Why Do Men Struggle With Smart-Casual Footwear Choices?
One of the most common problems for men trying to navigate the world of fashion is what shoes to wear with a mid-level outfit? It is common practice to team a smart suit with a pair of Oxford lace-ups and makes practical sense to team shorts and a t-shirt with sandals but men, more often than not, have no clue what type of footwear to wear when the outfit is only of a moderate level of formality.
So, for example, when it comes to deciding upon a choice of shoe to team with a pair of chinos and a sweater, or with a jeans/collared shirt ensemble many men will struggle. More often than not, men will plump for trainers as their default shoe of choice and, whilst occasionally a pair of Converse will look the part, usually this style of shoe can bring down an entire outfit.
For mid-level shoes there are a number of options the discerning male dresser can pursue of which loafers are perhaps the most obvious and popular. This shoe has three sub-categories including driving loafers, which are plain on top, penny loafers, which include a piece of fabric which looks like a coin slot, and moccasins, which tie on the top. The great thing about these shoes is that, whilst they are incredibly comfortable, they are also smart to the degree that they can be worn well with chinos and jackets without being formal enough to compliment a full-blown suit. Usually loafers will look their best in a dark brown colour but, depending on the rest of the outfit, it is possible to experiment with tan and other sophisticated tones.
There are a number of different options that can be pursued also. Leather slip-on casual shoes, available from such brands as Rieker shoes and Hush Puppies, are another great choice of footwear when teamed with dark jeans or even chinos and are perfect for giving the look of a sophisticated man enjoying his leisure time. Bucks, the original tennis shoes, are a fantastic choice also in both the luxuriant comfort they provide and the sleek way they can complement men a mid-level wear outfit. Originally available only in white suede, Bucks are now available in a number of colours; they are, however, yet to beat the original design in terms of effortless cool.
On the other hand there are plenty of types of shoe that a discerning gentleman should shy away from when making his mid-level ensemble. Trainers that look like they can be used to play sport in should never be worn as they simply give the impression that the wearer has forgot to fully change from the jog he has just been on. “Show” trainers, usually in vibrant whites, are even worse as they draw attention to themselves as both brash and useless items and makes the wearer appear vain but without the added benefit of appearing stylish. Flip flops, despite their popularity in certain circles, are decidedly a no-no for anywhere except lounging around on a beach.
Mid-level wear shoes should reflect the rest of the outfit; the ensemble is not made for meeting royalty in and neither is it for playing beach volleyball in. The choice of footwear should shadow this and be smart yet casual.
Kieron Casey is a fashion writer and blogger who suggests men should team their mid-level clothing with a simple and eloquent style of mens shoes.