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We Rank 10 Different Dress Shoes from Formal to Casual

Posted by Wolfgang Collection on

Dress shoes. You need a new pair, so you go out there do a quick search, tons of options. You got options, but maybe not this many options because you’ve got all these different types of dress shoes in front of you. You’ve got monk straps, you’ve got loafers, you’ve got Balmoral oxford, you’ve got bluchers and you’re trying to figure out what is the right style for you, which is going to fit the formality of the suit or which one is going to be more casual to be able to dress down with jeans.

Guys, the purpose of today’s video is to break out those dress shoes and to break out those dress shoes and to explain to you the difference in formality so that you can buy the right pair for you. [Music] First off, let's talk about the two factors which are going to affect most shoes in terms of their level of formality. Number one is the build of the shoe. The general rule here is the simpler the more elegant the build, the more formal the shoe is going to be.

As you start to add complexities onto the build of the shoe, it becomes more casual. The other thing you want to pay attention to is open versus a closed lacing system. So, you see this right over here and how this back part kind of goes under that is a closed lacing system and is going to be more formal. An open placing system often times seen with a blucher which we'll get into, this is we're going to the quarter the back is going to go on top of the vamp. The second factor affecting the formality of the shoe is going to be the material in which the shoe is made from to include the color. The most formal of all the colors is going to be black, after that other dark colors like dark brown, oxblood. Those are going to be formal, not as formal as black, but they are still formal.

And what you're going to see is as the colors get lighter, so as we go maybe to a medium gray, we start going to a white, we go to a light gray, all of those are going to be more casual colors. Now, the material specifically of the upper, if we see a smooth leather that can be polished this is going to be the more formal. Now, if you start to see something like a suede, this is going to be more casual. When it comes to the sole of the shoe, in general leather is going to be more formal, rubber is going to be more casual. Now, throughout this video, you're going to see some beautiful shoes. If you want to grab any of them, click on the link down in the description of this video. Go check out Ace Marks, they’re the paid sponsor of today's video and I've been with this company for over two years.

These shoes when it comes down to it are an amazing deal. Two things about these shoes I love. Number one, the bold designs and number two, the fit and basically the overall feel of these shoes. These have to be some of the most comfortable dress shoes I've ever worn. But, guys, let me pull up their website. Look at these beautiful shoes, look at everything. And what I love each pair of Ace Marks, again, these are Italian made men's dress shoes, they're hand-selected. They use full grain calf leather, it's crafted, it's dyed, and it's varnished by hand.

And like I said, guys, it's an incredibly comfortable shoe. They use this lightweight blake flex construction and a leather outsole, it allows basically for easy effortless movement. Another cool thing about this, you can actually get these resew. Other details about the built, they also use a calf leather lining that reduces the heat and the moisture while you're wearing the shoe. At the end of the day, gentlemen what you're getting is a unique and beautiful pair of Italian crafted shoes. These are some of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. I love them. I think they're a great company, I highly recommend them. And in the link in that description, I've got a discount code. Go use that to get the best deal out there. So, number one on my list, gentlemen, of the most formal dress shoe out there it's going to be plain Balmoral oxfords in black.

Notice, I was ultra specific there and I'm only putting one shoe in this category. The reason this shoe is here is it can be worn not only with a suit, but you can actually shine it up, you can even wear this with a black tie which is in itself has certain shoes that can be worn with. And I'm not going to get into formal pumps I'm not going to get into patent leather which is often it's a very glossy leather that's worn with a black tie. That's kind of beyond and I want something that applied to more people. But, understand that Balmoral oxfords use a closed lacing system. I talked about that earlier, but the lacing system is key here and they are my number one choice for being the most formal dress shoe out there.

Number two on the list Balmoral oxfords, again, but we're getting away from being plain. Now, we're starting to bring in cap toes. We're bringing in maybe a little bit of a medallion design on the toe. We're bringing in a variety of different colors; ox blood, dark browns, even a medium brown. We're going for darker still colored shoes, so all of these are going to work great with an interview suit. But, what we're seeing here is a little bit more design, this is going to make it a little bit less formal. These shoes right here could not be worn with black tie and that's the big difference. [0:04:54] Coming in at number three on my list I've got the whole cut. Now, some of you guys that remember the earlier points may say, Antonio, why isn't the whole cut number one I mean look at it, it's the simplest most elegant of all the shoe designs? And, I agree, but I don't put it at number one because it's not really worn with black tie.

I think you could pull it off with a black pair of whole cuts that were shined properly, but when it comes down to what were used to historically what has been worn, it is still a modern classic and it's kind of making its way up. I do think if I did this list maybe in twenty, thirty years, it could be number two could even be number one, but at this point I'm going to keep it at number three.

Coming in in fourth place here in levels of formality, we've now got the blucher aka the derby. Now, I know that blucher and derby they are technically slightly different shoes, but the thing I want to focus in on here right now is we've gone from a closed lacing system to an open lacing system. This is the big shift in the shoes that you should notice. So, with an open lacing system remember that's always going to be more casual. So, the open lacing system actually has a very interesting history comes out of the military they wanted to make the shoes quicker. At the end of the day it has classified these shoes as being less formal. Now, many of you guys are still going to wear these type of shoes bluchers or derbys with a suit and if it's a dark color if it looks good, I'm not going to tell you that that's wrong.

