Are you wanting to enhance your look, but don’t know where to start? If you’re building a skyscraper, you start by building a foundation from the bottom up. It’s not a bad place to start with men’s fashion, either. In this guide, we’ll look at a few of the top men’s dress shoe styles, what distinguishes them from the other styles, and the occasions for which they’re most appropriate. Let’s dive into the ultimate guide to men’s dress shoe styles!
Your best bet when purchasing a new shoe that you’re unsure of is the Oxford. Oxfords won’t add a lot of height to your overall look as they feature a short heel. That’re best known for a slightly minimal, clean look that pairs very well with suits—meaning that they’re great for occasions that call for more formality than the usual workday. Here are a few more tips about Oxfords:
- How to spot the Oxford shoe. Look at the laces. Oxfords have a clean look that’s largely due to the closed laces, which means that you can barely see them except for the absolute minimum amount that tie over the center of the shoe.
- The best occasions for Oxfords. These shoes work with just about any formal occasion that calls for a tie. That can include business, business casual, and business formal. It can also include dressing up for social gatherings like weddings.
- Best paired with suits. This is especially true on occasions calling for ties. Oxfords tend to lean on the dressier side of your wardrobe, which means you can dress them up to your heart’s content, as long as you properly match the colors.
The Derby Shoe—also known as the Blucher—looks like an Oxford, but features more prominent laces. They’re generally a “sportier” version of the Oxford shoe, which allows you to dress them with more casual clothes or keep them with a suit. Here’s what else you need to know about Derby Shoes:
- How to spot the Derby shoe. Look for a similar style to the Oxford shoe—a slim profile and pointed toe—but with more prominent lacing. You might also find that the Derby shoe is more likely to feature two or more colors, whereas most Oxford shoes stick to one look.
- The best occasions for Derby shoes. Occasions that might call for an Oxford, but feature an outdoor gathering. This can include outdoor wedding receptions, formal sporting events (as the name suggests), and garden parties.
- Best paired with suits. Like the Oxford, the Derby will elevate most outfits and add the foundation of a “dress” look to just about anything. But, while they’re sporty and more casual than the Oxford, they’ll still look out of place with the most casual items in your wardrobe.
Brogues are shoes that feature the process of “broguing” more prominently, which gives them a heavier texture and noticeable perforations along the lining. Brogues are bulkier shoes with a little more heft when it comes to personality. That makes them less appropriate for the most formal occasions, but perfectly handy for creating a dressy outfit for business settings and streetwear.
- How to spot a “brogued” shoe: Look for the heavy perforations along the lining.
- The best occasion for brogue shoes: They’re great for any of the common “dressy” settings, which includes important business meetings and weddings, but less suited for the most formal occasions.
- Best paired with tie optional: You can wear brogues with suits, but they’re also paired well with tieless looks that require something more casual on the foot.
Other Types of Dress Shoes, or Dress Shoe Variants
Having any one of the three dress shoes listed above will give you plenty of versatility when you want to add a touch of class to your wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones worth mentioning. Here are some common shoes and variants you’ll also want to check out:
- Monk straps. A monk strap eliminates the need for laces in the look, which in turn provides a smooth texture that pairs well with a simple suit.
- Loafers. Loafers can pair with suits, but they’re also casual enough to be paired with streetwear, This makes them an ideal “introductory” shoe for men who aren’t used to wearing dress shoes in their daily life.
- Wingtips. Wingtips actually refer to the style of the toe, in which you’ll see the shoe with “wings” along the cap toe. For example, an Oxford shoe can feature wing tips.
The Next Step: Berle Tailored Trousers
This ultimate guide to men’s dress shoe styles has given you the foundation to enhancing your style. As you work your way up, the next step is to purchase some new tailored trousers. Browse our selection today!
More Tailored Options
There are even more great men's tailored dress pants options available at Berle. Browse our full collection today!