Most men buy formal shoes out of necessity, a wedding, a job interview, a funeral… The result is usually a rush decision based on convenience, price and whatever you see all your buddies wearing. The problem is, all your buddies make the same bad decisions and you end up with a pair of square-toed shoes that should be left at the same funeral you’re attending.
Harsh, but true.
As a basic rule, you should never buy anything that is restricted to wearing it in one particular way or with one particular thing, versatility is always key when building up your wardrobe.
Now I realise there are a lot of shoes out there. So many styles, so many colours, where do you even begin right? Well, lucky for you I’ve done most of the legwork or footwork as it were and narrowed it down to 2 styles you’re gonna need to make up for those squared toed shoes you bought.
Meet the Monk Strap or in this case, the double monk strap, if you need a little history lesson on the origins of the shoe you can check out my Menswear 101 post here. Basically, the Monk strap was created centuries ago by their namesake as an alternative to sandals, today they’re possibly the biggest Sartorial weapon you can have in your closet.
The beauty of the monk strap is how easily you can take it from formal to casual without missing a step (I’m nailing these foot puns today). I often wear mine with a pair of turned up jeans, but it looks just as good with a 3 piece suit or even a pair of chinos the way I’ve worn it here. The point is it’s super versatile.
So? Is the Monk Strap for you?
If you work in a less formal environment and are looking to push the style boat out a little this is definitely the shoe you’re going to want. If these slightly brogued Monk Straps, are calling your name you can find them at Spitz as part of the Manganni collection.
Meet a shoe as old as the hills, quite literally really – They were created centuries ago as a walking shoe in the hills of Scotland. The term brogueing actually refers to the little decorative holes in the shoes and not really the style of the shoe, you can pretty much get a brogue in any style.
Sound confusing? It is a little, but I’ve also cleared up this mystery in a menswear 101 post from a couple of years ago all about the origins and different styles of the brogue.
The brogue I’m wearing here is called a ‘wingtip’ brogue – defined by the ‘W’ toe cap detailing that from the top, looks like the extended wings of a bird. The style of lacing makes this an oxford brogue and in my opinion the grandfather of formal shoes. Now I mean cool grandfather, like the kind who tells great stories, has all the answers and can pull a coin out of your ear!
When you bought those boring square-toed shoes, this is what you should have been buying instead. You don’t get anything more classic than these Loake Brogues from Spitz, this is the perfect shoe for those of you who spend their days in suits.
Now, this may not be quite as easily versatile as the monk straps above but it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to rock it outside the boardroom. The contrast of a pair of skinny jeans and a shiny pair of wingtips will definitely put you a few notches up the style ladder.
For those of you looking to keep it strictly formal with a little pattern mixing edge, you can find the check blazer at Kurt Geiger, the contrast collared shirt at Kurt Geiger and the trousers from an older collection at Gant. For the details, you can find the tie at Friday Tie Day, and the pocket square at Kurt Geiger.
In the end, whether you’re a buckle or brogue guy it’s time to take the next step (killing with the puns today) in your formal shoe game!
Burn the square toed shoes.
Okay. Stay Fancy.