Oxford shoes are a classic way to style out any outfit, so we thought we'd give you a few tips and tricks to help you out this season.
Check out more Mens Style Guide Features
Has there ever been a more traditional and quintessential shoe in mens fashion? A popular footwear choice the world over, the Oxford shoe is the time-honoured fashion staple every man should own. Traditionally made of the leather, these days Oxford shoes can come in a variety of other materials such as suede or canvas, making them ideal for both formal and casual wear.
To the untrained eye, these shoes are commonly mistaken for Derby’s and Bluchers, however, the Oxford shoe has three main characteristics that can help you identify them from the wannabes.
Characteristics of the Oxford Shoe
- The first unique aspect of the Oxford is its closed lacing system.
- The second distinction is its low heel.
- Finally the third determining characteristic is the shoe is its exposure of the wearer's ankle.
Despite being a classic and rather formal footwear choice today, the shoe has a somewhat adverse backstory.
History of The Oxford Shoe
The origins of the Oxford shoe come from, yeah you guessed it, Oxford, England. Around the early 1800’s students of the prestigious Oxford University wore the ‘half boot’ shoe as a rebellion against the traditional knee high boots popular at the time. This shoe was called the Oxonian. The Oxonian shoe featured narrow slits at its sides which allowed the wearer to slip them on and off with ease, making them a much easier footwear choice.
Over the years changes were made to the Oxonian, including adding laces and lowering the height of the shoe to expose the ankle. The end result was the Oxford shoe as we know it today. The Oxford shoe as it is characterised now was first seen in Scotland and Ireland and was called the Balmoral shoe after Balmoral Castle. But as a homage to the shoes early ancestry the shoes were later called Oxford’s and have remained a trendy mens footwear option ever since.
These shoes are essential for every man's wardrobe, whether you're dressing them up or down, and as they can be worn in a variety of ways, they're perfect no matter what your style. To prove this we’ve put together five different ways to style the classic Oxford shoe.
Everyone looks good in black and it’s never out of season. Take a pair of your favourite skinnies, a slim fit t-shirt and some oxfords for a simple, fashionable and flattering look. If you want to add a more alternative edge throw on a leather jacket to match with the texture of your shoes. The Oxford shoe is an ideal choice when you want to be comfortable but look a bit more put together and sophisticated.
As this is such a simple look make sure that your T-shirt fits perfectly and that your skinnies are comfortable and clean. This look proves that you don’t always have to reach for your canvas shoes when rocking the basic black skinnies and t-shirt, and that there is such a thing as casual oxford shoes.
For the colour you can choose a sleek black leather oxford shoe to keep the look alternative yet sophisticated, or go for a bolder look with white pair. This will stay co-ordinated with the outfit, yet stand out and keep your shoes from looking too much like dress shoes.
Like we said before Oxford’s are the best footwear choice when you want to bring some class and gentlemanly refinement to an outfit. This makes them the perfect choice for when you want to be a bit more daring with your style but still look masculine and stylish.
For this outfit we have taken a bold print shirt, a pair of black trousers to pair with your oxford shoes. You can easily throw on a clean and comfortable Harrington jacket to stay in keeping with the look, while keeping the cold at bay.
As you're going for a black and white outfit again, you can easily pair up some black leather oxford shoes to create a clean finish. However because of the pattern of the shirt and the uniformed look, you can go for something a little more noticeable with a pair of burgundy oxford shoes if you feel that you want to be a little bolder.
We just had to slip some smart wear in this look book! It’s hard to think of a more perfect shoe for a suit than the Oxford. Your shoes don’t always have to be black to be classy and if you're going for a more unique grey suit, then a brown pair of oxfords will match perfectly with it and give your look an eye catching but classy vibe. You can add even more of an interest by choosing your oxford shoe in a wing tip design. Keep the suit smart by keeping your trousers and jacket matching, then complete the look with a white dress shirt.
We're going for an even more casual look with this outfit. If you pick a light brown oxford shoe you can easily pair it with some relaxed blue jeans. You can do a simple pin roll cuff for an interesting contrast and pair with a light grey T-shirt. This will ensure that the outfit stays casual, but the colours stay muted enough to give a clean and relaxed look. For outerwear you can try a simple blue jacket to add a pop of colour without clashing with the rest of the outfit.
Here’s something to keep you warm and snug during the cold seasons whilst still standing out from the crowd. For our final look we’ve taken some eye catching dark red chinos and paired them with a white T-shirt. Because of the tonal difference between the trousers and the top, it's best to keep your oxford shoes neutral in order to avoid too much of a contrast. A dark brown captoe oxford will match perfectly with the look, and to finish everything off you can throw on a simple black peacoat to keep the look muted by classic.
And On That Note
The oxford shoe is a versatile and easily worn piece of footwear. It can take you from day to night with comfort and ease with a few simple changes to your look. Worn with a pair of trousers and a printed shirt for a smart-casual look, perfect for a casual dinner out, or, you can team with jeans for the ultimate in casual cool, spot on for tackling the day ahead.
Dress them up, dress them down; there are so many ways to wear the oxford Shoe. If you don’t already own a oxford shoes then I don’t think there is any more I can say to convince you why you need to pick yourself up a pair!