I love bluchers and derbys, I think that they are very versatile shoes they can be dressed up can be dressed down. They're becoming a modern classic it's becoming very accepted to wear them with more formal outfits and I think that there's very few instances where ever it would be inappropriate. Up next, we've got brogues.

Now, when it comes to the lacing system of brogues, you're going to see open and closed lacing systems on brogues. So, you're going to see technically brogue oxfords, brogue bluchers or derbys, but the thing that separates brogues from all the other shoes out there is going to be the intricate work that goes into the leather. So, there are four main types of brogues out there. We're going to see the quarter brogue, we're going to see the semi brogue, we're going to see the wingtip brogue, and the long wing brogue.

Now, you will see some darker color brogues out there maybe in black dark brown, but I like to go towards a medium brown a light tan something to that effect maybe even look at a suede, maybe go for a dark blue suede that would be fine, but what you want to do is have fun with the brogues, they're a more casual type of dress shoe. So they -- in general they're going to be dressing down, you could maybe wear them with a casual suit, but they're definitely not going to be something you want to wear into an interview. Coming in at number six, I've got the Chelsea boot. I put it this high specifically because it's such a simple elegant design and it's such a versatile shoe.

Now, I say shoe it's technically a boot, but it actually comes out of a walking shoe when you look at its history, it was never used as a riding boot or something to that effect. And for me, it's something that is just practical. It was made popular in the 1950s 1960s by number of musicians, even storm troopers. Yes, go back and look, they were wearing white Chelsea boots. So, it's something that, hey, you know it's intergalactic. The point is is that the Chelsea boot is something that I think you can dress up you can dress down and because of its simple design I'm putting it high on this list. Coming in at number seven we've got the monk strap. So, very interesting history, we go back to monks who used to wear this. It was a protective form of sandal, then it eventually became a type of shoe.

But, the key with the monk strap is the strap the buckle, you're going to see it. So, single monks, you're going to see double monks, you're going to see triple monks. I, in particular love the double monk, I find it's one of the most comfortable very stylish type of looks out there. Now, the thing about the monk shoe that I love is simply when I'm going through security, I can slip them on and off and also they're a bit unique with the buckle. You don't see them all the time, but that's also going to be their downfall because they've got that uniqueness with the buckle, it is something that's going to make it a bit more casual. I think that I can wear this with a casual suit. I'm not going to wear it with a suit that I would wear necessarily into an interview, but I can also wear this with a pair of jeans.

So, it's a very versatile dress shoe and that's why I've got it on this list. Coming in at number eight on this list I've got the loafer and I think the loafer one of the most versatile pair of shoes a man can own out there. Generally, it's going to be casual, there's a wide range of loafers. So, you'll see the bit loafer, you'll see the tassel loafer, you'll see the Belgian loafer, but my favorite is the penny loafer. And I really like this loafer because of its simple sleek design. You can have it looking really dressy by wearing maybe dark color very simple polish it up. You can also dress it down, go for a more casual type of loafer, same design but maybe go for a light gray suede. At the end of the day, the loafer is going to be one of your most versatile pieces I think you can still wear with the casual suit especially in the summer or the harder time of the year. You can wear these with shorts, you can wear them with jeans. Very wide range that you can pull loafers off.

Next stop, we've got dress boots which I know technically are not dress shoes. But, I want to address them anyway because I get a lot of questions here and there are some dress boots which are really close to dress shoes, let me explain. So, there are the dress boots out there which have a closed lacing system ones that actually use a Goodyear welt they -- or maybe a Blake stitch, but they almost in the construction seem like dress shoes. [0:10:14] Those out there can confuse people because you can look at this and say, wow, this looks so well built I could almost wear this with a suit. But, you've got to understand that dress boots are casual by their very nature, so they're always going to be less formal. Now, there are a number of dress boots out there that have more of a combat boot which they are designed from, so the base of them the sole is going to be made from rubber. They're going to be very comfortable when you're out there you can go running, you can go hiking in these things and they're going to feel great.

Now, the upper is going to be very, you know, beautiful intricate, you can use various leathers a wide range of colors, you know, you can even see suede on some of these. But at the end of the day, understand that the dress boot is in terms of formality in dress shoes is definitely going to be over on the far casual side. Now, I do think that you can occasionally wear them with odd trousers, maybe gray flannel trousers.

They definitely look great with dark-colored jeans, but it's going to be something that, again, you don't want to ever wear with a suit. Rounding this list off, I've got moccasins and driving shoes. I'm putting these both in here because the construction the build the materials that are often chosen when they're making these are all very casual, lighter colors, they're going to choose suedes. They don't even have a proper sole. That being said, they are definitely a step up from running shoes. So, if you're looking for something to wear with a pair of shorts, definitely look at those options.

All right gentlemen, now it's your turn. Let me know down in the comments agree, disagree? How would you have changed this ranking? What shoes did I miss? I know I missed chukkas, probably missed a few other ones, but I want to hear from and how I can make these videos better. And, if you liked any of the shoes I showed you in this video, go grab them over at Ace Marks, I'm going to link to them down in the description. An awesome discount code down there for you, RMRS enter that whenever you grab a pair of shoes over there you're going to get the best deal that they make available.

Guys, like I said for two years I've been using these shoes. I love great them. Great company great brand. I think they're just making beautiful shoes and a great deal.

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