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Tuxedo shoes


Senior Member
Jul 9, 2002
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With several formal event coming up, I need to buy a pair of shoes to go with my recently purchased tuxedo. I went to Bally - where the woman says they don't even make patent leather shoes anymore. She went on to say that someone so young (26) shouldn't wear them - they are only for old fogeys. She then showed me several plain toed shoes that I didn't want.

Are you guys seeing matte leather shoes with tuxes lately?


Senior Member
May 24, 2002
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I had the same trouble at Bally, but the matte leather shoes they showed me weren't tux shoes, just dress shoes. I think the sales people are just using lame excuses to cover for the fact that they don't make that product (or they don't distribute it in the US), probably because sales were low.

Patent tux pumps (not lace-ups) are still the classic formal evening shoe. The most ubiquitous ones I've seen are the Ferragamo and Mezlan shoes. Ferragamo also has a matte leather variation on its patent shoe that is quite attractive, and very clearly a formal evening shoe even without the gloss, thanks to the grosgrain trim across the vamp.

I found a gorgeous tux shoe at Sergio Rossi which is made from a very high gloss leather, but not patent; the best of both worlds, IMO. It closely resembles Helmut Lang's, which is patent. Tom Ford also has very plain patent tux shoes at Gucci and YSL.


Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Mar 23, 2002
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Of course ultimately it is a question of taste; but I believe the classiest evening shoes are made in full grain boxcalf and have been given a high shine with polish, spit and elbow grease. Those who have done some time in the army will know, that with some effort one can achieve a polish that will put any patent or corrected grain (high gloss) leather to shame.

The gloss will have a depth and a patina, which cannot be achieved otherwise. Of course if you want to take that patina thing to its extreme you can use the effects which I have seen described on a French website (but you better try it out on an old pair of shoes first). Rub shoes with acetone to take off some of the black dye, thereafter polish with oxblood and navy shoe polish.

If you prefer lace ups over opera pumps, look out for silk ribbon laces.


Distinguished Member
Apr 11, 2002
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here is a great place to get shoes, and where i picked up my formal patent leather (the only thing to wear with a tuxedo, i think....why would you go a step below when wearing formalwear, right?) i bought the Cheany knightsbridge...really great british shoes at excellent prices (take advantage of the exchange rate. ha HA.). the owner of the store was very helpful with my english shoe size, just told him the make and size of my other shoes. www.plal.com

Joe G

Senior Member
May 22, 2002
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 She went on to say that someone so young (26) shouldn't wear them - they are only for old fogeys.  
Nonsense. The traditional shoes to wear with a dinner jacket remain patent, or optionally velvet, with grosgrain trim.

I do remember some Ballys, a plain-toe oxford available in velvet that I would consider for semiformal (as opposed to formal, which is tails) wear. They were called the Romeo or something like that. But I've been growing less and less impressed with Bally every season since they got taken over by J. Crew. It seems that company is spreading its values to its prestige holdings.

PStoller hit the available formal shoes pretty well, although I'll add that I've also seen some nice variations on the theme from Fratelli Rosetti and the better niche cobblers of Europe such as Edward Green of the UK and Ludwig Reiter of Austria). I choose the Mezlan patent pumps, though, because they were more comfortable for me than the Ferragamos, and cost a whole lot less. I don't wear semiformal or formal dress often enough to justify spending Ludwig Reiter money on them. And, at a couple years your junior, I'm hardly an old fogey.



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