Formal is a word that beckons rules of etiquette and convention. For most men… continued below.
being formal seems official and rather bland. Fashions and formal shoes for men have been part of American history for at least three centuries. Men in the 21st century have cut the cord of standard formal wear, and they are in the process of reinventing the word, “formal,” especially when it comes to footwear.
What Type of Footwear is Formal?
Formal shoes for men can be any type of footwear in today’s rogue, outlandish, bold and sometimes obnoxious fashion trends. However, men who dress for success dress from the feet up. While shoes are the soul of any style statement, it is important to understand the details that make shoes formal, casual or just plain cool. And most men know finding shoes that are cool is a badge of honor.
After all, a hot pair of brogues makes a man stand up and out in the social scene. They have history dripping from their perforated uppers and welted soles. Brogues are royalty, and they demand respect when they are part of any style statement. But brogues are misunderstood. The word, “brogue,” comes from Scotland.
Why Do Men Prefer Brogues for Formal Affairs?
Mens dress shoes, more specifically, brogues were country walking shoes in the early 1900’s because the holes in the uppers let them dry after a man walked through the soggy moors. Today, brogues are everywhere since they can be formal, casual, boot, and sneaker-worthy, and women even wear them. Formal brogues come in different toe cap styles like wingtips, straight tips, and plain toes.
The most recognized formal shoe today is the wingtip version of the brogue on a leather or hard sole. The straight tip, welt-constructed brogue is a close second. A black patent leather, no welt, plain toe brogue is the popular choice for tuxedo duty. Laces play a role in brogue wearing.
There’s an Oxford tie brogue, the derby tie, a Ghillie tie, a slip-on and a monk strap. The Oxford tie can be the Blucher version or the Bal version. When they stitch eyelets over the vamp, the brogue is a Blucher, and when they stitch eyelets under the vamp and the tongue is concealed except for the tip, it’s a Bal.
The latest formal shoe craze revolves around the wingtip and the straight tip Bal. The spectator wingtip is back in fashion. Long, pointed toe wingtips and straight tips in two-tone calfskin and leather soles are kings in the suit world today. Black and white, tan and dark brown, and other color combinations are spectator worthy.
What About Upper Materials in Formal Shoes for Men?
Any conversation about formal shoes for men must include upper materials. Canvas spectators and alligator and ostrich leather straight tips are formal shoes these days. Men wear polished leather penny loafers and dress moccasins to formal events. The penny loafer is a classic. It is always a fashion favorite, especially in bright colors on an athletic inspired bottom.
Mens alligator shoes and boat shoes in special leathers can be formal shoes too. And no one would deny the fact that certain athletic shoes have a formal vibe as well.
The point is, almost any shoe goes in today’s casual inspired formal wear. Men make formal shoes for men, formal. A man’s style creates the formality because style has no boundaries or restrictions.
Long before the Kennedy boys wore a pair of wingtip mens spectator shoes, the two-tone wingtip was an important part of British history.
John Lobb, a famous 19th century English bootmaker, made the first spectator shoes for English cricket players. Before 1868, cricket shoes were white. Playing a game of cricket is a dirty adventure in sportsmanship, so Lobb thought a two-tone version of the cricket shoe would civilize the sport. Needless to say, two-tone wingtips and straight tips became a fashion item in the early 1900s. By 1920, spectators were on the feet of businessmen and elite sportsmen in civilized countries around the globe.
Not All Mens Spectator Shoes are Brogues and Visa Versa
To be clear, not all mens spectator shoes are brogues, and not all brogues are spectator shoes. In order for a shoe to be a brogue, a perforation design must be present. It is usually around the toe area or another area of the upper. Even though most mens spectator shoes have a perforated or “perf” design, some spectator shoes for men have none.
Today’s mens gator shoes and more specifically, spectator shoes for men, are a mixture of vibrant colors and unique toe shapes. They also have versatile sole designs and other important style features. Men today prefer a perforated white vamp spectator with a tan calfskin straight tip toe on a welted leather sole.
Mens Spectator Shoes in the 21st Century
Spectator shoes have taken on new fashion energy in the 21st century. Earmarks of the old 1920s and 1930s mens spectator shoes are still present. However, the new longer last versions built on welted leather soles are in demand across the country. Spectators are the new urban look. No one can deny the beauty of a brown and white spectator penny loafer. And many men love the exquisite lines of a brown and tan brushed calfskin winkle picker.
Men who understand urban styles are not afraid to wear a square toe, navy perforated cap toe spectator. And when they add a tan and white spectator wingtip ankle boot to their wardrobe, the words, “on fleek” take on a whole new meaning.
How to Style Your Spectator Shoes
Men who love style tend to dress from the shoes up, so picking the right suit depends on the shoes. Men who wear Zoot suits love spectators. In fact, most men who have more than one double-breasted linen suit in their closet also have more than one pair of spectator shoes.
Let’s face it, spectator shoes work with any wardrobe. Spectator shoes go with baggy pants with wide legs and skinny slacks with a two-button jacket. Spectators for men cross the lines of fashion in the world of personal style. Mens spectator shoes carry the character of yesteryear, but they also speak the language of the tech age. Men’s spectator shoes are casual and timely, but formal and appealing. In fact, they can also be athletic and inspiring.
Men’s spectator shoes break the laws of staunch and lethargic fashion pundits. They also trample on the rules of conventional mens styles. Mens spectator shoes stand on their own with a pair of vibrant colored shorts, but they can also rock a pair of cut-up jeans. Every man should have at least one pair in his closet.