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Explanation of Men's Dress Shoes, (Hierarchy of Formality and Why Good Dress Shoes Are Expensive,)

Maximus RexMaximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu RegisThe EmpreyanPosts: 6,355 ✭✭✭✭✭
Shoes & Accessories http://www.wellbuiltstyle.com/a-basic-guide-to-dress-shoes-part-1/

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A Basic Guide to Dress Shoes Part 1/2:

The dress shoe is an integral part of a gentleman’s wardrobe but unfortunately, many men do it absolutely wrong. In fact, shoes are so integral that many style gurus maintain that a man’s shoes are the most important item in his wardrobe. In my opinion, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it does highlight the significance of shoes for a man’s overall appearance. A great looking pair of shoes not only completes a man’s outfit, but will elevate it; conversely, an ugly pair of shoes will significantly drag down the rest of his outfit and his overall appearance. This means it would be wise of you to not neglect this critical part of your wardrobe.

You might not know where to begin when it comes to improving your dress-shoe game, but that’s okay. This 2-part article will give you all the basic knowledge you need in order to immediately elevate yourself to a dress-shoe pro. Because the topic of dress shoes is so expansive, we will do more in depth articles on dress shoes in the future, but for now, this article will give beginners a much needed reference on how to vastly improve their overall look.

When selecting a dress shoe you, you need to understand the following:


1. Avoid the Clunky and Other Terrible Looks

One of the biggest blunders men make when it comes to dress shoes is the dreaded square-toe shoe. It is unpleasing aesthetically. We don’t find boxy cars, boxy body types or boxy clothes attractive; instead, we like sleek shapes and shoes are not an exception. Square toed-shoes add unnecessary bulk at the end of the outfit and throws proportions out of whack. Avoid at all costs.

squaretoedshoes1.jpeg

Also avoid bicycle-stitched toes, shoes with rubber soles and slip-ons. All of these are unflattering, clunky, and make you look like an amateur. Don’t go for extremely pointy shoes either, especially those that raise up at the toe. These monstrosities are made for elves and you are not an elf.

3-really-ugly-dress-shoes.jpg

pointyshoes-elf.jpg

Instead, go for a classic, slightly elongated, elegant shape that is the Oxford. It has been a staple in classy gentlemen’s footwear since the 1800's and for good reason: its sleek, yet simple look gives it and its wearer an air of class and sophistication.

oxford-toe-shape1.jpg

2. The Different Levels of Formality

The three factors that determine a shoe’s level of formality are its lacing style, colour and amount of broguing.

Lacing Style

Shoes can generally be divided into two types of lacing: the closed laced shoe and the open laced shoes. Closed laced shoes are also known as “balmorals.” This type of shoe is closed-throated with a laced front. Its quarters -which are the two top pieces brought together by the laces- are sewn under the front part of the shoe. Closed laced shoes are considered to be more sleek and more formal of the two lacing styles.

Opened laced shoes are also known as “bluchers.” It has an open-throat front over the instep. The quarters are sewn on top of the front part of the shoe, creating flaps which results in a “sportier” look. The one benefit this creates is it provides more room for the in-step which means that you have more give at the top of your foot
.

BLUCHERVSBALMORAL.jpg

Colour

The darker the shoe, the more formal it is. This naturally means that black shoes are the most formal shoes. With that said, brown is definitely a suitable colour to wear with suits and is acceptable to wear in all but the most conservative environments. In fact, brown is more versatile because you can dress it down with jeans/chinos and it tends to bring more life to an outfit more than black. It is important to note that there are many shades of brown and the darker the brown, the more formal the shoe.

Brogues are perforations and patterns that serve as decorations in dress shoes. The more broguing a shoe has, the less formal it is. Here’s the list of shoes from most formal to least formal: plain toe, plain toe with medallions, cap toe, cap toe with quarter brogue, cap toe with half brogues, wingtips, long wings.

Click on the following image to see dress shoes classified by their broguing: http://www.wellbuiltstyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/differentbrogueswebsite.jpg


differentbrogueswebsite-1024x347.jpg

3. The Differences in Quality

Dress shoes are one of the items we recommend spending a bit more on. This is because the large jump in quality and looks between the price point of crappy dress shoes and the price point of quality dress shoes is significant and warrants the extra spending.

Two main differences between low quality dress shoes and high quality dress shoes are in the quality of the leather and the construction of the shoe:


Leather:

Low quality shoes use corrected-grain leather. It’s basically low quality leather that has many imperfections so the surface is sanded off and an artificial layer is applied to its surface to give it an appearance of uniform leather. This results in a shoe that is less breathable, cheap-looking and short lived once the artificial top layer breaks down. The creasing and crinkling you see on cheap dress shoes is a result of the artificial layer being worn off.

