Was following with some interest the thread from the young fellow about tuxedo clothes and had a few questions about proper footgear for the tuxedo. I never have occasion to wear black (or white) tie, but it looks as if my stepson may be doing so a fair bit during his college career, so I want to give the dear little lad the best counsel I can about the subject. I will encourage him to the best of my ability to wear pumps. I am equally sure he will balk at them, at least those displaying a satin bow. He might go for the more stylized kind with just a band of ribbon across the instep. I like to encourage him by telling him that pumps date from an era when taunting another fellow was likely to get you a sword through the guts. However, I get the impression that patent leather pumps are really not right for white tie (not that this will concern him) although I don't recall what the proper material is supposed to be. Are the common patent leather pumps also second-rate for black tie? Does anyone make the better style of pumps at reasonable cost? There seems to be a substantial faction that regard patent leather as garish and tacky-looking, period. Are highly polished plain-toe calfskin oxfords an acceptable alternative, or will they always be second rate? What about wholecuts? The thought occurs to me I could special order one of the Allen-Edmonds wholecut styles without the unsightly brouging they put on them for an extra hundred bucks (I think). Any other recommendations in a plain-toe oxford calfskin for less than, say, $350? Why does Allen-Edmonds make their only patent leather lace-up, the Spencer (I think it's called), configured as a plain-toe blucher? Is this acceptable or does it merely reflect a lack of sophistication on the part of their design/management team? If it is acceptable, could I get the boy a pair of their plain toe calfskin bluchers, the Harrison, and put a high wax shine on them, which would certainly be the most economical and versatile solution? Thanks for any help on this.