When it’s that time in a guy’s life where he needs to trade in his old sneakers for something that will look better with a suit, the breadth of choice can be pretty overwhelming. A quality pair of Italian leather shoes isn’t cheap—that’s the point—so you want to make sure you pick a few pairs that are both classic and versatile to get the most out of your investment. Here are three styles we think every guy should have in his closet:
A classic dress shoe
There are two basic types of classic dress shoes: the oxford and the blucher. These two styles of lace-ups have one key difference: the way their lacing systems are constructed. Oxfords have a closed lacing system, meaning the vamp (the top part of the shoe) is either stitched on top of the shoe’s quarters, or in the case of the wholecut oxford, part of the same cut of leather. Additionally, the eyelet facings are stitched underneath and the lace flaps are joined at the bottom, leaving very little space when the shoe is tied. A good fit is necessary when choosing oxfords. On the other hand, bluchers have an open lacing system with quarters stitched on top of the vamp, along with the eyelet facings. The lace flaps are not joined at the bottom, allowing for a little room.
Bluchers tend to be a bit more comfortable, but not as universally accepted in formal dress situations. However, oxfords are able to be dressed up or down so they make for a better choice for most of us. Of course if comfortable and casual mean more to you, bluchers work in most situations.
Some snazzy brogues
Broguing actually refers to small perforations in the leather of your Italian leather shoes, and doesn’t mean there’s any difference in the actual construction of the shoe. However, those little dots mean a big difference in style, which is what most people notice anyways. You might hear brogues referred to as “wingtips” from time to time; wingtips are actually shoes with a very specific W shape of dots on the toe—they don’t speak for all brogues. In fact, wingtips can look a bit dated at times. We much prefer the simpler detail of our Brando Semi-Brogue Oxford; it has all the flair you need without risking going overboard. Wear them whenever you don’t have to be super-formal, but you want to add a little personality to your look.
A pair of easygoing loafers
You have a pair of formals, a pair with personality… now all you need is a pair of Italian leather shoes that you can be comfortable in. Loafers are hands-down the best option for this necessity. Perfect with dark-wash jeans and weekend suits, a great pair of loafers can be worn with out without socks and still look put-together. Your Italian leather loafers are a great alternative to sandals and sneakers when you want to elevate your casual wear. Try our Stewart Penny Loafer, the Caine Bit Loafer or The Van Damme Belgian Loafer.