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Shoe Application: Blucher vs. Balmoral ; Cap vs Wingtip vs Plain ; Loafer vs Laceup..

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Ahheck01, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Ahheck01

    Ahheck01 Senior member

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    There are many threads of one versus another, but I'm getting lost in the various opinions and "informative" websites out there on the specific function of each.

    I get the feeling that those that have a great deal of wisdom when it comes to footwear have an understanding of the following. Could anyone have enough of an understanding to clarify, what the function of each of the following is in a wardrobe, ie. what they should and should not be worn with?

    Blucher:
    vs.
    Balmoral/Oxford:

    Cap-Toe:
    vs.
    Wingtip:
    vs.
    Plain Toe:

    Monks:
    vs.
    Penny Loafer:
    vs.
    Other ? Loafer:

    Brogues:
    vs.
    Without brogues:


    I know that the rules can be broken and still look great, but what are the rules/standards for each?

    I will be massively impressed if someone is able to offer a complete answer. Thank you for reading!

    -Evan
     
  2. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

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    Blucher: Never vs. Balmoral/Oxford: Always Cap-Toe: More formal vs. Wingtip: Less formal vs. Plain Toe: Most formal (except in blucher form) Monks: Never vs. Penny Loafer: Sockless, no break vs. Other ? Loafer: Always tassel Brogues: Has shoes vs. Without brogues: Shoesless
     
  3. Parker

    Parker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I sort of agree with BBris except some bluchers and monks are pretty nice so I wouldn't say 'never'.
     
  4. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    In general, the sleeker the shoe, the dressier the shoe. The more decoration/detailing, the less formal it is. Bals are dressier than bluchers because they generally have a more elegant design.

    If you're wearing a pair of slim charcoal trou and a dark sportcoat, a pair of bals might work well. But they'd look dainty and out of place under full-cut khakis and shirtsleeves. Similarly, a pair of gunboat brogues would contrast sharply with an elegant suit. That contrast can be pleasing, done deliberately, but in unskilled hands it just looks off.

    Generally, it's easiest to mate like with like.
     
  5. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Senior member

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    If you're wearing a pair of slim charcoal trou and a dark sportcoat, a pair of bals might work well. But they'd look dainty and out of place under full-cut khakis and shirtsleeves.

    That shouldn't be a problem considering one should never wear full-cut khakis [​IMG]
     
  6. cimabue

    cimabue Senior member

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    The answer to this rather expansive question would need to be qualified culturally. I might ask where you're from because what works in the US may be a big no-no elsewhere. Giving you satisfactory answers may also depend on your age, your physical build, the type of work you do and so on. Already I'm uncomfortable with the answer given above mine; for example, I hate tassel loafers but love monk straps . . . Maybe a good jumping off point for you would be to read Gentleman's Guide to Grooming and Style, by Bernhard Roetzel and see where you line up with what he says, because he gets into a lot of the kind of stuff you're looking for. Good luck!
     
  7. bigbris1

    bigbris1 Senior member

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    No.

    See:

    Blucher: Never
    vs.
    Balmoral/Oxford: Always

    Cap-Toe: More formal
    vs.
    Wingtip: Less formal
    vs.
    Plain Toe: Most formal (except in blucher form)

    Monks: Never
    vs.
    Penny Loafer: Sockless, no break
    vs.
    Other ? Loafer: Always tassel

    Brogues: Has shoes
    vs.
    Without brogues: Shoesless


    Thanks
     
  8. Ahheck01

    Ahheck01 Senior member

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    Blucher: Never Why not?
    vs.
    Balmoral/Oxford: Always

    Monks: Never Why not? They seem fairly popular even on this forum?
    vs.
    Penny Loafer: Sockless, no break What does "no break" mean?
    vs.
    Other ? Loafer: Always tassel

    Brogues: Has shoes I'm not following. My understanding was that "brogues" refers to the little holes/perforations in shoes. If this is the case, what do you mean by "has shoes" or "shoeless"?
    vs.
    Without brogues: Shoesless


    See questions within quote.
     
  9. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    Easier to parse this out with reference to where you're doing the wearing.

    Office:
    Bals - always, but only plain-toe or cap-toe (a perforated cap-toe is fine). No broguing and no suede.
    All others - never.

    Outside of the office:
    Your call except at night - then, always black if you're out on the town. I could offer reasonable guidelines, but really, it's more a matter of subjective taste.

    Color issues depend on where you live and work. In the U.S., few would consider brown or even ox blood oxfords in the office a faux pas. In the U.K., it's definitely frowned upon in more conservative quarters. Regarding casual wear, I think brown is almost always preferable to black save for when you're wearing a few rather specific rigs. For instance, if you're wearing a PoW suit casually (outside the office), then black brogues are the best call. Dark navy blazer and white trousers also look better with black shoes. But outside of those two outfits, brown will almost always work better save for at night, as noted above.
     
  10. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Easier to parse this out with reference to where you're doing the wearing.

    Office:
    Bals - always, but only plain-toe or cap-toe (a perforated cap-toe is fine). No broguing and no suede.
    All others - never.


    How does this fit in with the widely held view that the black wingtip is the definitive American business shoe? Many folks these days consider it the "dressiest" of all shoes.
     
  11. phxlawstudent

    phxlawstudent Senior member

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  12. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    Doc Holliday wrote:
    The widely-held view is wrong. You're not surprised, are you?

    Phxlawstudent wrote:
    BS. There are rules. But 99% of Americans are unaware of them.

    But that's being pedantic. Your point, I suspect, is that since few people follow rules, there's no reason for you to care about them. Well, it's not like I'm going to go to your house and cold-cock you for wearing brown shoes with your navy suit while at some corporate dinner event. But the rules are (usually) there for a very good aesthetic reason.

    For instance, the old "no brown after 6:00 PM" rule is there because black is better color at night - for suits, for shoes, for everything. That's why dinner jackets (save for Noel Cowards') are black or midnight blue. And Cowards' brown was so dark that it could almost pass for black anyway.

    The no-brogue in the office rule comes from the fact that brogues were invented to allow people to walk through wet fields - the perforated holes in the brogueing allowed the water to flow back out. Hence, the no-brogue rule in the office; one doesn't wear field-shoes to work. It lives on, however, because of the aesthetic belief that fancy-Dan apparel does not belong in the office. You don't wear loud plaids to work. You don't wear crazy shoes with all sorts of spirally designs.

    Doc is right that most people think "fancy" is dressy and, hence, think that wingtips are the dressiest shoes to wear. If you think fancy is dressy, well, knock yourself out. No one but you, me, and your conscious will care. But the aesthetic tastes of the those who established the norms for western civilization would not agree with that.

    Of course, you don't have to ask them.
     
  13. Ahheck01

    Ahheck01 Senior member

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    Of course, you don't have to ask them.

    Oh, I definitely want to. I want more of this knowledge. Keep rolling, I'm learning.

    -Evan
     
  14. J. Cogburn

    J. Cogburn Senior member

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    Ask a question and you shall receive.
     
  15. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The widely-held view is wrong. You're not surprised, are you?

    I just don't follow the logic. Broguing is inappropriate even though the black wingtip's been common in the workplace for decades? To the point that it's the iconic businessman's shoe?

    To me, it's like arguing that attached-collared shirts are inappropriate.
     

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