This is exactly what I wear, partly because it's available in multiple widths, partly because these have to perform double duty as civilian and military evening wear (i.e. tux & dress mess). I don't dispute the point that a balmoral (especially a wholecut) looks more elegant (ranking behind only the opera pump), but I don't buy for a moment that these are not "proper" for evening wear. I can't vouch for the gentleman who suggested that bluchers are considered more appropriate in central Europe--although a cursory search for images of "smoking Schuhe" turns up plenty of bluchers. I can say, however, that only bluchers or formal chukkas (open laced, of course) are permissible in American dress mess, and I'm fairly certain the same is true in the UK. Black Tie Guide (for what it's worth) considers patent bluchers to be in accordance with "the rules." I would suggest that this is a matter of taste vice propriety. My preference is balmorals, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with these. I'm with everyone else when it comes to notch lapels, garish cummerbunds, etc.--but I think the tendency to look askance at patent bluchers is misplaced. In answer to J011yroger: it's by no means mandatory that a plain-toe patent formal shoe be open laced. As you may gather from my comments, plenty of people on this thread would argue the exact opposite. As for the prevalence of patent bluchers in the marketplace, I think culverwood's point about ease of fitting is accurate.