Originally Posted by tjc4golf
Are the terms oxford and balmoral interchangeable or is there a distinction? Same questions for blucher/derby.
I am aware that oxfords are more formal/dressier than bluchers. I am also aware that the more detailing a shoe has the less formal/dressier it is (i.e. a plain toe is dressier than a cap toe, a shoe without brouging is dressier than a shoe with brouging, etc). However, it seems that from what I have gathered here, an oxford is always dressier than a blucher. Is this correct? Is there a point where a blucher becomes dressier? For example, could a sleek plain toe blucher be as dressy or dressier than a full brouge oxford?
Lastly, is it ever appropriate to wear a blucher with a suit? If so, in what circumstances? Which type of blucher? Which type of suit?
Thanks in advance!
Though my knowledge is comparatively limited, recent research into the first question reveals that balmoral is a term interchangeable with oxford and blucher with derby. American companies misuse the terms frequently though. Also, I believe you mean "broguing" (like "brogue").
Oxfords are dressier but not to any substantial degree. The rules are not strict.
It is appropriate to wear a blucher with a suit in all circumstances; if you feel as though you need to be dressier, the onus is on you alone. Most people wouldn't notice, and if they did, they would not think you were insufficiently dressed. I wear brown bluchers with suits frequently.