Fashion spring: how to choose the best oxford shoes?

words Al Woods

The autumn/winter collections of 2021  have already started to appear in stores, which means we’ll now be discussing the top items you’ll need for the off-season.

Our main shoe must-have for August is the oxfords, classic lace-up leather half-shoes named after the English university town of Oxford. A distinctive feature of oxfords is a special openwork perforation and a neat round toe. If previously oxfords were only men’s shoes, this year they suddenly appeared in large quantities in women’s collections.

The shoe has been adopted by Hollywood’s leading fashionistas: sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Sienna Miller, Rihanna, Alexa Chung, Kelly Osbourne, and even Madonna.

oxford shoes

Main features

 Modern men’s oxford shoes have the following features:

●        Lacing. This is an obligatory detail of this type of shoes, and the lacing system in oxfords is closed. This is the main difference from another variety of classic shoes for men – the derby. What is “closed lacing”? To understand it, you need to get acquainted with the names of the parts of the shoes. The front part that covers the instep of the foot is called the union, and those parts that have holes for the laces are called the tibia. If the lacing system is closed, that means the union is sewn on top of the shoe. 

●        Height. The height of classic shoes is below ankle level. However, you can also see high oxfords that cover the ankle. But this type of shoes does not belong to the classics.

●        Heel. This model has a wide low heel; oxfords are flat-sole, i.e., they are not produced without heel at all. As a rule, the height of the heel does not exceed 2 centimeters.

●        Outsole. Produce classic men’s oxfords on a thin sole of specially treated leather. But now on sale are more democratic options. For example, you can find shoes on a thick sole of polyurethane, the so-called winter men’s oxfords. Although the name is conventional, the shoes do not have a warm lining and are not suitable for wearing in cold weather. Shoes with thick, often grooved soles do not belong to the category of formal. It is recommended to wear them with informal clothes.

oxford shoes tips

Materials and colors

 Traditionally, oxfords are made of soft, especially dressed calfskin. The material has a smooth matte surface and the classic version has no perforations or other décor.

 Today, suede oxfords are also popular, as well as leather models with suede inserts. But it is not recommended to wear these models with strict business attire. They are more suitable for the casual style.

 The traditional solution is black oxfords. These shoes belong to the category of formal shoes, which can be worn not only with a classic suit but also with a tuxedo or tailcoat.

A less formal option is brown oxfords. Such shoes can also be worn with a suit, but, according to etiquette rules, they can only be worn at events that start before 6 p.m. Colored shoes are not worn with a tuxedo. Brown oxfords will make quite a successful ensemble with a gray, brown, or gray suit.

Two-tone shoes also look attractive, such as black and white oxfords. These shoes are not formal, they are used to create stylish casual looks. Two-tone shoes can be contrasting (black and white, brown and white, etc.) or be made in the same color scheme (light and dark blue, beige and brown).

How to choose

When planning to buy oxfords, it is necessary to take into account where these shoes are meant to be worn. Thus, for celebrations, you should choose a classic version or a one-piece model.

Today, classic men’s shoes are becoming less and less formal; many men wear them with smart casual clothing and several others. It is categorically not recommended to wear oxfords only with sportswear.

How to combine

Let’s figure out what to wear men’s oxfords with. These shoes are suitable not only for a classic suit, but they can also be combined with other clothes.

Classic Combining classic oxfords with a suit are elegant and formal. In this case, if the suit in a set with simple leather shoes will be appropriate for a business meeting, then with the tuxedo you can wear a model of patent leather.  If the suit is made of black fabric, then it is necessary to wear only shoes in the tone.

Black oxfords are the only acceptable footwear option at an event where the invitation includes a “black tie” note. In this case, black oxfords should be worn with a black tuxedo complete with a white shirt, bow tie.  If the dress code for a social gathering is designated as a white tie, depending on the time of day, choose a light or black tailcoat, classic black trousers, and oxfords the tone of trousers. The shirt, waistcoat, and bow tie should be white. Black oxfords are worn with a business suit and tie for the negotiations or a meeting with the partner. But it is not worth combining classic oxfords with freestyle clothes. 


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