Oxfords — timeless classic
Those who have an inclination towards classics should pay attention to various models of oxfords, which have the title of the most formal shoes.
Oxford shoes got their name from the University of Oxford — it is there they are considered to have gained their popularity first. The term itself has been used since at least 1846, but it is known that similar shoes already existed in 1820s, even though visually they were very different from their modern counterparts. It was only in the 20th century that oxford shoes assumed their present appearance.
It’s interesting that the Americans call this style «balmorals», but from the British point of view bals are just a subtype of oxfords.
Types of oxfords
There are quite a lot of varieties of oxford shoes:
- Plain toe – oxfords with a usual toe, which means, with no seam separating the toe from the vamp.
- Cap toe – oxfords with a separated toe that have a cross seam separating the vamp from the toe.
- Wholecuts — oxfords made of a solid piece of leather; they have just one seam at the back of the shoe.
- Adelaides — oxfords with no side seams but with a seam that goes around the lacing. Both plain toe and cap toe oxfords can be adelaides.
- Balmorals — oxfords with straight and long side seams.
- Saddle oxfords — oxfords with a saddle-shaped panel. The quarters of these shoes are made of leather of a different type and/or colour than the other parts.
- Punched cap – cap toe oxfords with a pattern of blind perforations along the seam which separates the toe from the vamp.
- Spectators – two-coloured shoes. They can be both oxfords, derbys and loafers.
- Brogues — shoes with decorative perforation. It’s worth mentioning that both oxfords and derbys can be brogues, and there are several types of these shoes: quarter brogues, half brogues, full brogues. Austerity brogues, which have the toe similar to that on full brogues, but no perforation at all, are of particular note.
What is what: how to choose and wear men’s oxfords
We told in a separate article about when oxfords fit in and what it’s best to combine them with. When you choose a pair, you should keep in mind that these men’s shoes are considered formal. This means that you can easily combine oxfords with strict suits choosing their tone to match your belt. The grade of formality of these shoes can vary depending on their style, colour and material: thus, black patent plain toe oxfords will be a great match for a tux or a tail-coat; black cap toe oxfords in smooth leather can be combined with a strict business suit, and brown suede full brogue oxfords go well with less formal suits as well as chinos and even some jeans.
Every gentleman who cares about his image should have men’s oxford shoes in his wardrobe. Even if you are not a big fan of classic style, you need such a pair, because every person has occasions in their lives where strict and formal attire is obligatory. And in such cases oxfords will help you to be at your best.