The Ultimate Guide To Dress Shoes

While much of fashion concerns itself with what’s above the ankles, it’s important not to take footwear lightly. More than an accessory, dress shoes are a quintessential part of any formal outfit. A good pair of dress shoes is a solid investment that can pull an outfit together and prepare you for any occasion. 

So, step to it, and learn all about the different types of dress shoes and how to style them. 

1. The Oxford

The most classic and iconic of dress shoes, the Oxford is a must-have for any wardrobe. This shoe features closed lacing that makes for a slim silhouette, hugging the contour of the foot. Pair black leather Oxfords with a suit or tuxedo for formal occasions, or in styles like cordovan, dark brown, and tan matched with dark socks. For a more dressed-down look, opt for suede Oxfords in bright colors worn with bright socks. 

2. The One Piece Oxford

A twist on the classic Oxford, the one-piece Oxford is made from just one leather piece instead of numerous pieces of leather sewn together. With a single seam and little stitching, it’s even more elegantly sleek. 

3. The Derby

dress shoes

More casual than the Oxford, the Derby features open lacing that makes for a wider fit. This shoe was traditionally a hunting and sporting boot and retains the same dashing and outdoorsy air today. Avoid wearing Derbys with a formal suit, but do style them with chinos or rolled jeans. 

4. The Loafer

Loafers are easily recognizable for their slip-on design, inspired by moccasins. They may also feature a decoration known as a saddle, which can include plain straps, metal ornaments, or tassels. More minimal loafers, known as Venetians, have no embellishment at all. Slip-on a pair of embellished or Venetian loafers to complete any formal ensemble, or wear them with rolled jeans for more leisurely chic. 

5. The Monk Strap

The Monk Strap shoe is defined by a wide strap of leather that runs along the front of the shoe, secured with a buckle closure. It’s a striking look that truly makes the wearer stand out from the rest. Typically available in both leather and suede, the Monk Strap makes a statement when worn with cuffed jeans and casual suits alike. 

6. The Dress Boot

Dress boots typically resemble Oxfords in all but the length of the shaft, which is extended to just cover the ankles. These lace-up boots are good for most smart casual events, and can even be worn with a suit. For a more formal appearance, stick to fine leather in black or brown. 

7. The Chelsea Boot

Chic and classy, the Chelsea boot boasts a rounded toe shape, low heels, and signature elastic gussets on the sides. These gussets make it easy to slip the shoes on and off without the fuss of lacing. Formal in leather and less so in suede, the Chelsea is ideal for elevating smart casual outfits. 

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