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Classic men's shoes: the help guide to choose the perfect model

Classic men's shoes: how to choose them? How to match different models with the right outfit? This guide will help you to be always impeccable!

Classic men's shoes: the perfect model

Do you know Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City? She will do anything crazy just to have a new pair of décolleté in her wardrobe. And... if Carrie was a man? We wouldn't speak about "heel 12"! Nowadays lovers of classic men's shoes are increasing; they are particularly careful in selecting high quality materials, looking for forms with modern design but handmade, matching each shoe to the right occasion. In Italy, pursuant to statistics, men buy an average of 16 million pairs of classic shoes per year and most of them are not so influenced by fashion. They buy "evergreen" models because they are timeless, fashionable today, tomorrow, always. How to navigate in the men's world of Shoewear avoiding to do missteps? Let's have a look to this little style guide, it will help you to solve any doubts!

Classic men's shoes: what to wear?

First of all, when you are going out to buy a new pair of classic shoes for men, you should ask to yourself: what am I looking for? Am I looking for a shoe of industrial design, mass-produced, without style or character? Or do I want a shoe that perfectly fits in shape and proportions to my foot and each step I do I taste the value of the real Made in Italy and the experience of the artisan who created it? Once you know the answer, you can start exploring the world of classic men’s shoes. Formal shoes can be divided into three groups:

1) oxford: is the formal model more widespread. As already explained in our previous article “Oxford model shoes for man: the favorite shoes of the new dandy”, this is the shoe of elegance, the one that best represents the dandy both at work and in all appointments where a refined and impeccable style is required. The main element that makes an Oxford the classic shoe for men par excellence is the characteristics of its quarters. The quarters are the two parties of shoe where eyelets and holes for shoelaces are placed. In an Oxford, they are sewn under the vamp, overlapping on it and its V fastening opens in a limited way, leaving a small visibility to the socks: in this way, the foot looks clean and refined.

The style and class of the Francesina Savona in all its shine

There are different types of Oxford, which differ to each other in their materials and colors used. But without doubt the most interesting working is the brogue, where the upper is decorated with characteristic openwork designs (through a working called "broguing" in fact). Symbols of elegance par excellence, in fact, these holes have an origin very poor since they were used in the past by farmers to drain the water that came inside the footwear while working in the fields. An Oxford plays various roles, it depends on the raw materials and colours used.  The most interesting is undoubtedly the brogue. Its upper is decorated with characteristic perforations (through a process properly called "broguing"). These perforations, now considered a symbol of elegance, have very poor origins since in the past, farmers used them to drain the water that came inside the shoes during the hard-working in the fields. Particularly, if the embroidered cap is decorated with a kind of W which extends laterally like the wings of a swallow till the mid-shoe and is emphasized by dense punched holes, the Oxford is called "full brogue" or wingtips. If the cap is straight the shoe is called “semi-Brogue". How to wear the Oxford? It is a matter of color! Models in black leather are perfect both for office outfits and for tights for official ceremony. In fact, due to its super stylish look, the Oxford is rightly considered the shoe for the groom. It cannot miss amongst ceremony collections, because it defines the elegance of the groom, even more of the outfit itself. An Oxford in the shades of brown goes well both with tweed suits and unstructured jackets with a sportier cut.

2) derby: compared to the Oxford, the Derby is classic men shoes but a bit more casual. It suits for  those who have a wide sole of the foot and a high instep girth. The open fastening allows to slip on the shoes comfortably and to adjust shoe laces properly. Unlike the Oxford, this model has the quarters stitched over the vamp, the flaps are wrapped at the instep girth and they can be opened for their entire length. To know more about the differences between Derby and  Oxford you can read our post "Derby and Oxford shoes: what are the differences? Easy to wear, a Derby can also be worn with a pair of jeans, especially if you choose them in color brown or dark brown. A Derby can also be produced with brogue decorations, in this case are valid the same explanations made previously for Oxford shoes.

Here is the Derby Vienna in light brown worn with jeans-like trousers

3) moccasin: this model rhymes with comfort. It has no laces and you can slip on the shoe quickly. It has to be worn strictly without socks. The American Indians were the first who wore them: they  rolled up a piece of leather around the sole and sewed a flap of tissue on the instep girth to increase heating. After them, Norwegian sailors found these shoes without laces very comfortable. In short, this classic shoe became very popular throughout Europe, invading the wardrobe of classy man.

The perfect pants for the Moccasin for man are those with straight leg and the edge of the right size, no matter if they are a Denim or a 5-pocket model. Absolutely to avoid are flared pants or wide-legged models.  As regard to sweaters, for the office time choose jacket and shirt, possibly in sober and neutral colors. For your free time, prefer jumpers or long sleeve button-neck sweater. Among the classic men's shoes, between the Oxford and the Derby, we find the Monk Strap. This shoe is without laces, it has a wing fastened on the side by a single buckle (in this case we speak about Single Monk Strap), or by two buckles (Double Monk Strap). The Monk Strap can be with a smooth cap or with the toe cap, i.e. the stitching is parallel to the cap.

Pantofola Newport, an example of an English-style loafer

The elegance and style of this model changes according to the color and decoration of the upper. Thanks to its versatility, the monk strap should be worn with narrow pants (denim or 5 pockets) so that the hem of the pants does not get caught in the buckle. Have you found your perfect model? Discover all proposals of classic men's shoes in Franceschetti boutique!


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