Wednesday, February 4, 2009

StyleTip: Your Next Pair of Dress Shoes

Here are a few tips on how to pick a pair of dress shoes that really pop. I'm talking about a classic look, not anything really fashion forward. When you're getting a pair of shoes to wear with a suit or with dressier clothes, they should be somewhat understated for the most part, nothing too flashy. I like some flashier shoes for a certain look, but that's not the focus today. These are shoes that you can wear now or 5 years from now (and if you get the right ones, you can wear them for years to come).

Let's start with what you don't want: another pair of square toe shoes. These were popular for a long while and I still see them all the time. I think I probably have 7 or 8 different pairs of square toe shoes in my closet. None of which I want to wear anymore. At least not most of them. They're bulky and don't fit at all with the style of suits or pants that I like to wear. I do have a few that are slim enough that I can still wear them without looking like I'm all feet, but most are a no-go. I have the shoes in the picture on the left. The toe is even bigger than the picture depicts, and the heal and sole are thick and clunky, and they pretty much look ridiculous with my newer, slimmer suits.

What is in style now, and will always be in style because they're classic, are a nice pair of round toe lace ups oxfords. Stick with these and you can't go wrong. Wingtip, cap toe, plain toe, mock toe, etc. Keep 'em clean and polished, use shoe trees, and have a cobbler add toe and heal taps, and they'll serve you for a long time. If you have the means, treat yourself to leather soled shoes, especially if you don't have any yet. They wear beautifully, last a long time, and you can have them resoled when the soles get a bit tired and you're back in business. Rubber soles have their place (if you're on your feet a lot, need the traction, are in inclement weather a lot) but my leather soled shoes are my favorites for sure.

Loafers and slip-ons are also great. Some can be a bit casual for a suit (like the driving shoes pictured below) but they can be dressed up with jeans and a blazer or down with jeans and a T shirt. The loafers pictured are definitely suit friendly, or can be worn with jeans.

One final note: unless you're going to pair them with a black suit, brown shoes are the way to go. There are lots of great shades to choose from, and they go best with grey, blue, and khaki suits. Much more stylish. Apply these tips the next time you buy a pair of shoes and you'll come away with slim, classic shoes that are also modern and in style. Take care of them and they'll help you look great for years to come.