If your budget won't allow for a more expensive pair of shoes, at least polish the best pair you have before an interview!
1 The Laces
It’s an inescapable fact that a lace-up still looks better with a suit than a slip-on.
2 The Color
Black will always be dressier than brown. If you’re suiting up for a board meeting or a formal event, go with the former. If necessary, however, you can pair brown lace-ups with suits – especially navy or charcoal – as long as they’re scuff-free.
3 The Material
Glossy leather is the fail-safe choice, but you should feel free to experiment with suede – starting with a pair of classic bucks and progressing to exotic materials like alligator and ostrich or the growing number of antiqued leathers.
4 The Toe
An elongated toe is unequivocally classier than a square. That doesn’t mean all your lace-ups should be pointy – lots of elegant cap toes have squared-off tips – but unless you’re aiming for mid-nineties nostalgia, no shoes you wear should have a blunt, squared-off toe. I suggest staying away from them.
5 The Welt
Well-made lace-ups should have a close welt – the seam where the upper meets the sole and creates the outer edge of the shoe. It should be visible, but it shouldn’t extend so far past the edge of the shoe that it creates a ledge.
6 The Sole
A thin sole is the hallmark of a cheap shoe – plus, it not only looks cut-rate, it wears out more quickly. Yours should be at least a quarter-of-an-inch thick and preferably leather, not rubber.
7 The Broguing
Traditionalists will tell you that the more broguing – decorative stitching and perforated and serrated edges – a shoe has, the less dressy it is. But while it’s true that heavily embellished bucks look better with sport jackets and tweed than with pinstripe suits, this rule is flexible.
Dress Shoes for Business or Dressy Occasions
The cap-toe is the dressiest and most popular of all the business shoe styles. It looks best when worn with the more serious suit fabrics and styles. If you get one in brown, wear with navy suit, or an earth-toned suit of olive, brown or tan. Black is fine with all of the serious dark colors of gray and navy but not at all with any of the earth tones. Cordovan is the one color that seems to go with everything except black – and is understood everywhere.
Because of its texture and heft, the wing-tip can be worn successfully with the more textured and heavier fabrics like tweed and flannel. They’re too formal for khakis or jeans, so avoid the mismatch.
The plain-toe is less dressy and more simple. It’s appropriate for all business settings.
The Monk Strap is a European classic which has a buckle on the side. It is most commonly made of calfskin, but brown suede leather is very popular with the man who would like a touch of uniqueness in his dress footwear. The suede leather version is seen as casual and a very elegant alternative to the loafer.
8 Fit Tips for Shoes:
1. Shop after you have been out and about a bit, since feet do swell. This way you will get the most realistic measurement.
2. Shop only at a store that uses a Brannock foot measuring device for determining your exact foot size.
3. Almost everyone has one foot larger than the other, usually it is the right foot; fit the shoes to the larger right foot. Do not rely soley on the size you have always worn. Different makes can vary significantly from each other, even though the numeric size is the same. Always try them both on, walk around in them, and buy them by how they feel on your feet – not just by the size.
4. Allow a half-inch between the tips of your toes and your shoes. If the toes of the shoes are pointed, be certain there is enough room for your toes to move comfortably. Shoes should never be tight over the instep of ball of the foot. You should be able to stick your index finger in the back for wiggle room.
5. When considering an oxford-style shoe, you should not be able to tie the laces so tightly that the two edges of the shoe meet. If you can, then a narrower size is probably better for you.
6. Buy leather shoes. Though more expensive, because it is porous, leather is the best for the health and comfort of your feet. In leather shoes the foot can breathe, discouraging the build-up of bacteria.
7. Shoes should fit from the moment you try them on. Do not accept the salesperson’s, “Once you break them in they will be fine.” The man-made materials used today do not stretch significantly, but leather adapts to your foot shape quite well.
8. When shopping, wear the same type of sock you will use with the dress or sports shoes. Too heavy or too thin socks will distort the fit.
Shoe Care Tips
How to polish shoes: