Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the hospitality and entertainment industries there will certainly be a welcomed return for business functions, formal events and social parties soon. The classic dress shoe may have been replaced by sneakers and slippers during this unprecedented time but there are undoubtedly several dress shoe styles every gentleman should own. Along with tailored suits, the dress shoe is a valuable asset in every gentleman’s wardrobe to provide that razor-sharp look or polished appearance whether it be to attend an upcoming job interview, boardroom meeting, formal gathering or even your wedding day.
The formal dress is a tried and tested classic with a long-running history but which dress shoe style suits you as an individual best? Exploring the different types of formal footwear by Barker requires several factors to be taken into account including the shoe design, materials and fitting. When investing in a Goodyear welted dress shoes for men you want to ensure the lifespan of the chosen shoe is as long as possible, opting for a timeless classic instead of a fashion fad that with not age gracefully with you.
The classic dress shoe is notably the men’s Oxford shoe, a formal silhouette and iconic style, the Oxford is characterised by the closed lacing system and historically dates back to the 1800s. The Oxford shoe derives from the Oxonian, a half-boot with side slits that gained popularity at Oxford University, England and has passed the test of time to remain a footwear staple. Barker offers an extensive range of Oxford shoes that feature in the Handcrafted, London, Professional and BarkerTech collections. The most popular Barker men’s oxford shoes include the Arnold, Burford, Malvern and Winsford shoe styles which are all made in the Barker factory located in Earls Barton, Northampton. The Oxford shoe is generally seen as the most appropriate dress shoe but there is one shoe design dressier and that is the Wholecut, made from a single piece of premium leather with or without a back seam.
The Derby shoe is the Oxford’s counterpart and although it is characterised as a less formal shoe's due to the open lacing system the contemporary Derby shoe is both comfortable and on-trend currently. Several men’s Derby shoes feature in the Country, Creative and Professional collections including the Darlington, Ellon, Nairn and Skye styles.
The brogue is an English classic that can effortlessly be worn formally depending on the design and materials used. The brogue has humble countryside beginnings having been originally worn by Scottish and Irish farmers as an outdoor shoe for removing bog water when crossing wetlands. While the Country brogue is menswear staple many of the modern-day brogues offer a stylish silhouette made from premium calf and high-grade polished leathers. The Professional collection includes the Albert and Alfred traditional dress shoes while the Calvay, Kelmarsh and Westfield brogues are all Country collection classic. The Creative collection offers brogue shoes with imaginative design and is particularly popular with grooms around the world. The Barker Grant, McClean and Valiant Oxford brogue styles are highly recommended by the Barker store team.
A sleek dress shoe that always stands out in the crowd is the iconic Double Monk Strap which features a strap across the vamp with buckle fastening. From the Barker Handcrafted and Professional collections, the Fleet and Tunstall are Goodyear welted Double Monks available in several colourways.
From lace up to buckles, the slip on shoe is a versatile style of dress shoes that works well with suiting but can easily be dressed down. The Caruso, Jevington and Portsmouth classic penny loafers for men and the Clive, Newborough and Studland tassel loafers are highly recommended.
If you’re considering a dress boot no further than the Barker Chelsea boots for men in, particular, the Bedale and Mansfield boots.