With last week’s articles on casual ties done and dusted, I think we may have come to the end of all we cover in regards to Men’s Basics in a casual context. But before I go away and start drawing up a cunning plan for Men’s Basics in a work/formal context I would like to touch briefly on the topic of footwear.
Previous experience dictates that, although we have got the clothing nailed and some quality outfits at our disposal, there is still room for the whole thing to be let down by your choice in footwear. And believe me; I have seen this happen a lot.
The key point I really want to make is that you need to take good care of your shoes in exactly the same way you do your clothes. That means investing in polish, deodorisers and shoes trees. Shoes trees are especially important because they help the leather the shoes are made from retain their shape after a hard day of being sweated in, particularly in those Summer months. Make sure your shoes aren’t dirty, stained or marked and don’t cling onto them once they’ve passed their prime; learn to let go guys. That means those knackered Converse, K-Swiss or Vans that you always wear need to go regardless of how comfortable they are.
What you should be bearing in mind when you are buying shoes is similar to our approach to clothes and that is ‘how versatile is it?’. So when you’re about to buy that pair of Nike’s that are coloured like the Jamaican flag, think twice because it’s more than likely they’ll either clash or draw attention away from your clothes and will only be in for one season max. Furthermore, keep your footwear tailored, so in this case less really is more and the simpler the shoes the easier it will be to match them with whatever is in your wardrobe.
But what kind of shoes should you be going after then? Well, there are a lot of options available to guys when it comes to casual footwear but I find that if your stick to the classics they will never go out of style and will serve you well for long periods of time. So I’m talking about loafers, plimsolls, boat shoes, trainers and boots. And when I mention these styles, I mean man styles not the teenager/university styles!
So when it comes to trainers think adult and tailored – Adidas Stan Smith/Samba, Converse Leather Jack Purcell’s, and anything by Lacoste or Fred Perry. K-Swiss, Nikes and Reeboks can get out!
For pumps it’s best to save these for the summer when you can slip them on and get them as sweaty and grubby as you like. So why spend loads of cash on buying them from Fred Perry or other labels when you can get them from Topman or Burton for about £12-£16 Seriously, the simpler the better!
When it comes to Loafers, Boat Shoes and Boots, as long as they are made from good quality leather you won’t go wrong. Buy your Loafers and Boots in Black, Brown, Oxblood and Tan and head for Navy, Brown or Red with the Boat shoes for some really great options.
Here I would normally give you some ways of wearing your footwear but with the possibilities so endless it would get a little heady to say the least. Instead I’ll just suggest some ways of wearing certain style: -
Trainers - I love wearing mine with my suits when I am out of work. I lose the belt, the tie and the formal lace ups. Then I throw on my pair of white with a dash of green Stan Smith’s, loosen my top button and head out to dinner. But as long as the trainers are simplistic they are an amazing way of dressing down an otherwise formal outfit so try them with your chinos, your striped shirts and your blazers and see how it looks.
Plimpsolls - As I said before, essential Summer footwear. A cool thing to do this season is to have them contrast the rest of your outfit. So if you’re wearing predomintatly plain solid colours in your outfit why not try a pair or gingham check or plaid pumps to add a bit of detail to it. Or if the clothes you’re wearing are all in neutral why not add a shot of colour with some red, purple or green pumps as well?
Boots - this is an easy one, wear them with everything except shorts! I love boots, you SHOULD love boots and FashionBeaners from across the world love them too. Check out the many other articles that have been dedicated to them for more advice.
Boat Shoes - Huge this Summer, Boat Shoes should be your go to with your shorts and tee every time. They also work great with chinos and turned up jeans. But they really help when it comes to those formal events in the Sun, like Weddings and the like. Go with a cotton suit and a plain polo shirt as the perfect complement to your boat shoes at times when you’re trying to balance formality and practicality.
Loafers - Guys, really? Wear them everywhere, even in your sleep. But they look especially great with some dark denim jeans, a blue and white striped shirt and a navy blazer.
But the point I’m really trying to get across is that if you’ve put all this effort into stepping up your game in the clothes department why neglect your feet? Too many guys are holding onto childhood dreams of shitty disintegrating shoes which either let down an excellent outfit or are so loud, busy or garish that they end up detracting or clashing with the look as a whole. Keep it simple and keep them tailored and you will not go wrong. That’s a promise.
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