THE REPORT

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Pack your heavy worker boots away along with those thick argyle socks, there’s no place for them in your wardrobe now it’s officially Springtime…We’ve started to introduce lighter fabrics, shorter sleeves and summer infused prints into our day-to-day style, but with the change in clothing comes the necessary update to our footwear.

What was always dubbed ‘formal footwear’ has now blurred into our everyday style, with more and more of us making a bit more of an effort when it comes to what we put on our feet. Unlike most casual pieces of footwear, formal shoes are rather versatile and can adapt to work with most styles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of Y-3 trainers and wouldn’t ditch them at any point, but it’s something about the way a truly dapper pair of shoes changes the way you walk (or strut) and maybe adds just a little air of arrogance….got to love the power of fashion!  And something I read the other day has stayed with me and led me to write this feature, it stated that over 50% of women judge a man’s fashion sense purely on their choice of shoes. So you may think them looking down at the ground is just a sign of shyness, when she’s actually judging your choice of footwear and then coming to a very ruthless conclusion. Makes you feel a little self conscious about your feet no? Well since then I’ve been compiling a list of the top styles that are going to see you through the season with their versatility and sheer sartorial style.

 

THE BROGUE

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It’s a style that’s been around for donkey’s years and shows no sign of quitting. The brogue was originally designed as a walking shoe, those perforations are not just a nice little detail but are actually there to drain all the water out after trudging through puddles all day. Nowadays that’s the last thing we’d be doing with our brogues, the thought of my favourite pair covered in mud and muck induces feelings of sheer despair, but thankfully since those days the popular design has been adapted for a range of environments. This season we’re favouring the lighter coloured two-tone design, which has a bit more of a spring feel to it and looks cracking with a summer suit or a bit of mismatched tailoring. We look to Grenson for this…

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THE LOAFER

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The preppy shoe that has that little European edge to it, popularised by Hamptons holidaying Americans who also seem to favour offensively bright coloured ensembles, is actually the perfect summer shoe. Available in a whole variation of colours, styles and materials from rubber Swims to luxury leather Hudsons, they’re a formal shoe which can easily be dressed down. Wear them with your suit and then switch out for a pair of chinos and a t-shirt for a more casual look, they can even be paired with a pair of skinny jeans. Hudson are doing a beautiful pair of driving loafers (amongst other delightful tassel loafers) which mix in the shape of a traditional loafer, with the studded soles of a driving shoe. For something a bit more sturdy, Dr Marten’s offer the Adrian tassel loafer which mixes the strength and weight of a Dr Martens with sheer style.

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THE MONK STRAP

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 It’s the new ‘It’ shoe in the world of men’s fashion, rising up at the end of last season and now dominating for SS14. The style is by no means new having been worn by (you guessed it) Monks during the 11th century and have stayed fairly popular with men of the cloth over the years. The monk strap whether double or single, provides a nice break from laces and offers more protection than a loafer or slipper. Another wonderful example of the versatility of  modern men’s fashion, these do truly look dapper with a sharp tailored suit but why not throw on a pair of black jeans with them or roll up your chinos and show off those buckles? This season Paul Smith have made the oh-so-very-pretty leather Wren shoes, which are the smarter of our monk straps and come in both tan and black so you can’t go wrong with them! For a double monk strap look to Grenson, who have crafted a great charcoal pair that have a lovely bit of perforated detail on the toe caps.

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THE SLIPPER

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Automatically thinking about an old man sat in his chair with a cuppa watching the horse racing? Aren’t we all. Now it actually derives from the Victorian house shoe which has filtered down to the gentlemen’s clubs and now finally into high fashion. The current debate is what makes this shoe a ‘slipper’ and not a loafer, well the simple answer is it’s lack of structure and the cut around the tongue. A slipper, just like your granddad’s is completely smooth and fits around the natural curve of the foot, whereas a loafer has a seam around the front to provide that defined shape. Some styles are more slipper-like than others with gold crests embroidered onto velvet in a very Hugh Hefner like way, but the ‘dress slipper’ is slightly more appropriate for day-to-day wear. The silhouette oozes city elegance with it’s smooth exterior, high tongue and slight heel, this is a shoe for super suave gent. The Jeffery West slipper adds sophistication to anything, from black tie event to drinks with friends, it’s surprisingly versatile.