It’s time now for the third guest post in the latest series of reader submitted articles. Today, we’re taking a look at the various footwear options available when it comes to buying essential dress shoes. Many thanks to today’s author for providing such a great post:
Every man’s closet should have at least one pair of dress shoes in it for formal occasions, job interviews, and business meetings. While the men’s shoe section at your local department store may seem overwhelming, you can narrow the field. The three shoes detailed here (The Oxford, the Blücher, and the Loafer) are your most essential options. Choose one pair, buy it with some Cheap Sally coupons for Tommy Hilfiger or your other favorite shoe brand, and keep it in good shape for those occasions when you need some nice footwear.
a.k.a. The Balmoral (UK), The Richelieu (France)
Origins: The Oxford style of shoe first appeared in Scotland and Ireland in the 1800s. The name comes from Oxford University where the shoe’s practical, informal design (compared to the buckle-and-heel things they had to wear) increased in popularity among the student body.
Today the Oxford is the standard in men’s formal and business footwear, so much so that most men’s lace up business shoes are now called Oxfords. Sturdy leather vamps (the top part of the shoe over the instep) make this the shoe of a businessman or gentleman while the low, wide design give the shoe a low profile. The closed-lacing style of the vamp makes this shoe appropriate for formal occasions like interviews and meetings, pairing well with business dress or business casual attire.
Oxfords are typically made with clean lines and continuous pieces of leather. Popular embellishments to the classic design include wing-tips, brogueing (decorative perforations along seams), and saddles (pieces of leather sewn over the instep); such embellishments make the shoe less formal. Black and brown are the most popular colors though light gray, tan, white and two-tone are acceptable for weekends and informal business events.
a.k.a. The Derby, The Gibson, Bucks
Origins: The Blücher was created by a Prussian Field Marshall, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, who designed a more practical shoe for his soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars. The resulting footwear evolved into a popular European sporting shoe and, later, a formal shoe appropriate for business in towns and cities.
The modern Blücher is slightly less formal than the Oxford because of its open-lacing design and eyelet tabs that are stitched on top of the vamp. However, the lace up style still makes this shoe formal enough for business occasions or everyday wear to a business or business casual workplace.
Brogueing and wing-tips are more common on Blüchers because they compliment the less formal design. Black and brown are popular, versatile colors for this shoe. They pair well with business attire but can be worn with khakis and casual trousers.
a.k.a. The Penny Loafer, Weejuns
Origins: The earliest form of loafers were slip-on leather shoes worn by Norwegian dairymen and cattle ranchers. The fashion was featured in Esquire in the 1930s and picked up popularity in America. G.H. Bass & Company added the decorative piece of leather to the upper; it featured a diamond cutout that forever transformed the shoe’s design and style. The informal shoe was popular among students in the mid 20th Century ; such students stored a coin, usually the price of a pay phone call, in the diamond cutout. This custom transformed the basic loafer into the iconic Penny Loafer.
Today the loafer is a casual shoe yet still appropriate for business and business casual occasions. The lack of laces make the loafer less formal than both the Oxford and Blücher. The contemporary loafer design has changed very little in the last 80 years, having been made popular and timeless by such historical icons as Michael Jackson and JFK.
Dress loafers are can be worn with suits or casual business wear as long as socks and other accessories are coordinated. For casual occasions or on the weekend, loafers can be worn without socks. Lighter colors and embellishments (such as tassles, buckles and ties) decrease the formality of the shoe. Such loafers can be worn with khakis, jeans, and casual trousers.
A. Marcus favors classic shoe styles over modern (finite) styles and highly recommends that all men use Cheap Sally coupons for Tommy Hilfiger to invest in at least one pair of dress shoes.