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Thread: Black dress shoes - which is more versatile?

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    Black dress shoes - which is more versatile?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm planning on purchasing a workhorse black dress shoes that I can wear to work with suits, as well as other formal events.
    It will be my only black dress shoes, so I want it to be versatile. Not too stuffy, but not too casual.

    So far, I can't decide between these two.
    https://bananarepublic.gap.com/brows...p-page-content
    https://bananarepublic.gap.com/brows...p-page-content

    One is a derby plain toe with brown sole, and the other is an oxford cap toe with black sole.

    Which do you think would be better?

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    Black sole to me is a lot more versatile for suits and formal events.

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    The contrasting brown sole makes it inherently more casual and might look out of place with a suit or at formal events. I'd personally go with the cap toe.

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    Varsity Member armedferret's Avatar
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    Black cap-toe is pretty damn quintessential. Black tie to chinos.

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    Go with the cap toe.

    I don't know if it's within your budget but I would suggest spending more and going with a pair of Aldens. You can get Alden seconds from theshoemart.com and they should last you for life if properly taken care of. Those BR shoes will likely disintigrate over the next couple of years and then you'll be back to buying another pair.

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    Oh dear--If you are only going to have one pair of black shoes to wear with a formal suit--please go with the black sole oxford and NOT the derby with the brown sole. Although I've worn a derby shoe plenty of times with a suit, I can't imagine a time I would wear that shoe with a formal suit.
    WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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    A derby, aka blucher, with its open laces is inherently more casual than a balmoral. Add in the contrasting brown sole and it's difficult to call it a dress shoe.

    Wearing with suits would be questionable, while inappropriate under even today's loose definitions of formal.

    Go for the balmorals, they'll be appropriate in the situations you describe. Sometimes, classic designs are that because they're the easy answer rather than the old-fashioned one.

    Properly conditioned and polished, you should get plenty of wear out of them for the price (on 30-40 per cent sale, of course). You seem to be still forming your personal style, so if they're comfortable it makes sense to not invest in a lifetime purchase yet. Key phrase: if they're comfortable. Spend enough to get something you'll enjoy, rather than throwing away money on cheap crap or burying a lot of money in something that ends up in the back of the closet but is too expensive to toss.

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    While most people who aren't into hashtag menswear would still consider the derby to be a "dress shoe" the captoe is going to be your more versatile one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galcobar View Post

    Properly conditioned and polished, you should get plenty of wear out of them for the price (on 30-40 per cent sale, of course). You seem to be still forming your personal style, so if they're comfortable it makes sense to not invest in a lifetime purchase yet. Key phrase: if they're comfortable. Spend enough to get something you'll enjoy, rather than throwing away money on cheap crap or burying a lot of money in something that ends up in the back of the closet but is too expensive to toss.
    This is good advice if you're not sure about your personal style or exactly what you want. My understanding is that BR shoes offer a good value and for the price, even if you don't like them, it's not a big loss.

    That said, for at least 18 years, when I worked in an office, I wore my Johnston and Murphy black cap toe oxfords at least twice at week--maybe more. Of course, I had them resoled a few times. I got them on sale for about $100 (1998 dollars). I remember being so happy because I was a new lawyer on limited funds and one of my supervising partners/mentors always wore J&M shoes--back in the day when they made great shoes. (I still haven't purchased one of his favorite Hickey Freeman suits).

    So, if not necessarily for you, but if others are considering similar choices, there are a lot of good sales right now and if you had another $100 to spend you could probably get yourself into a pair of good year welted shoes.

    For example, Nordstrom Rack has these AE shoes:

    https://www.nordstromrack.com/shop/p...rd?color=BLACK
    WHY ARE THE GUYS IN SUITS HERE? HAS SOMETHING GONE WRONG?

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    All the AE shoes I own Iíve gotten off eBay for under $50 each. Many needed re-soling but that made them cheaper. If you know what combination of size and last you need, youíre golden. Iíve got numerous black shoes, (5th Ave, La Scalia, Strand) all for the price of your BR shoes.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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