The time-honoured Oxford shoe is the foundation of a true heritage look. Traditionally the more formal of the classic shoe styles for men, the Oxford lace-up has really come into its own element over the years. The versatility of this shoe is considerable. Available in a variety of materials, colours and style variations – suede, leather, wingtip Brogues, toecaps, saddle shoes, and more – the Oxford shoe is befitting of any occasion and look. Whether you’re coveting the cool, stylish, or traditional style, you’ll find a comprehensive guide below on how to wear Oxfords for men.
Oxfords: The Cool Look
Oxford shoes are traditionally noted for being a formal dress shoe but this is no longer the exclusive case. If you tend to be more relaxed in your dress sense, you’ll be pleased to know that Oxfords work just as well with chinos, trousers, jeans and yes – even shorts.
When going for a relaxed look, it’s important to select an Oxford shoe that’s more casual. A suede fabric like Winslow Black or a uniquely coloured Oxford lace-up immediately eliminates the formality of this classic shoe. When deciding upon a style variation, a two-toned saddle shoe or wingtip Brogue would dial up the cool factor of your outfit.
Wear your casual Oxfords with natural coloured chinos if you want to call attention to your dashing footwear. If you’re the daring type, add some colour to your outfit with a statement blazer. Check out the cool floral, checkered and gingham statement blazers featured above. If you’re wearing coloured chinos, try a tan Oxford style like the Reese Tan, which is a quirky version. This particular style will also look good with jeans or shorts.
Oxford shoes only work well with tailored shorts or dress shorts. Dress the shorts up with a blazer or keep it casual with a t-shirt. Admittedly, the sockless look may not be for everyone but unless you’re incorporating socks into the overall look of your outfit as a style accessory, (note: the photo above on the left) losing the socks is the preferred look when styling with shorts. Remember, losing the socks doesn’t mean throwing hygiene out the door. Purchase some no-show or invisible socks to make going sock-less easy to achieve.
Oxfords: The Stylish Look
Those who find themselves erring towards the modern and sophisticated looks will be able to appreciate this timeless shoe and its full potential to polish off an outfit. Whether it’s dressed down smart attire or opulent suiting, it’s possible to find an Oxford shoe that will bring your look to life.
Oxford shoes in burgundy or certain shades of brown – chestnut brown or mahogany – will give root to any suiting. That doesn’t mean you should step out of the house in a mismatched suit. If you’re doing colour, keep it to a maximum of 3 colours or you risk losing the thread of the outfit. Like the middle picture above, try similar tones of colour from the same family. Dressed down elegance can be achieved with a linen suit and shirt and similar coloured Oxford shoes for warmer months.
With jeans, keep to straight or slim-fit jeans that cut just at the ankle. While suitable for jeans in a range of colours, keep in mind the lighter the colour of the denim, the more casual the look. Rolling your jeans up with a pair of Oxfords is fine if you’re aiming for a relaxed look. Keep the top part of the outfit sophisticated with a shirt, tie and jacket or knit.
Oxfords: The Traditional Look
Vintage heritage is easily attainable with the traditional Oxford shoe. This formal shoe was made to complement suits.
For the conservative types, match your black leather Oxfords with a tailored suit - black goes with everything, although purists will insist that black does not go with brown. If you’re going for a black Oxford shoe then you can afford to have a little detail for a point of interest. A toe cap (cap toe) Oxford lace-up like Farris Black would work well with a suit and trench coat in black over the cooler months, or a pebble blue suit over the warmer months. Brown leather Oxfords, like the Royston Brown will work well with grey or navy suits. Constructed from chocolate brown leather, this plain Oxford lace-up is as traditional as you can get.
If you prefer a modern take on old world charm, stay true to tradition with a well tailored three piece suit but update it instantly with patterned or coloured socks. Work a natural-coloured suit with similar coloured Oxford shoes, or try invisible socks for a sock-less look.
However you decide to wear your Oxford shoes, make sure you’re comfortable with your outfit and it reflects a bit of your personality. Most importantly, the key to pulling off any outfit well is confidence. Own the look, and you’ll look great in anything.
Interested in learning about the history and basics of Oxfords? Check out the article here
How do you style your Oxford shoes? Do you have any style tips of your own? Share by commenting below.