From the Mailbag: Shoes to wear to a wedding… and to meet women.
Here’s the scenario: I am a young teacher, single, who has a good friend getting married in March. I recently purchased a charcoal Indochino, but now I need to upgrade shoes.
I’m stumped on which shoes would be the perfect pair for the suit. The wedding ties in because the bride is a great friend of mine and wants to introduce me to all of her close friends to basically set me up. No pressure. My ideal shoe is the Allen Edmonds Strand, but let’s be honest, I can’t drop that kind of money on a pair of shoes.
I’ve heard wingtips go great with suits in more formal settings, but I can’t find a wingtip that doesn’t look really busy. I have looked at the Johnston & Murphy Waverly, as well as the Florsheim Lexington. I also really like the sleek design of the Johnston & Murphy Melton. Have any suggestions?
So it’s not the groom, but the BRIDE that’s in your corner? Nice work on that one. Andrew could show up in a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and most of her friends would probably still be all smiles.
Now, about the wingtips + suits for formal settings scenario. That can work. Sometimes. Like Andrew points out, a wingtip can get awfully busy. Sometimes even clunky. That’s because of their heritage. They originally weren’t dress shoes at all, but instead were used for crossing the over-saturated terrain of Ireland and Scotland. Those perforations used to be functional and they’d allow the water to drain out. Yup. Wingtips were crocs before crocs were crocs. Horrifying ain’t it.
Also, one thing worth pointing out is that a wingtip is a type of brogue. But not all brogues, are wingtips. A brogue is only a wingtip when it has that sweeping “W” (it looks like a bird in flight) over the toe:
Know that in the U.S., a dress shoe with any type of lacing is often called an “oxford.”
Andrew is going to want something sleek, not overly busy, and with closed lacing if we can find it. Derby/Bluchers are more than acceptable when it comes to dress shoes, but a true oxford just looks cleaner. Oh, and he’ll have to be able to dance in em’ after all the bridesmaids line up to fill his dance card. Here’s a few picks:
Calvin Klein Glendon – $145.00
$145 is a lot to pay for a pair of CK shoes. They’re going to be decent quality, but to a shoe snob they’d be junk. Glued soles, the leather will be so-so, but they’ve got plenty of looks. Closed lacing, a cap toe, and some nice long-wing-like perforations. Ships and returns free from Piperlime. And they do codes that are good site-wide every so often, so they could get even cheaper.
Black Brown 1826 Wingtip – $109.95
From the Lord & Taylor house brand Black Brown 1826. A wingtip, and an oddly low priced one at that. Especially if the description is right. Claims to be made in Italy with a leather sole. For $110? Doesn’t have true oxford lacing. Not all that attention getting despite the nice medallion at the toe.
Magnanni Fredrico Oxford – $199.00
Not super sleek but not chunked up either. Very simple with just one line across the toe. Made in Spain, but a little expensive. They’ve also got a rubber sole. Which, might help with gripping the dance floor, but… eh…
Mercanti Fiorentini Cap Toe Dress Lace-Up – $114.95 w/EARLYACCESS ($139)
The DSW house brand has once again made a solid looking, made in Italy dress shoe, that with a couple of codes gets real affordable and ships free. EARLYACCESS takes $10 off $69, $25 off $139, and $40 off $199 and up. The code SHIPR ships them to you for free. You do need to join their email club for those to work. Simple with only a touch of perforations at the lace flaps. Yep, flaps. So they’re not true oxfords.
John W. Nordstrom ‘Lido’ Oxford – $175.00
This might be our winner. Made in Italy, a leather sole, and a trim looking silhouette from above that’s got some sex appeal without being a spear. Much sleeker than the also cap-toe J&M Melton, but less expensive. True oxford closed lacing too. $175 and it ships and returns free from Nordstrom. Nice work by their in house buyers/designers.
The Wildcard: Allen Edmonds Weybridge – $199.00 ($335)
Well look at that. These are in the ol’ personal collection and I love them. They’re as wild as Allen Edmonds gets. They’re not pointy, but they’re not stumpy either. A nice in-between. Made in the USA, bulletproof, and they even go with jeans. Plenty sleek thanks to its unbroken lines and the medallion is something else. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but they’ll catch plenty of eyes without all the perforations and lines of a wingtip.
What else for Andrew? Leave any and all suggestions and advice, shoes, wedding, or otherwise, below…