All In The Details: What’s up with those holes? (Leather Shoes, Part III)

August 30, 2012 · 22 comments

in All In The Details

(This is Part III of All In The Details: Leather Shoes. Here is Part I, and Part II.)

Did you know that there are differences in the level of formality when it comes to your leather dress shoes?

It doesn’t matter so much nowadays (at least not in the overly-casual US where I live), but depending on the event you’re attending, you should be wearing a certain kind of dress shoe.

First off, there are two basic kinds: the oxford and the blucher. You may hear an oxford referred to as a balmoral. You may also hear the blucher referred to as a derby or buck. The main difference between the two is how the vamp is stitched.

With oxfords, the eyelets are stitched underneath the vamp, while the blucher has eyelets stitched on top of the vamp. Check out the image above.

As far as formality goes, oxfords are more formal than bluchers.

Within that, a plain toe is more formal than anything with broguing. Brogues, remember, are the holed patterns you see on shoes (which had the original purpose of aeration when wet, wayyy back in the day).

Wear which one where? Huh?

Ultra formal event? Plain toe oxford. Casual Friday? Full brogue (or semi, or quarter, whichever you prefer).

Can only afford one? I suggest the semi brogue. They’ll go with everything from your navy suit to your denim. Perfect!


I mean, what else is there to know?

Have questions? Let’s hear em below.


All shoe images: Alden


Barron is the founder and editor of Effortless Gent, a site dedicated to helping guys figure out what looks best on them. He's based in San Francisco. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Previous post:

Next post: