Being able to present a polished appearance is a valuable life skill that every gent should have in his arsenal. Whether you’re dressing for a job interview, a formal function or even a date, being able to look the part is essential for success. While your clothes are naturally a major part of how you present yourself, your shoes are just as important.
A man’s shoes say a lot about him whether he wants them to or not, so nailing your footwear choice is crucial for projecting the right image. We have compiled the best men’s dress shoes that every man should own. As style rules go, it’s as outdated as the ban on blue and black, or only wearing joggers in the gym, but when it comes to footwear styles, brown in town is apparently still frowned upon, even today.
Nothing ruins a look like a pair of clunky, square-toed shoes. They look dated even if you just bought them, and your whole outfit falls flat. The fix? A pair of dark brown leather oxfords with a round toe. They’re modern and sophisticated, and go with nearly everything in your wardrobe.
The definition of formal footwear, an Oxford shoe is standard issue for formal corporate offices. “An Oxford is defined by the ‘vamp’ or front of the shoe being stitched on top of the ‘quarter’ or back,” explains Tim Little, owner and creative director of heritage shoe firm Grenson. “This creates a telltale ‘V’ shape separating the eyelets.”
Just last year, a study by the Social Mobility Commission found that investment banks were less likely to hire candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds who didn’t wear black shoes at interview. Not attending Oxford probably had more sway than donning the wrong Oxfords, but the report concluded that dress played a “material role” in the selection process as demonstration of “fit” (pun intended).
Plain-toe or whole-cut styles skew most formal as adding detail tends to subtract from a shoe’s smartness. But even with a cap toe or broguing, Oxfords pair best with suits or trousers; at a push, a tan pair of Oxford brogues might marry with chinos or denim, but their slenderness makes them uneasy bedfellows with less refined legwear.