Formal Kicks

Formal events happen, and one of the last things we think about with the penguin suit are the shoes.  Since every man should own a tux, and hopefully most of you are phasing out of the rental option, shoes are an unavoidable necessity.  We don’t rent shoes.  They are the finishing touch that makes a million dollar outfit look like one.  Bad shoes will make that million dollar outfit look like you are late for prom.

With a tux, whether it’s the traditional shawl collar or the white dinner jacket, having the right shoes is key.  One thing that is an absolute must for any formal footwear: leather soles.  DO NOT get rubber soles.  You can’t dance in them, and you damn well better be on the dance floor if you put on the tux.

Back to footwear – there are a few options that work in just about any situation…with exceptions noted:

From top left:

1. Peal & Co. for Brooks Brothers Velvet Slippers:  Velvet slippers are a really cool option for a formal event.  They are a bit fashion forward, but are actually the oldest option for a black tie event.  Velvet slippers will work for a white tie event as well.  Take note – please don’t wear any sort of embroidered velvet slipper.  Black velvet is fine; they don’t need to be adorned with your favorite sport team’s logo because they simply don’t look good..  That’s why they are all on sale.
2. Magnanni Dante Formal Oxfords:  The most classic of the formal footwear choices; the oxfords are going to be the most versatile of all the options.  They’ll work with black tie and white tie.  Get something that looks a little more English – narrower toe and a higher vamp.
3. Salvadore Ferragamo Antoane Formal Loafers:  The updated version of the Opera Pump.  These are a great look for the guy that is ready to break out of the oxford standard, but isn’t ready for the velvet slipper (or it’s raining out, and he doesn’t want to ruin his velvet).
4. John Lobb Chelsea Boots:  These are a bit of a stretch, but Chelsea boots really look great with a tuxedo.  They aren’t appropriate for white tie, but with a 60’s IBM-esque black and white look, the Chelsea boots will give your tuxedo a little extra panache.  Go with a narrow to to avoid any sort of Ronald McDonald boot look.  And make sure you keep them spit shined.

Since these shoes will only be worn a few times a year, keep the box.  Store them with shoe trees and inside shoe bags so they they keep their shape and are ready to rock the next time duty calls.



  1. Mr. Wonderful
    12/30/2013 / 6:58 PM

    Chelsea Boots with black tie would tell everyone that you are either a touch affected or just trying too hard.

    BTW, the ’60’s era IBM corporate dress code mandated black lace up shoes. Wearing boots would have been a career killer.

  2. Mr. Wonderful
    12/30/2013 / 6:58 PM



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