Shoe formality hierarchy

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Threadbearer, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Shikar

    Shikar Senior member

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    Correct. One step below, all else being equal.
    The more the designs on the shoe i.e. stitching, brogueing, surface irregularities etc, the less formal.
    Also, the rounder soft classic last like a 202 is more formal in my eyes than 888.

    Regards.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012


  2. gyasih

    gyasih Senior member

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    So, above both captoe versions?

    Thanks
     


  3. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

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    I work in central London. And I've spent plenty of time in other equally conservative environments around the world. They are black-shoe places. Not always nice black shoes - some truly awful shoes get worn. But if the lattter get an eyebrow raised on tastelesness, any kind of brown shoe stands out as inappropriate. Which they may not in the US (though my experience of both central Manhattan and The Hill suggests that black has a majority there too). On grounds of rules of taste, I am unbothered. On grounds of rules of "fitting in", things are different.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012


  4. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Needs to be separated into day and evening shoes IMHO, with some shoes being only appropriate for one or the other. Obviously today no one will think twice about you wearing brogues in the evening, but traditionally should not be done.
     


  5. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    Quite an unexpected statement. I used to wear my Strands with a brown BB Milano suit, but after spending so much time on SF I've begun to think them too clunky and adorned for such a sleek cut suit -- and perhaps for any suit that isn't very, very country. All the more reason to think that short wings would be too casual for that application. (I'm not arguing with you; just expressing surprise that you would wear either the Strand or the Short Wing with a suit.)



    Meaning that half brogues are a shade more formal than wingtips? (Just making sure I understand you correctly.)
     


  6. SpiffEngineer

    SpiffEngineer Senior member

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    I have been thinking about this for the past few days, and I am not sure whether monkstraps are acceptable with a suit, because if they are, they would be more formal than a blucher, wouldn't they?

    I think the formality of shoes is not a strict heirarchy, it is made up of a few factors which produce a score; I have made up a sample of a scoring system below:

    casual score = lacing * toecap * material * color
    (lower is more formal)

    lacing points:
    balmoral (oxford) = 1
    monkstrap = 2
    derby (blucher) = 3
    loafer = 4

    toecap:
    plain = 1
    stitched captoe = 2
    brogued captoe= 3
    wingtip = 4

    material points:
    patent leather = 1
    smooth calfskin = 2
    cordovan = 3
    suede = 4
    exotics= 5
    pebbled calfskin = 6

    color:
    black, oxblood = 1
    dark brown = 2
    tan, cognac = 3
    all others = 4

    I am not sure if this is properly calibrated, but it does account for any single "unique" variation in the shoes (i.e. neon cap toe balmoral or alligator skin plain toe is less formal than a patent leather cap toe balmoral).
     


  7. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I'm not sure about these point values. I think you are mixing a lot of evening wear and business wear concepts together.

    I think that the derby is probably more formal than a monkstrap. The people wearing monkstraps with suits would probably not take issue with wearing derbies with suits either.

    In the business world, the plain cap-toe seems to me more formal than the plain toe.

    Black is more formal than oxblood. Oxblood and brown are on par.
     


  8. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    Where does everyone think a plain-toe balmoral fits into the shoe hierarchy, in terms of business wear?
     


  9. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    yup. totally. always happy to help.
     


  10. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    mebbe, with country suits.
     


  11. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

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    The following words overlap but are not synonyms: formal; traditional; conservative; elegant; acceptable.

    This was prompted by Manton's comment on the 888 last. I have one pair of 888s and midly dislike the last. Because they are over-elongated. Their Cleverley bespoke inspiration would probably not be.

    The rest of my EGs are on a mix of 202s, 88s, and most recently 82s. Were I forced to have all my shoes on one last, I would pick the 88 as formal, traditional, acceptable and both elegant and conservative. But the 82 is good challenge example. It is not traditional, because it is new. Its asymmetric shape is a sort of fake bespoke style. But it is undoubtedly elegant, conservative (especially by contemporary standards), more than acceptable, and formal, if not particularly traditional.

    The idea that I am trying to convey is that CBD, let alone the broader spectrum of non-CBD suits, odd jackets and business casual, are all a pretty broad spectrum. Appropriate shoes are a similarly broad spectrum. And heirarch-ing them is ultimately futile. Same suit, same shoes. One with white shirt and patterened tie, the other with light blue and genadine. Same suit, shirt, tie, slightly different shoes. Are these outfits different on the hierarchy? Does it matter? Does anyone care?
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012


  12. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

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    I have been thinking about this for the past few days, and I am not sure whether monkstraps are acceptable with a suit, because if they are, they would be more formal than a blucher, wouldn't they?


    Yes. But forget the blucher comparison thing.

    If they are good shoes, on a nice last, and you have some very conservative oxfords in the rotation, esp for job interviews.
     


  13. Pembers

    Pembers Senior member

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    You see a lot of very old-school City of London types wearing monkstraps with suits. Always single strap, always black, obviously. In London at least, and, I suspect, in much of the world outside menswear forums, people are more snobbish about the colour of a pair of shoes (and their quality, obviously) than they are about lacing configurations and so on.

    It depends on who you are, though. As a 21 year old, I would feel ridiculous turning up to work, or any occasion actually, wearing a pair of monkstraps. That being the case I'd question the usefulness of this discussion. Everyone reading already knows that black captoes are interview shoes. Beyond that (with exceptions like black tie) it's just a matter of understanding your own surroundings and the people you work/hang around with. A list on the internet isn't going to help with that!
     


  14. Slippybee

    Slippybee Senior member

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    Geezer, you must be a rare exception.

    I work in the Square Mile, in one the UK's ever-popular investment banks. I wear black monkstraps on occasion but very rarely see another pair. What I do see are lots of square-toed loafers and the occasional pair of ridden hard, put away wet Derbies.

    Having worked in the City on and off for the last twenty years I can confirm its reputation for any sort of male sartorial elegance is grossly inflated.

    The best dressed City workers I've seen are in Tokyo, the twenty and thirty something office workers there were almost universally well-dressed.
     


  15. cwh812

    cwh812 Senior member

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    Very interesting that you say this because to my knowledge the only difference between the 888 and the 82 is in the shape of the toe. To say that the 888 is over-elongated and the 82 is not strikes me as a bit strange.
     


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