Dressing formally can sometimes be a tricky business; new jobs, weddings and meeting the new in-laws are stressful times, particularly when you’re not sure what the ideal shoes should be for your ensemble.

Let’s examine the right pair of shoes for the most formal of occasions. As always, if you have any queries or comments, feel free to leave them below.

Step 1: Oxfords

If you’re going formal, ditch the slip on penny loafers and grab those oxford lace-ups. Remember to buy your shoes in the late afternoon when your feet are at their most swollen. Natural leather is always best, but if you have moral objections, make sure your alternative picks aren’t too shinny. Keep the broguing to a minimum to avoid too much attention on your toes…

Oxford Shoes

Step 2: Fresh Laces

If you have a pair of oxfords already in your wardrobe, ditch your old, tatty laces and replace them with new ones. Wear your current shoes to the store so you can colour-match ‘on-the-fly’.

Step 3: Match Colours

Remember that brown shoes should be matched with navy, brown or mid-grey suits. Black shoes go with navy, black, charcoal or mid-grey. Don’t be tempted to stray from either brown or black shoes for formal occasions – ox-blood and grey are too casual.

Step 4: Polish

Again, colour matching is essential; if in doubt use a clear polish. Make sure you avoid the synthetic waxes that’ll leave your leather unable to breathe.

Step 5: Storage

Once you’re done with your perfect suit shoes, it’s time to put them away. Don’t forget to keep your oxfords in a dry, low-humidity storage area. Use cedar shoetrees to avoid moths and avoid ‘open’ style shoe racks that will leave your finest footwear covered in a layer of dust after several weeks.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

One Response

  1. Next Luxury

    Solid advice Johnathan! I didn’t see the cover photo on here in the shoes article, but the Allen Edmounds photo on the homepage looks fantastic. For sure my favorite pair of shoes! 🙂 My advice would be to do just like you said, take some time, polish your shoes, use shoe trees, and make them last.