High quality shoes use full-grain leather (if not better). The leather is free from imperfections so no artificial layer is added. It’s a stronger, more durable and breathable leather that lasts a long time and develops “character” as it ages.


Construction

Low quality shoes are mass-manufactured in poorer countries and by unskilled workers who are governed by low quality control methods. The materials used are of lesser quality and the manufacturing process is poor. Materials are poorly stitched together and the shoe is put together by glue – e.g. the upper portion of the shoe is glued to the sole. All this results in a shoe that is less comfortable and has a shorter lifespan.

High quality shoes, on the other hand, are made with care by skilled workers and are governed by high quality control standards. No glue is used and the shoe is put together by stitching. A popular way to attach the upper to the sole which is done by many high quality shoes makers is called “The Goodyear Welt” – in a nutshell, the sole is stitched to a portion of the upper portion called the “welt.” All these factors result in a more comfortable shoe that will last you for many, many years.

In addition, the soles of high-quality dress shoes are made of vegetable tanned leather whereas the soles of low-quality are made of rubber. The advantages of a leather soles include better moisture wicking and they better conform to the foot resulting in greater comfort.

Essentially, the higher quality leathers and construction of a high quality shoe allow it to be worn for a decade (if not decades) if taken care of properly and resoled every few years. Poorly constructed shoes will last less than a year and will look terrible as they age.


Oakland+Athletics+1200.jpg

“There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”―Tommy Lasorda
LPastbanginscrew901blakfyahkingGettinLoCincoking hassanBarryHallsjazz93_Goldie_Valentinez A. KaiserAP21MeesterGhostdenithegawdonetoughmiracleericb4prezThereal_baSionTsotsi Cape Town
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Replies

  • Maximus RexMaximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu Regis The EmpreyanPosts: 6,355 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I Really Can’t Afford a Pair of High Quality Shoes. What Can I Do?

    It is understandable if you really don’t have the means at the moment to buy a high quality shoe but that shouldn’t prevent you from looking sharp. If you can’t fork up an extra $100, go with the middle tier quality shoes such Florsheims, Johnston and Murphy, Cole Haan and Bostonian because they make shoes with classic designs (i.e. Oxfords). As long as you stick with the shoe style recommendations made earlier in this article, you will still look sharp. Just understand that these cheaper shoes will have a much shorter life span than a high quality one. But if I were you, I’d save that extra $100, wait for a sale and get the Allen Edmonds. It really makes more sense to spend more here because the higher quality shoe will last many years longer than buying a cheap quality shoe that won’t last you at all.

    There is one situation in which I would advise you to forego buying a high quality dress shoe and that’s if you need to wear the shoe for one special occasion, but you don’t believe you’ll wear it much more after that. Let’s say you MUST wear a pair of black cap toe oxfords for one particular event and you truly believe you won’t be wearing these shoes again. If that’s the case, then go ahead and buy something from the 2nd tier. It would make no sense for you to spend your hard earned money on an expensive pair of shoes if you won’t get much mileage out of them.


    A Final Word

    We often hear the phrase: “Shoes make the man.” This is obviously a bit of hyperbole but it does highlight the significance a pair of shoes has on a man’s overall appearance. Luckily for you, you’re now armed with the necessary knowledge on how to buy dress shoes. Whatever the price of shoe you buy, adhere to the advice in this article and there’ll be no reason for you not to be able to put your best foot forward.
    Oakland+Athletics+1200.jpg

    “There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”―Tommy Lasorda
    banginscrew9011800skypageronetoughmiracle
  • zombiezombie Posts: 13,450 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I HATE brown shoes and i don't do toe caps but i love wingtips
  • banginscrew901banginscrew901 Posts: 7,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sperry Topsider gold cup are great shoes also
    GettinLo
  • blakfyahkingblakfyahking The IC's Resident Father Figure Posts: 15,732 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2014
    good thread

    this is free game for these youngins coming up

    I hate to see a younger cat who can't wear an appropriate pair of shoes with business attire

    can mean the difference between being taken seriously and getting some money or being dismissed


    also I would recommend not wearing anything more than a mid-tier level shoe unless you are the nigga investing his money instead of being the cat asking for money...........looks silly to have on $600+ shoes and you just a regular worker
    tumblr_maj8y0LU9Y1qimbeto1_500.jpg
    GettinLoMeester
  • 1800skypager1800skypager Posts: 671 ✭✭✭✭
    good thread

    this is free game for these youngins coming up

    I hate to see a younger cat who can't wear an appropriate pair of shoes with business attire

    can mean the difference between being taken seriously and getting some money or being dismissed


    also I would recommend not wearing anything more than a mid-tier level shoe unless you are the nigga investing his money instead of being the cat asking for money...........looks silly to have on $600+ shoes and you just a regular worker

