I think the great bulk of dress, or "business" shoes fit snugly into two broad categories.
Oxfords are any lace-up men's dress shoes that don't rise above the ankle. Of course, within the Oxford category, there are many varieties, both structural and stylistic.
Open-laced (Bluchers) oxfords have the sides of the shoe sewn on top of the front part. When laced, the shoe looks like it's built out in segments. Front, top, side, back, etc.
Close-laced (Balmorals) oxfords are drawn together by laces sewn under the front part of the shoe and then closed over its tongue. The result is a shoe that looks as if it's made from one piece of leather.
Some oxfords have a separate piece of leather on the shoe's toe (also known as a "cap toe"). This leather may be plain or decorated with brogueing (leather embroidery).
"Saddle" oxfords have a saddle-shaped piece of leather of a different color, or leather type, over the shoe's instep.
"Kilties" are oxfords with a tongue of fringed leather that is draped over the instep to cover the shoe's laces and eyelets.
The "wingtip" is arguably the most common of all oxfords. This footwear features toe brogueing that resembles a bird with its wings spread.
When it comes to your oxfords, never settle for anything less than genuine leather. And no matter the structural design or the style of the leather finish, when worn in black, all oxford styles match with business suits.
Black, leather, close-laced oxfords, however, are the more formal dress shoe. They work especially well with pinstriped suits and double-breasted suits. If brown, they can be worn with tweed suits and sport jackets.
When worn in brown or oxblood, open-laced oxfords match with everything from jeans and khakis, to light suits and sports coats.
All loafers are marked by a low-cut, a broad, moccasin-type top, and a wide, flat heel.
As with oxfords, there are several varieties of loafer: penny loafer, moccasin, monk strap (buckle), tassel, etc.
Unlike oxfords, however, loafers don't automatically look good on all men.
Younger men might want to approach brown monk straps with caution, as those are more common among middle-aged guys. That said, a black monk strap looks quite good on the dance floor.
The classic Gucci or Prada moccasin-style loafer has been worn by business professionals for a while now, but it also looks good with jeans for a night out clubbing. Many young fashion mavens consider these dress shoes a basic necessity.
Penny loafers are casual, and perfect for khaki-and-blazer outfits. Although originally a favorite among younger demographics, they're now largely the province of older men.
Penny loafers and suede moccasins, however, are the only "dress" shoes that can successfully be worn with shorts and a polo shirt.
Lastly, here are some tips for buying, wearing, and caring for 2009 dress shoes:-
- Protect your dressier shoes from rain/mud/snow by wearing overshoes (rubber protectors).
- Invest in shoe trees.
- Black shoes go with black, gray and navy clothes.
- Brown shoes go with earth tones.
- Burgundy (oxblood) shoes go with just about all men's colors.
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