Basic shoe models in the men's wardrobe

Basic shoe models in men's wardrobe

The formation of shoe wardrobe is a responsible task, and we advise to approach it thoughtfully and carefully. The fact is that it is easy to make expensive mistakes — for example, to buy not versatile shoes but much more exotic model that you won't have much reason to wear to. This article will tell you exactly how to start forming a shoe wardrobe.

Basic models

First, let's consider the basic models that should be purchased first, and then move on to the shoes and boots that deserve attention at the next stage.


Thanks to their minimalist design, they are suitable for both office and leisure use, combining with both jeans and business suits. Hardy Amies, author of the book "ABC of Men's Fashion", called the chelsea boots a basic shoe model back in 1964, emphasizing their comfort, practicality and appeal. We advise you to give preference to smooth dark brown and burgundy leather, because they are the most versatile. However, it will be more reasonable to buy black chelsea in some cases — for example, if you have a lot of very dark trousers and suits, or if you need to wear black shoes at work.

Chelsea Barrett
Barrett brown chelsea boots


This is a less strict, but very universal model that is suitable for almost all informal situations, and sometimes looks harmonious with suits.

As the author of the book "Elegant Man" Corinne Chevallier writes, brown chukka boots "should become one of the main items of your wardrobe. They fit well with jeans and linen pants, but you can also try them with a grey flannel suit". The most advantageous option is a dark brown chukka boots on a thin rubber sole, made of suede or smooth leather. However, if your office has a strict dress code, it's better to buy black chelsea boots and/or black derby shoes first.
Chukka Yanko
Yanko brown chukka boots

Semi-brogue oxfords

According to Corinne Chevallier, brown brogues "fit in with everything", but they are still not suitable for the strictest images. On the other hand, you can wear dark brown or burgundy semi-brogue oxford "fit in with everything", but they are still not suitable for the strictest images. On the other hand, you can wear dark brown or burgundy oxfords with jeans, most unpaired trousers and several suits; most companies consider them to be acceptable shoes to wear in the office. Semi-brogue derby shoes are less versatile than semi-brogue oxfords, but they are also perfect if you don't need to wear business suits.

The same is true of the brown full-brogue, which, as the author of famous books and articles about the male style, Bernhard Roetzel, said, "should be in every shoe closet".
Semi-brogue oxfords Carlos Santos
Carlos Santos brown semi-brogue oxfords


This model is remarkable for its versatility: jeans, chinos, linen pants, suits made of flannel, cotton and smooth wool — all these items of wardrobe are combined with monks made from smooth burgundy or dark brown leather. However, it is worth buying black monks in some cases — for example, if you need to wear black shoes in the office. They also have a lot of potential for compatibility.

Berwick monks
Berwick tan, brown and black monks


Another very versatile model that can be worn in summer, spring and autumn, but it is too open for winter. We think you have already guessed: the most versatile loafers are made of smooth dark brown and burgundy leather. Black loafers are a little more formal and, although they have less potential for compatibility, they are sometimes preferable — for example, when you are only required to wear black shoes at work. If you only must wear shoes on shoelaces in the office, we can recommend black derby shoes (they will be described below).

Loafers Barrats
Barrats brown loafers

Formal must-have models

This special category includes black cap toe oxfords made of smooth leather.

Michael Anton, a famous American image maker, writes that "everyone should have such shoes, because they are considered the main thing in the wardrobe <...> and can claim the title of the strictest, official and business. Every man is obliged to have at least one such pair, because only it is suitable for the funeral".
Black oxfords Berwick 3010 Black
Black derby Berwick 3011 Black

However, this position is characterized by great conservatism, and if your company doesn't have a very strict dress code, we will risk advising you not to wear black oxfords, but black derby shoes (of course, without broguing). At the same time, you will be able to wear it more often than black oxfords without broguing, because it is noticeably better combined with informal clothing, including even dark jeans.

On the other hand, if you sometimes must wear a tuxedo, you can't do without black oxfords. Ideally, black lacquered shoes are needed for the tuxedo, but at first you can get along with the usual black smooth leather oxfords, polished to a high shine. There shouldn't be any broguing.

Number of models in the shoe wardrobe

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that it is not enough to limit ourselves to just one of the above mentioned models. It is not recommended to wear the same pair of leather shoes every day, so the basic shoe wardrobe should have at least two pairs, but it is better to have four or more of them — at least because some models will not be worn all year round. For example, it can be black derby shoes, dark brown semi-brogue oxfords, dark burgundy chelsea boots and dark brown penny loafers.

What to buy in the second turn?

After buying shoes made of smooth dark burgundy and dark brown leather, you can look at models of other shades, as well as shoes and boots made of textured materials.

In particular, suede deserves attention; for example, Michael Anton noted that if the suede is brown, it "is suitable for any combination and looks great".

We do not recommend buying black suede shoes, and dark blue is less versatile than brown in most cases. It is better to buy white suede shoes not in the second turn, but in the fourth or fifth one.

Suede Loake boots
Loake brown suede chukka boots

Another decent material is pebble grain leather; it is best suited for autumn and winter. This leather is resistant to water, dirt and salt and is an excellent material for all kinds of boots and informal shoes. On the contrary, we do not recommend lacquered leather, since it is suitable only for the most official shoes, which are combined with tuxedos and dressers.

Grain leather Cardinale shoes
Cardinale brown grain leather loafers

If to speak about colors, it is necessary to pay attention to red and red-brown shades, when expanding shoe wardrobe. Opinions on blue and green shoes differ, so we do not advise to get carried away with it. Of course, you can expand the number of black models, as well as try red-brown (but not red). White shoes sometimes look very elegant, but you can't call them practical, and the universality is lower than that of red shoes, not to mention the dark brown ones.

Most likely, you will understand which models are more comfortable and aesthetically appealing for you after you have assembled the basic shoe wardrobe. During the expansion of the shoe wardrobe you can buy a variety of classic shoes and boots, but it is better to refrain from some variants at first: for example, saddle oxfords, as well as kiltie loafers and monks. If you do not need to follow any significant dress code at work, the choice is very wide, and if you still need to, then try to buy models that will fit the dress code, and which you can wear in the off-hours. For example, it can be a quarter-brogues.

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