    Additionally, cats should stop wearin' those fruity-colored socks with their suits... Dudes be in conservative suits with OK shoes and some multi-colored striped socks, or bright pink socks or some shit like that and I'm just like... *face palm*
    Maximus Rex
  • banginscrew901banginscrew901 Posts: 7,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    why they gotta go in on slip-ons like that though? guess I gotta re-think my shit

    You mean loafers? ?
  • LUClENLUClEN Absence makes the heart grow fonder of someone else Posts: 20,480 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I was always told black socks with a suit
    The rapper from linkin park would body the dudes in the xxxtentacion cypher
    GettinLo5 GrandMeesteronetoughmiracleTsotsi Cape Town
  • banginscrew901banginscrew901 Posts: 7,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Trashboat wrote: »
    I was always told black socks with a suit

    Depends on the suit black suit black socks Brown with brown gray with light color socks. Factor in your tie cuff link and the hanky
  • Maximus RexMaximus Rex Pulchritudo in Conspectu Regis The EmpreyanPosts: 6,355 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2014
    why they gotta go in on slip-ons like that though? guess I gotta re-think my shit

    It's all about time, place, and who you are. If you're working in some creative place, (Google, a fashion house, or a spot wear the dress code is business causal,) I would say that you're straight with loafers, polos, blazers, and dress shirts. Also, if you've made a name for yourself, you can break those rules. Nobody going to tell Carlos Slim or Donald Trump that they're breaking a fashion faux if they wear loafers with a pin stripe business suit.
    Trashboat wrote: »
    I was always told black socks with a suit
    Trashboat wrote: »
    I was always told black socks with a suit

    Depends on the suit black suit black socks Brown with brown gray with light color socks. Factor in your tie cuff link and the hanky

    Your socks are suppose to match the color of your pants. "Hanky?" Don't you mean a pocket square, playboy?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzMebOUeHFU
    

    The Rules On Matching Color & Pattern When It Comes To Socks - How To Match Men's Socks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3aREh0QqGM
    

    Wearing Bright Socks | Men's Colorful Sock Rules | When and How to Wear Brightly Colored Socks


    Oakland+Athletics+1200.jpg

    “There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”―Tommy Lasorda
  • banginscrew901banginscrew901 Posts: 7,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hankerchief , pocket square hanky all the same
  • banginscrew901banginscrew901 Posts: 7,008 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • HarlemThumzUpHarlemThumzUp Posts: 4,930 ✭✭✭✭✭
    dope thread cuh
  • blakfyahkingblakfyahking The IC's Resident Father Figure Posts: 15,732 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2014
    Trashboat wrote: »
    I was always told black socks with a suit

    Depends on the suit black suit black socks Brown with brown gray with light color socks. Factor in your tie cuff link and the hanky

    more free game: your socks should always match your shirt unless the shirt is white

    if your shirt is white, then they should match your inner vest, or inner lining of your jacket, or if not wearing a vest or jacket, the socks should match your belt

    reason is the colors stand out more because you are alternating.............you don't want to look like you are wearing a scuba suit or uniform..........but you don't want your shit to clash all over the place either to where the color of your socks are distracting
    tumblr_maj8y0LU9Y1qimbeto1_500.jpg
    Meester
  • BelovedAfeniBelovedAfeni The Pimp Slap App 5150 NationPosts: 8,647 ✭✭✭✭✭
    my favorite shoes were slip ons and square toe

    most comfortable and easy to shine

    formal or social

    and lasted for a decade
    The Wombshifter
    The_Jackal
  • BelovedAfeniBelovedAfeni The Pimp Slap App 5150 NationPosts: 8,647 ✭✭✭✭✭
    the first thing I look for is comfort

    not aesthetics

    and today you can do alot more with shoes than the past and its acceptable

    shit Ellen wears sneakers with her suits

    and u only posted one style of shoes

    The Wombshifter
    GettinLo
  • LUClENLUClEN Absence makes the heart grow fonder of someone else Posts: 20,480 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Damn at shoes lasting a decade

    I haven't even had TVs past a decade
    The rapper from linkin park would body the dudes in the xxxtentacion cypher
  • dwade206dwade206 Posts: 11,501 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nothing wrong with square tips, and lot of the shoes you posted don't look to good.
    Bustin a new nut on @R.D's moms collarbone everyday.
    GettinLoking hassan
  • S2JS2J Posts: 28,476 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Dope thread. Lmao @ the elf shoes. 1 of my nggas, who does actually have good shoes, has a pair of those and actually rocks em just to fuk wit us. Them shyts are attrocious.

  • GettinLoGettinLo Posts: 8,035 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2014
    Great thread... a piece of advice.. Every time you buy a good pair of shoes, invest another $10-20 in a pair of Cedar Shoe trees... the trees 1) keep the shape to the shoe, 2) help minimize creases from setting in, 3) absorb sweat and odor
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHnFHIdxlLo
    
    Cincoking hassanBarryHallsblakfyahking
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