I have the lowered block heel and it is very comfortable, more comfortable than a higher heel to me. And I think it would look slightly dressier. I definitely recommend it.For leathers, the CXL will of course get scuffed up pretty quickly. If you're looking for a dressier look at seems like the French calf or the dress leather would be best.
They didn't do it for me at first, but seeing a picture of a worn pair on Instagram a while ago made me like them. But the combination of the price and the fact that Palmer just not allow returns, definitely made them unbuyable for me. But it's a rare example of the 2045, which is a great last..
For a long time the brown dress leather seemed the most popular on SDs, and a lot of guys swear by it. It looks slightly dressier but appears to be pretty hardwearing. For more of a workboot look, and a longer break in time, the brown smooth/brown oil tan is by all accounts White's thickest and toughest leather.