In a time, where regardless of class or creed everyone wears scuffed trainers, the knowledge of how to distinguish an Oxford from a Derby is disappearing. We’re here to help out.
The Decorative Classic: Brogue
If you asked a punk on the street to identify a classic dress shoe the stuck-ups wear, the brogue is the one he would most certainly point to. With its perforations, the brogue can be easily characterized as such. Brogues can come in the shape of an Oxford or a Derby, it’s defining characteristic is the broguing also known as perforations. Often copied on the high street and yet never quite the equal of a classic welted shoe, brands like Ludwig Reiter and Bontoni take great pride in achieving a precise contour by molding the shoe by hand. A brown brogue is the classic way to go and should be part of every man’s shoe closet. We recommend a version by Ludwig Reiter.
Funny sidenote: Because the Irish talk as if “they had a shoe in their mouth”, their regional accents are also often referred to as brogues.
Wear with: navy or brown tweed or flannel suits, country attire, jeans or chinos
Wear to: the office, the restaurant of your choice, semi formal occasions (not suitable for black or white tie events)
Pure Understatement: Blucher/Derbies
The terms blucher (Europe) and derby (US) are often used interchangebly and indeed both are sober, elegant shoe types using an open lacing system. They are characterized by the two lacing parts sitting on top of the vamp and opening in the front in the form of a T-shape. A dark brown derby is the most versatile option you can go with.
Wear with: flannel suits, denim or corduroys
Wear to: business casual occassions
The Formal Classic: Oxford
The Oxford is a basic requirement of any gentleman’s wardrobe. A version in black is the number one choice for evening shoes. What seperates the Oxford from let’s say a Derby is the closed lacing system, which is stitched onto the vamp.
Wear with: tuxedo, tailcoat
Wear to: black tie or white tie (patent leather) events
The Modern Classic: Double Monk
The single strap used to be de rigour until the double monk strap showed up. And thanks to its unique character the smart shoe has caught on in recent years. So much so that designers have released variations with three straps or more. While three buckles might not be the most timeless investment, the double monk is a true modern classic.
Wear with: slim-fit pants (the front strap should be visible)
Wear to: business casual occasions, Pitti Uomo
The Casual Laceless Shoe: Penny Loafer
The loafer comes in many forms: from the tassel loafer to the Belgian loafer (with a bow on top – Lapo Elkann is a fan) to the more traditional penny loafer. They are autumn’s answer for summer’s boat shoe.
We recommend going with a classic version by Ludwig Reiter.
Wear with: no socks, casual suits, chinos, denims, khakis
Wear to: casual occasions