Carefully selected smart shoes to see you through any occasion
Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Images: Nick Gordon
All shoes were not made equal. As much as we’d like to think that wearing our one pair of favourite sneakers is a versatile and perfectly functional excuse to work, visit the inlaws or go on a date — it’s just not appropriate. The ease and proliferation of sportswear have brought with it some marvellous things: joggers outside of the gym, luxury skaterwear etcetera. But being a ‘grown-up’ means that we need to embrace dressing as one and sportswear does not always age well. Sport-oriented fashion has the excitement and sheen of a trend but what do we wear when said trend has inevitably left us? In those times investing in timeless essentials becomes a sartorial act of survival. Here are a few classic shoes to rather select when the environment demands it.
OUT OF OFFICE
Dressing for any trip warrants comfortable shoes but comfort doesn't have to mean style has to suffer. The Loafer is the optimum shoe when you’re looking for something that looks fresh but is still simple to slip into. The beauty of the Loafer is in its versatility — a laceless, slip-on shoe that can easily be adapted to a business casual setting with the right trouser or socks. This is an essential.
THE DREAM JOB INTERVIEW
Undeniably formal, the Monk Strap is ranked high on the ‘i’m an elegant gent’ list of what shoes to wear. It's sleek and cool but can take you beyond formal settings in the right tan of leather. Show that you’re the only option for the job you’re applying for by ensuring you're leaving a good impression. A shoe with personality that’s here for business is the smart choice.
SURPRISE LUNCH WITH THE CEO
Gentlemen who want the sophistication of a work-brogue and the streetwear cool of a hi-top should look to the Ankle Boot. A tougher shoe to pull off, the Ankle Boot is similar in silhouette to the Chelsea Boot but utilizes different closings to ensure a secure fit around the ankle. This ingenious, casual shoe is dressed up enough to be worn with a suit and laid back enough to be worn up under rolled denims or slim corduroy trousers.
Making the rocky transition from sneakers to formal shoes? The Chelsea Boot is your new best friend. Toeing the line between casual and business casual, the Chelsea boot is an option to go blow off some steam after work at your favourite joint. Tread authority and ease while disarming your co-workers by wearing with black jeans or slim chinos.
YOUR BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING
There's nothing more traditional or refined than the Derby, which shouldn't be confused with the more formal Oxford (FYI, they're two different shoes with completely different lacing systems.) When a more sophisticated look is required for an occasion setting like weddings then the Derby is your man. When styled correctly the Derby, however, can suit a variety of occasions, including those that have a more business casual dress code. To wear to work pick a Derby or a pair of Oxfords in brown leather and avoid patent designs. A brogue and/or wing detail on the toe technically makes the shoe more casual, but who’s paying attention these days anyway. They make the shoe look classy and add buckets of personality to your look.
THE FIRST DATE (ARGUABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT)
All that manic swiping has finally paid off! Congratulations, now you have a date. Confidence is key to any date and confidence starts from the bottom up. First dates can be nerve-racking and one way to keep your cool is to keep things understated and relaxed (not advised for dinner proposals.) What you want is to look approachable yet personable. Do that through a formal sneaker. Leave the Derbies at home this round and go for dark jeans, navy bomber, crisp shirt and clean sneakers