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What is most formal: Captoe Oxford, Plaintoe Oxford, or Wholecut Oxford

retozimmermann

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Hi All There was an interesting question in the "Ask a quick question" thread and because I'd be interested in a broader view and maybe the odd personal comment on the subject, I thought I'd start a new thread. The question was whether a captoe or plaintoe Oxford was the more formal of the two and then where the wholecut fit in the picture. I argued that the wholecut would be the most formal for festive occasions following the "the less decoration the more formal" rule. In the other thread I argued, though, "that it may depend on type of formality. If you're talking work-environment, a cap-toe Oxford is as formal as it gets. If you're talking festive occasion, then a wholecut beats the cap-toe. This doesn't mean it cannot be worn casually but it isn't a casual shoe as such. In my view it is comparable to a dinner jacket: fewer buttons, no pocket flaps, generally cleaner lines. But I don't think one could say which is more formal: a dinner jacket or a blue navy two-button suit. It depends on the occasion." What do you think? And why?
 

elegantgentleman

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I assume you're talking about professional or business situations, but for men's clothing, the most formal shoe is the patent tuxedo pump (which I personally can't stand).
 

retozimmermann

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You're right, I shoul have mentioned that one myself. Although I've even heard the argument that some consider a highly polished non-patent calf more elegant. I tend to agree.

Do you have any opinion on a dinner jacket outfit with captoes vs same outfit with captoes?
 

Redwoood

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yes, you can say that a dinner jacket is more formal than a navy two-button suit.
I don't think there's any question about that.

You're trying to distinguish between different kinds of formality, whereas you could just as easily say there is one formality scale, and the navy suit is in the upper third of the business-formal range, which itself is below the festive-formal range at whose (probably) bottom third the dinner jacket resides.
Just as something can be too casual, it can be too formal, e.g., morning coat to a budget meeting.
 

Harold falcon

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I voted captoe, but the question is pretty ambiguous and speaks nothing to appropriateness.
 

retozimmermann

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Originally Posted by Redwoood
yes, you can say that a dinner jacket is more formal than a navy two-button suit.
I don't think there's any question about that.

You're trying to distinguish between different kinds of formality, whereas you could just as easily say there is one formality scale, and the navy suit is in the upper third of the business-formal range, which itself is below the festive-formal range at whose (probably) bottom third the dinner jacket resides.
Just as something can be too casual, it can be too formal, e.g., morning coat to a budget meeting.


You're right, there really is no need to distinguish. I guess I never thought about someone turning up in the office in a morning coat that I automatically separated business from the rest.
 

retozimmermann

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Originally Posted by harvey_birdman
I voted captoe, but the question is pretty ambiguous and speaks nothing to appropriateness.

I was writing rather hurriedly, wasn't I.

Generally, without considering appropriateness, I would propose the following shoe-order (increasing formality)

Captoe->Wholecut->Pumps. Interestingly I'd position the Oxford plaintoe as less formal than the Captoe, which goes counter to the "decoration" argument. But maybe my hunch on this is just plain wrong


If we're talking business-environment, all up to the wholecut is appropriate, pumps or any kind of patent shoes are not.

If we're talking festive, the more formal the better, but the pumps should really only be worn with white tie.

Would you agree? Or was I missing the point you made regarding appropriateness?

Cheers
Reto
 

ktrp

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Originally Posted by Redwoood
yes, you can say that a dinner jacket is more formal than a navy two-button suit.
I don't think there's any question about that.


Well, in my gut, I agree, but I'll protest anyway.

Dinner jacket is the evening equivalent of the navy suit, and has equal formality. Of course nowadays, everyone treats dinner jacket as 'more formal' and wears them for mid afternoon weddings, but one might argue that both are semi-formal wear for their respective times of day.

Is white-tie more formal then morning suit?
 

thinman

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Less decoration implies more formality, regardless of the venue. All else being equal, wholecuts are more formal than plaintoe oxfords are more formal than captoe oxfords. With a dinner jacket, patent leather is considered the leather of choice.

(I excluded patent leather pumps from consideration, since I consider them limited-use shoes and I will never own a pair. They may well be more formal than wholecuts.)
 

Nicola

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Originally Posted by ktrp

Dinner jacket is the evening equivalent of the navy suit,


A navy suit is work wear.
 

Izhitsa

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Originally Posted by ktrp
Well, in my gut, I agree, but I'll protest anyway.

Dinner jacket is the evening equivalent of the navy suit, and has equal formality. Of course nowadays, everyone treats dinner jacket as 'more formal' and wears them for mid afternoon weddings, but one might argue that both are semi-formal wear for their respective times of day.

Is white-tie more formal then morning suit?


Isn't dinner jacket the evening equivalent of the black lounge AKA stroller? At least in theory, the latter being sort of extinct...

White tie (evening) = morning dress (daytime).
 

james_timothy

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Originally Posted by retozimmermann
If you're talking work-environment, a cap-toe Oxford is as formal as it gets.

I think you are conflating "Conservative Business Dress" with formality.

A cap-toe Oxford seems to be the least objectionable possible shoe, thus perfect as CBD. I agree with thinman that the less decoration there is on a shoe, the more formal it can be.

The most formal occasions have nothing to do with money, the making of it, and if the occasion does then it is has slid down the formality scale.
 

Sanguis Mortuum

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Originally Posted by Izhitsa
Isn't dinner jacket the evening equivalent of the black lounge AKA stroller?

+1

Dinner jacket and navy suit are certainly not the same level of formality.

Originally Posted by retozimmermann
Captoe->Wholecut->Pumps. Interestingly I'd position the Oxford plaintoe as less formal than the Captoe, which goes counter to the "decoration" argument. But maybe my hunch on this is just plain wrong


+1. I also feel that a cap-toe seems more formal than a whole-cut or plain-toe (unless, of course, the plain-toe is patent).
 

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