Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Essentials of a Work Wardrobe - Shoes
Are the most important and the most expensive item in the wardrobe, behind suits. The key is that a good pair of shoes when polished regularly and stored with shoe trees, will last a minimum of 15 or 20 years and potentially will last a lifetime. No other item a man can buy will last as long as a good pair of shoes. Not a suit, not a car, nothing. So it is highly suggested that everyman have at least two pairs of high quality shoes. One shoe in brown leather, one shoe in black leather, both in lace up oxfords. For the most versatile wardrobe the pair of black shoes should have clean lines and a classic look. Either a plain oxford or cap-toe oxford will do. This shoe needs to be simple and basic so it can be worn to interviews, weddings and funerals. This is the most conservative shoe in the closet and will be worn more than your favorite pair of jeans. The second shoe needs to be a dark brown shoe with some brogueing. Depending on your style anything from a wingtip to a cap toe oxford with slight brogueing
With both of these shoes it is crucial to stay away from them being a blucher and stick with oxfords. A blucher has an open throat lacing and is less formal than the oxford. The oxford has a closed throat lacing and is much more formal. To begin with it is best to stay with the more conservative and formal oxfords. They will have cleaner lines and will look better with a suit. Bluchers are a bulkier shoe and don't look as good with a suit, the extra weight typically only looks good with jeans or khakis.
Additionally, if a more casual shoe is desired, than opt for a loafer rather than a blucher. The loafer will add variety to the wardrobe and be quite useful in the hot summer months. Loafers are also perfect for flying as they are easy to remove at airport security. If you choose a loafer stick with a penny loafer as they are smart looking and classic. Stay away from loafers with tassels or any unneeded frivolity. Plain and simple will never go out of style. The loafer should also be in a mid-brown color. Not as dark as the oxfords but also not as light as a tan color.
These three shoes will serve most men well. As you wish to add further shoes to your collection, add varying degrees of brogueing in various colors. We recommend add shades of brown from dark to light tan with brogueing or no brogueing, based on your personal style. Lighter shoes are preferred in the summer and darker shoes in the winter, as they match the weather and the amount of sunlight.
The best places to buy good quality dress shoes are: Allen Edmonds, Alden, Ben Silver, Cole Haan, Johnston & Murphy and Banana Republic. For loafers Bass is one of the best options, but the previous companies will work.