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Opera Pumps - What's the Deal?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Augusto86, May 10, 2007.

  1. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    T

    About the closest shoe to a pump still used for dancing are ballet slippers, and they usually have one or two elastic straps across the instep, as well as elastic around the topline to hold the shoe in place.


    You must be quite some dancer with your pirouettes on the dance floor.
     
  2. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Senior member Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Or if you really can't stand the bow: [​IMG]
    I like these, as I am wary of the bow. Just how acceptable are bow-less pumps? And in calf or patent?
     
  3. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    No matter how traditional these pumps may be there's something unsettling about showing that much sock and the same goes for any kind of low vamp slip on.

    In the same way that black tie derived from white tie and tails but made several concessions to comfort/practicality/modernity (shorter jacket, no tails, turndown collar, double cuffs etc. ) I think opera pumps are best left to white tie and thus black tie footwear offers a man a little bit of latitude in an otherwise prescribed uniform. Patents, whole cuts, slip ons, Chelsea boots etc. could all conceivably be pulled off depending on one's level of preference and the formality of the occasion. Probably my least favourite option is shined up AE park avenues.
    As I've said here before, you're gonna wear a suit, shirt, bowtie, possibly cummerbund or waistcoat, studs, cufflinks, braces all kept exclusively for high days and holy days, and pair them with the shoes you wore to work last Wednesday?
    For the record I kicked around possibilities on this board last year and ended up with patent lace ups. They are very comfortable and fit the bill. YMMV.
     
  4. MrDaniels

    MrDaniels Senior member

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    I like these, as I am wary of the bow. Just how acceptable are bow-less pumps? And in calf or patent?


    I personally would never wear ones with a bow. But I still would never wear pumps, PERIOD! Black patent leather is the way to go.
     
  5. GradSchooler

    GradSchooler Senior member

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    My fiancee just asked me why I was reading a thread about women's shoes. 'Nuff said.
     
  6. Allen

    Allen Senior member

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    So far, I haven't worn pumps. Mainly because I am not really invited to white tie events [​IMG] not that I have anything against them. In my opinion pumps are better with white tie than with black tie. And since we're on the subject of clothing tradition, formal breeches are still correct with white tie. Wearing lace-ups with breeches would look awful.
     
  7. tentasale

    tentasale New Member

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    LOVE 'em. Try wearing with red socks, tie, cummerbund and pocket square. Always got compliments!! And you look great on the dance floor!!
     
  8. deMelmoth

    deMelmoth New Member

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    If anyone's still interested (know this is an old topic, but ever-relevant), then see here for an article about opera pumps (court shoes) and where to buy!
     
  9. chwolfenbloode

    chwolfenbloode Member

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    Opera pumps are the correct shoe for white tie and optional for black tie. It is the only remaining item of clothing in formal dress that hasn't changed since its (alleged) introduction by Brummell which for all ye faithful gentlemen of sartorialism holds a deep symbolic affection and nod to continuous style and heritage as well as a direct link to the past. For those who wear breeches with white tie as part of alternative court dress in the UK, they are the only acceptable shoe.

    Also, it has to have a bow, or it isn't a proper opera pump (in fact, a lace-up would look better, especially with ribbon laces).

    They are not everyone's cup of tea, hence why Oxfords are also acceptable for white and black tie. One should not begrudge those who choose to wear opera pumps. Having such a choice is what makes formal dress exciting and stops it from being cake-mould cookie-cutter everyone-in-the-same-shoes boringness, etc.
     
  10. contrarian

    contrarian New Member

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    The appropriate formal mens hose for opera pumps are sheer black silk with their elastic tops or worn with garters.
     
  11. contrarian

    contrarian New Member

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    I had a roommate back in college (early 1960s) who wore his calfskin opera pumps with jeans. He was from old money and didn't give a crap about what the other guys thought. He was from old money and the girls didn't seem to mind a bit.
     
  12. drbat

    drbat Member

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  13. Layered Player

    Layered Player Senior member

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    Before I was married I had a group of single female friends who used me as their +1 to charity gigs, etc because they knew I knew which fork to use and they wouldn't have to fight me off at the end of the night.

    Went through a couple tuxedos and a single pair of Bally calf opera pumps that wore like iron and felt like buttah!!

    I like the way they look and the chances are/were that, even at a so-called formal event I'd be the only guy there wearing them.

    The only other men were usually older...MUCH older.
     
  14. 0qubit1

    0qubit1 New Member

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    Many things that are now considered feminine were at one point very masculine, and vice versa. Many gentlemen back in the day surely laughed when one impertinent cad began carrying a parasol to keep the rain at bay. But after a few drenchings, seeing him high and dry motivated some change, and I'm sure there isn't a man here who refuses to use an umbrella because "it's for girls ewww!"
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  15. George13

    George13 New Member

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    Actually, men's opera pumps are only worn with White Tie and Tails. This is the most formal and classic of men's attire. They are never worn with a tuxedo. A tuxedo is considered a less formal. It was originally worn by the Duke of Windsor when he asked his tailor to create a shorter jacket for less formal dinners. With a tuxedo you can wear any type of dressier black shoe including patent leather and they can be tie or slip on, (sometimes referred to as a slipper).

    Most formal events in the U.S. are "black tie" and therefore call for a tuxedo or a dinner jacket, also called an evening jacket. To a black tie event, one can either wear a full tuxedo where the jacket and pants match like a suit, in black or other appropriate colors, (including navy blue) or a different evening jacket made of several different material such as wool, silk, or velvet in an array of colors.

    One would wear tails only to a "white tie" event, which is more rare these days and almost non-existent in the U.S. To a white tie event, one would only ever where a tailcoat and matching pants,(in black) a white shirt with a wing collar, white or off white evening waistcoat (vest) made of cotton pique fabric, a white or off white (matching the waistcoat) bow tie also made of cotton pique and yes black opera pumps with a grosgrain bow. This is the only time such a shoe would be worn. If you were hosting the white tie event in your home then black velvet "slippers" (meaning a slip on shoe in velvet) could be worn, but only by the host. Tuxedos or other attire would not be appropriate for a white tie.

    In the later part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century, white tie and tails were the standard evening attire for men until the "Tuxedo" was coined at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, NY when wealthy business men began wearing a coat similar to the one commissioned by the duke of Windsor. Brooks Brothers actually sells the white tie ensemble including the pumps.
     

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