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When it comes to men’s dress shoes, nothing is classier than Oxford Shoes. The elegant footwear style has been lending a dapper touch to outfits for centuries and continues to do so today. Perfect for looks ranging from the most formal to smart casual, Oxfords are as versatile as they are timeless. As such, they are an essential staple for all gents, no matter their style. In this guide, we delve deeper into this classic shoe, its many variations, and you can style it. Here’s exactly how to wear Oxford shoes for men.
What are Oxford Shoes?
Unlike most other shoes and items of menswear, the Oxford shoe has one principal defining characteristic: the lacing system. First of all, it may seem obvious but an Oxford is a shoe with laces, and not a slip-on, monk strap shoe or Chelsea boot. Second, an Oxford shoe has a closed lace system vs. the open lace system of a Derby shoe.
Characteristics of the Oxford Shoe
In a nutshell, these are the features of a present-day Oxford Shoe
- Closed lacing system.
- Exposed ankle.
All Oxford shoes share these essential features, and although most have the eyelets on the quarter, a wholecut or seamless Oxford are the exceptions.
Types Of Oxfords
There are many types of Oxford Shoes that you can choose from as they come in various colors and types.
The plain Oxford basically consists of the quarter and the vamp. It features neither a leather cap over the toe box nor does it have broguing. This style is simple yet elegant; black is the number one choice for evening shoes, and patent leather for black tie and white tie.
Cap Toe Oxford:
The cap toe Oxford, sometimes also referred to as cap-toe, is probably the most widespread Oxford shoe style in existence. The most popular color is undoubtedly black, and the black cap toe Oxford is the most popular shoe for the majority of classic men’s shoe manufacturers. Of course, it is also available in tan, brown, cognac, oxblood, etc., but the black variety is the epitome of Oxford shoes.
Wingtip Oxford / Brogue:
The Wingtip Oxford has a pointed toe cap with extensions called wingtips which extend along both sides of the shoe. Although technically an Oxford, it is generally referred to as a Brogue. When seen from above the cap is shaped like a ‘W’ or a ‘M’ depending on the viewpoint. This style is considered a bit more casual than the Cap Toe.
These oxfords lack any kind of toe caps and have an additional strip of leather that runs across the top of the middle of the shoes down to the sole (the width of the shoelace eyelets) in a contrasting color. They may or may not have heel caps in a contrasting color. Historically, it is an American style, but you can find them offered by companies all over the world.
The Kiltie Oxford is distinguished with an additional fringed tongue hanging over the top. These shoes are no longer very common.
Oxford Shoes Color
Oxford shoes also come in various colors.
Brown leather oxfords are the perfect option when paired with a grey, dark brown or navy suit. Rather than wearing black, a brown oxford is far more striking when paired with these colors and you will visually stand out.
Tan has become a prominent shade in men’s footwear, and because of its dark and light tones, it is one of the simplest colors to style as it goes with almost everything. Tan is also an excellent option for a less formal look and can be worn with denim trousers, bright-colored chinos, and tailored navy pants.
No man should be without a pair of black Oxfords in his wardrobe, and it’s the number one color to wear for business. Black Oxfords are quite possibly the most versatile shoes that a man can own, and can be styled with almost every color for a polished yet conservative look.
How to Wear Oxford Shoes
Oxford Shoe Outfits
Oxford Shoes with Pants
If you’re wearing suit pants or trousers, Oxfords can make an excellent footwear choice. Due to their sleek and sophisticated aesthetic, these shoes are the perfect partner to formal outfits. So, whether you’re off to a wedding, cocktail event, dinner or even work, this footwear style is an ideal chose. To nail the look, just make sure you select the right style and color Oxfords to suit the pants you’re wearing.
Oxford Shoes with Chinos
For a stylish, smart casual look, Oxford shoes and chinos make a fantastic choice. To keep the outfit coordinated, just choose basic colors for each piece. For instance, chinos in navy, brown, sand or black can easily suit brown or black Oxfords. On top, you have a choice of what you want to wear. For a dressy look, try a long-sleeve button-up. For a relaxed appearance, consider a short-sleeved shirt or t-shirt.
Oxford Shoes with Jeans
Although Oxfords are dress shoes, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them with jeans. In fact, Oxford shoes can look seriously stylish with a jeans outfit so long as you wear them right. To nail the look, pay close attention to the color of your shoes and jeans. While tan Oxfords can appear seriously smart with blue jeans, brown or black designs can pair better with a darker denim, such as indigo or black. Also, to ensure your overall look is appropriate, be sure to balance your shoes with a button-up shirt or blazer on top.