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A man’s shoes are the finishing touch to his look. Combined with the right clothes and the right context they’re the jewel in his crown of style. Badly chosen and the silhouette is betrayed. Of course as time goes by codes become more flexible but in order to elegantly bend the rules, you must know them to begin with. Below is a detailed review.

Mens suit and clothing - De Fursac Shoes

No brown in town

British chic has long reserved the brown shoe for strictly extramural use only. While 19thgentlemen patrolled their country estates in green tweed and brown shoes, trips to town required the wearing of black shoes. “No brown in town”, “no brown after 6”: the rules were strict and unavoidable. Similarly an unwritten hierarchy placed Derbies and – just a step up – Oxfords at the bottom of a scale of formality dominated by the moccasin. The Duke of Windsor helped loosen this stylistic corset during the 1930s by importing brown into high society, but also by stepping out in the fantastic Spectators (the famous two-tone Oxfords) – later a resounding favourite among the great jazzmen. 

Since then times have changed, as has society and sartorial direction with it. However some important principles remain despite the disappearance of these obsolete codes.  A pair of brown shoes is more relaxed than black shoes, perforated footwear remains less formal than smooth toe caps, and brightly coloured combinations have never had a great reputation. But these days there’s nothing to stop you from wearing a pair of brown glazed Derbies to the office, or dark brown Oxfords for an elegant evening out. But be aware; they won’t go with every outfit. 

What to wear with ones shoes ?

If you wear a suit, it’s probably better to complete the look with Derbies or Oxfords. Advice that won’t hinder your stylistic freedom by any means thanks to the wide range available of these two models. Of course brown glazed Derbies or certain low boots are perfectly acceptable with a pair of jeans or chinos for a look that’s more casual. Do make sure however, regardless of the chosen design, to take good care of them. And for this don’t hesitate to look at the maintenance guide tucked into every one of De Fursac’s shoe boxes. 

Note also that a tuxedo should always be worn with a pair of black patent shoes. The same colour applies to the non-patent Oxfords or Derbies worn with a formal three-piece. 

In terms of colour, it all comes down to taste, or nationality. While the English are still reluctant to combine navy blue trousers with brown shoes, Italians have long since democratised this elegant association. 

As for shades of grey, an anthracite ensemble may be accompanied with black shoes, while a light or mid-grey trouser marries more easily with a pair of dark brown Oxfords. Brown or beige trousers can echo the tones of the chosen footwear, while the black suit/brown shoe combination remains irreparably tasteless. 

All in the details     

Whichever model is chosen, make sure that your belt matches your shoes. This centuries old principle is universal. And a detail that won’t go unnoticed in the eyes of elegant men.  But once again there are exceptions to the rule, and you can always choose to deliberately mismatch with a more casual outfit.  

When it comes to socks, it’s up to you to decide. While you can wear them with all kinds of shoes, it’s perfectly acceptable to not wear them with a straight-leg crop trouser. In this precise case both Oxfords and Derbies in leather are stylish companions for your bare feet. The same goes for moccasins which are worn without socks to better grip slippery boat decks. An elegant option for summer, even when the sea isn’t in sight…

When to wear ones shoes

Every pair of shoes has its own occasion. At the office, even when seeking a promotion, avoid wearing shoes that are too smart. Because you can be discreet and noticed, set yourself apart more through the pertinence of your ideas and the confidence in your sartorial choices. 

Likewise avoid entering a cocktail party in a pair of brown Derbies that are too casual. You’ll be noticed but for the wrong reasons, and as we all know first impressions last. So instead chose black Oxfords with a squared-off toe, which will go perfectly with your formal suit, and the context. 

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