If we are going by the book, Oxford shoes are a formal footwear with closed lacing. In plain English, this means that the shoelace eyelets are placed under the vamp. Although traditionally Oxfords were the standard formal shoes for anyone that wants to dress sharp, over time this high status has devolved into a more casual type of shoe.
There is a reason this type of shoe is not as formal as it used to be. Shoemakers can put forth a piece made from a variety of materials (faux leather for example) and different lacing, and this brings the shoe significantly lower on the ‘formality scale.’ The most formal variety are the plain high-grade leather mens Oxford shoes. Every other style (brogueing, cap toes, and use of more than one color) or material (suede, rubber soles) makes the shoe less and less formal by design.
But of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means that you can find mens Oxford shoes for all kinds of occasions. And here’s what you should know to rock this type of footwear with style.
What the Oxford Shoe Projects
The classic Oxford – black, leather, and as mute and discreet as possible – projects an image of a men that is put together. It’s the shoe that feels most at home within a business environment, though it can be worn to have a good time, too. There are ways to dress it down within minutes, but more on that below.
Oxfords and Business
There was a time, when a man leaving the house without a hat and suit jacket was deemed a slovenly bloke. We Aussies have always been more laid back than the rest of the world. This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t put an effort during working hours. Even though the trends change constantly business attire, in essence, stays the same.
Those of you who work in a world where dog eats dog should be aware of the nonverbal ques which are important for success. It affects anyone: starting from just about any small entrepreneur and ending with trade, finance, insurance, law and of course politics. If you are rubbing shoulders with competitive and ambitious lads on a daily basis you simply need to keep up with the game. Probably you are surrounded by men in suits and the only expression of personality (or power) boils down to the choice of tie (and sometimes a pocket square).Therefore your business wardrobe should include at least one pair of black unassuming Oxfords to complement your outfit.
Oxfords and Travel
When you travel, every piece you take should be as versatile as possible. Your Oxfords can serve you well as they can be a part of many outfits. For an overnight trip, or a weekend you can take just two types of shoes: your dress shoe and trendy sneakers. These two should cover your needs regardless if you are having dinner with a potential business partner, or you are just sightseeing.
Minimalists are able to pull off staggering combinations with as little as eight articles of clothing. Take a page from their book. If you feel that male oxford are too formal don’t worry there are ways to make them more playful. How can you dress down Oxfords? For starters, you can take alternate shoe laces in a contrasting color. When you need to go into party mode, just quickly replace your regular shoe laces. It’s the ultimate sign that fun has begun, and people will notice you are up for playing hard.
Brown brogued cap toe Oxfords are some of the best shoes for this. They will allow you to seamlessly shift from one look to another while you are on the road.
Oxfords on a Date
No shoe can be stripped from creative ways to express personality. You can use Oxfords to express authenticity through the hipster style. The only thing you need to consider is how not to attract attention for the wrong reasons. Here you can go with dyed leather shoe in a pastel color. Or you can go with two different hues set in a color blocking manner.
But you don’t have to be a bowerbird to attract a mate. If you already have the wife and you are taking her out on a fancy dinner at a high-class restaurant, then your business Oxfords might also be appropriate. And many times you can meet someone new without being on a proper date – so it may be worth it to keep your appearances sharp at all times.
How Not to Wear an Oxford Shoe
Style etiquette always starts with the don’ts. Men’s dress shoes are not to be worn with short trousers unless you are donning a folk costume (like wearing kilts) or you want to make a loud fashion statement. Formality is all about keeping your appearance inconspicuous so you would be better off to wear two (or three) piece suit or a fine pair of slacks. Your informal Oxfords can be a part of a more casual outfit, but the ankles on your legs should not be visible.