In the film, Crazy, Stupid, Love, there is a scene where Steve Carrell’s character (Cal) meets up with Ryan Gosling’s character (Jacob) at a local mall to begin Cal’s sartorial transformation. Before the shopping beings, Jacob asks Cal “what happened to your feet” and the camera pans down to a pair of white, new balance running shoes. Cal responds by saying “these are my 407’s”, which he then hands to Jacob, who promptly throws them off the mall balcony. “Are you in a fraternity…are you Steve Jobs?” asks Jacob, attempting to illustrate a point that unless you’re a billionaire, or, a part of a fraternity, Cal has no reason to be wearing those shoes.
It was a great way for Jacob to make his point, but not everyone has the ability to throw away their (significant or other) friends shoes for many different reasons, none of which will be dealt with in this post. The purpose of this post is to note the following: shoes are one of the most important aspects of a man’s wardrobe. In fact, its one piece that should be given a lot of consideration because A) shoes can either make or break an outfit (Bernhard Roetzel, author of Gentleman: A Timeless Guide to Fashion, stated “[a]n otherwise perfect appearance is destroyed, irreparably and at a strike, if a man has an ugly pair of shoes on his feet”) and B) they are usually the first thing that an individual who is attracted to you looks at; subsequently, it can break that attraction.
Unfortunately, there are many different types of shoes available for men to choose from: wellingtons, desert boots, brogues, chukkas, single or double strapped monks, penny loafers, etc, etc. It is only unfortunate because when faced with a wide variety of options, it can become confusing as to which style is best suited to your needs, and usually, most men will revert to the standard sneaker, or, Cal’s trusty 407’s. Luckily, as with most aspects of menswear, there is what could be deemed as an essential shoe that looks great for both formal and non-formal occasions, and suites all variety of style: the oxford shoe.
Normally constructed of either leather or suede, the oxford shoe first appeared in Scotland and Ireland where they were referred to as Balmorals (as a side note, brogues––which are a type of oxford––also originated from Scotland and Ireland, but that is for another post). It is typical for Oxford’s to be laced (as characteristic of almost all English style of shoes), and they usually have a very simple style of stitching. They are not the type of shoe that will immediately stand out; that is because they have a quiet reserved sense of confidence for those who wish to look good, but quietly. Furthermore, they are great for guys who are looking to make the transition from sneakers to “adult” shoes.
Here is an image of a “dress up” oxford shoe:
Here is an image of a more laid back oxford shoe:
The following is a list of stores in Halifax where you may find a good pair of oxford shoes:
-Classic Shoe Ltd. (located at the beginning of Barrington St. near NSCAD)
-Winsby’s Shoes (http://www.winsbys.com/)
Also check out Bass Shoe’s website ( https://bassshoes.harborghb.com/)
Until next time,
Manner of Dress.