, men’s oxfords are stylish shoes that must be in the wardrobe of a man who is watching his appearance. Such shoes are a classic of shoe fashion, they will always be in trend.