Men’s Style Staples: Leather Shoes
A lot of men grew up believing that one pair of black leather shoes would be enough for every occasion. Recent trends in men’s fashion, however, have been trying to reverse the mindset, encouraging a new perspective of paying attention to details and traditions of style. That’s why the new ideal of a man’s shoe closet contains no less than three styles and two colors. Where does your own shoe rack stand?
You probably hear the term thrown around a lot, which says much about how widely the style of shoe is used. It’s the black necktie of footwear: generally regarded as formal, but can easily cross to casual territory as well. Lace-ups are the most traditional of all shoe designs, but even they come in several variants depending on the origin of the style.
Black or brown oxfords, brogues or wing-tips are really all you’d need in this category, since the different variants are generally interchangeable. Between lace-ups, you’d basically be choosing based on your personal preference for their small details.
What you should never get are square toe lace-ups, which are still quite prevalent today despite the high fashion world’s well-documented derision. Shoes will always be best in their time-honored standard forms, which include a rounded or slightly pointed toe. The square toe is a recent invention, and is sure to become extinct in the very near future.
Images associated with the term ‘preppy’ may vary, but one of the constant elements is the presence of either white tennis shoes or leather loafers. The loafer has long been a favorite of the East Coast crowd, and with good reason. It’s a style that’s both dressy and comfortable – a rare achievement in the world of men’s fashion.
Again, you’re likely to need just one pair – black or brown – of loafers. You can opt to get a streamlined design, or choose to go for some real style tradition and get a pair of penny loafers. The latter option comes from an old prep school practice of putting a coin in the strap on the front of the shoe. Shoemakers adjusted to the fad, and the design element stayed on even when the practice died out.
More casual than lace-ups, the loafer is a suitable bet for jeans and khakis – essentially any kind of outfit that you wouldn’t want described as ‘dressy’. The lack of laces and the lighter sole dress the shoe style down considerably in comparison to its laced up cousins.
Although they’re a relatively new arrival on the shoe scene, the driving shoe has fallen into the same category as Slim Ties. It revolutionized its category by introducing a fresh, new and streamlined silhouette that updates its chunky predecessors. Named for the profession that prefers to wear them, the style’s thin soles and lace-free construction are very practical for those times when you have to do much walking and movement.
Driving shoes manage to cross the casual and dressy lines quite well for a style that does not feature any laces. This is thanks to the clean lines of its exterior, which reflects the spotless and pristine finish of traditional formal shoes. They make for great footwear for the weekend when worn with shorts, but can also go to work when worn with dark jeans.
Because the style emphasizes minimalist and streamlined fashion, they’re ideally worn without socks. Foot socks and thin formal socks, however, are appropriate additions when the weather or occasion calls for them.
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