The modern man’s guide to the suit life – part five

shoes and socksShoes

Keep your shoe style the same as your suit for maximum effect, so with a relaxed fitting suit, you can wear a classic style of wider shoe. Likewise, with a narrow fitted suit, slim and point shoes.

Unless you are dressing casually, avoid slip on shoes. There is no formal event that they should be worn.

When looking at shoes be aware that there are two styles of shoe lacings, known as either closed or open lacing. If you have open lace shoes, the laces pull the sides of the shoe together equally along the length of the foot, leaving the edges parallel to each other. Closed lacing produces a V shape and it the popular choice for attending formal occasions.

When wearing dress shoes, remember that your laces should always be horizontal rather than crisscrossed.

On the bottom of the shoes, the soles should be leather rather than rubber. The one worry with leather soled shoes is that they can be rather slippery when new. A sheet of corse sandpaper usually takes care of that though.

There are plenty of types of shoes but the two most popular are the Oxford dress shoe and the Wing Tip dress shoe.

The Oxford shoe is the most popular design and has a cap over the rounded toe of the shoe. The Wing Tip shoe’s cap is designed to form a W over the toe and often features broguing (decorative perforations).

For black, navy and grey suits, black shoes. For tan and even some kinds of navy, brown shoes work. You should always have a pair of black shoes in your closet though.

Material. Leather. Smooth, well shined leather.


Socks come in various lengths, from nearly invisible to those which rise up to just under the knee cap. It is important that you are comfortable with whatever socks you choose to wear so that you do not spend the evening adjusting them. The only rule of thumb is that the socks should cover any skin when sitting down.

Color wise, if your suit is dark, match your socks to the suit, whereas if you are wearing a light suit, find a colour that is halfway between the colour of the suit and the colour of the shoes.

White socks do not belong under a suit unless the event you are attending is a fancy dress party and you are dressed as either Jake or Elwood Blues.

It is no longer the 1980s so ditch the no socks look that was popular in Miami Vice.

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