Don West Stylist

I'm a stylist just trying to give some wardrobe help to the fellas

Let’s talk shoes. Dress shoes to be exact!

Oh do I love me some shoes.  It’s the one thing that can set you apart from the rest, the thing that women notice about a man.  It can make a mediocre outfit good and a good outfit great.  I’m not kidding here.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can tell a lot about someone simply by the shoes they wear.  Yup, that goes for both men and women.  So the point of this blog is to try share a little experience, knowledge, taste, and even mistakes I’ve made so we can dress better, therefore we are going to start from the ground up.  That means SHOES!!!!!

The Dress Shoe 

This guy is incredibly versatile.  Probably a lot more so than you think.  However there are certain shoes that go better with certain outfits.  Easy there, bucko.  I’ll share some of the rules.  Well, they’re more guidelines than rules.  Believe it or not there are different types of dress shoes and with that different outfits that “should” be paired with.  I put the should in quotes because again these are just guidelines. I want you to at least know the rules so you can base your outfit on your event and the whether people there will give a damn.

The Oxford

That's a captoe Oxford, gang.  Do you see?  DO YOU SEE!!!!

That’s a cap toe Oxford, gang. Do you see? DO YOU SEE!!!!

This is the Rolls Royce of the shoe world.  The Oxford is usually the more formal of the dress shoe family so it’s best worn with suits and tuxes.  How can you tell what an Oxford is?  Hey, what a great question.  Well, funny enough I have a picture right there.  The main thing to look at is the lacing system.  In the case of the Oxford it is a “closed” lacing system meaning if you look at the bottom of the laces toward the vamp (thats the toe part) it’s all sewn together.  Oh yeah, if you do meet someone from across the pond, they may use the term Balmoral.  Don’t freak out, they mean the same as an Oxford only with no seams except for the toe cap.  I think from Balmoral Castle in Scotland but I may have been drinking when I heard that.

The Derby or Blucher

Open lacing system.  get it?  Like not sewn together?  Like it's open.  Am I talking too much?  I'm talking too much.  I'll shut up now

Open lacing system. get it? Like not sewn together? Like it’s open. Am I talking too much? I’m talking too much. I’ll shut up now

So Where the Oxford is for more upscale events, the Derby is a more casual brother.  It’s not to say you can’t wear suits because you most certainly can, but the derby can be ward with jeans, chinos, slacks, and corduroy trousers.  Now, take a look at the picture.  What makes this a Derby is the two pieces of leather that wrap around where the laces are.  That’s called an open lacing system.  That’s the main differences between the Oxford and the Derby.  Oh I mentioned Blucher, are usually used interchangeably with Derby but a Blucher (rhymes with butcher) will have a thinner leather piece that the eyeholes are in.  I also want to point out that a Derby is a bit better for those with a wider foot since it’s not a closed lacing system.  I know that sounds obvious but I figured I would just let you know all the same.

Styles  (cap toe, wingtip, wholecut, brogue)

So, these are the different types of dress shoe styles that you can chose from.  The first 2 are kind of obvious.  If you see a straight cap over the toe, it’s a cap toe.  If you see a wing at the tip of the shoe it’s a wingtip.  If you see a white haired woman with dragons, she’s the mother of dragons and you should love her.  The other two, however, you may not know so I’ll help a brother out.

What did I tell you.  No seams.

What did I tell you. No seams.

Wholecut signifies that it is one long piece of leather with no seams except for the lacing system which could be open or closed.  It’s a gorgeous shoe and you should have one pair.  The outfit for this can range from jeans and nice button down and blazer to a blue suit.  If you are lucky enough to work in a place that lets you be a bit more fashion forward, you can get a great rich blue suit that isn’t quite as dark as navy.  I usually like to match the intensity of the tone of shoe with the intensity of the tone of the suit.  Put it simply, dark suit, dark shoe.  Lighter suit, lighter shoe.

Yup.  This is what I wear to the country side.

Yup. This is what I wear to the country side.

Brogue is that very decorative perforated holes on and around the shoe.  The guideline here is that the more formal the event, the less Brogue you have.  This was popular in Scotland and could be warn in the country side and most occasions.  For me, this is my running around shoe.  I can dress it down with some jeans but when fall hits, I love taking that Scottish flair a little bit farther and pair it with a corduroy and sweater.  Hell maybe even a little hat.  I wore an outfit like that in Harlem a few years back and was often mistaken for someone who lives in the British Isles.  I took it as a compliment.

Now heres some helpful advice from your ol Uncle Don.  Do NOT go cheap with these shoes.  The well made shoes will last longer and cost less in the long run by keep getting them resoled from your friendly neighborhood Cobbler.  What?  You don’t have one?  Oh you simply must.  I know, I sounded like a douche just then.  Sorry.  But seriously There are some decent budget and midrange shoes out there.  Be prepared to spend anywhere from $100 up to $250 for a decent budget pair of Oxfords, $250 to $700 for Midrange, and way the hell above $700 for the high end which is usually reserved for people who can buy entire islands and hunt people for sport.

Where the hell do you get these shoes?  So many places and it really depends on your budget and style.  I want to do more research and do a proper post about where and what but in the meantime I can give you a few of my favorites, and since you have the interwebz, I’m sure you can find a few of them and more.

For a classic look, Johnston & Murphy

A little more oomph?  Try Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds,

For the daring with a little more cash, Mezlan, and John Fluevog

This is not even close to a great list of different brands but I’m hoping it will give you a start outside where you already shop.  I will have more on this so relax.  We’re just getting started with this.  If you have dress shoe you like or a brand you want to share please do it.  I love learning new things so go ahead and post them down in the comments below.

We’ll talk soon.



2 comments on “Let’s talk shoes. Dress shoes to be exact!

  1. Michael
    June 27, 2015

    For a nice leather sole budget shoe I love Mercanti Fiorentini from DSW. Range of styles in between $120-$200. Also, love you Don.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don West Stylist
    June 27, 2015

    Excellent choice, Sir. Big fan of the DSW’s. Good Call buddy. Mercanti Fiorentini is a solid company with classic designs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on June 27, 2015 by in knowledge for ya and tagged , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: