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Casual Shoes & Socks

Semi-Dress Shoes

Nothing pulls an outfit together like a great pair of shoes!  Shoes can make or break an outfit, and are key in reflecting our sense of style.  Shoes say so much about the man and his identity that wearing the right shoes at the right time is crucial.

Whether you’re on a dinner date or hiking the trail, there is shoe etiquette that should be acknowledged and followed.  That being said, this article is about semi-dress shoes; shoes that should be worn with semi-formal or semi-casual clothing, both on the job front and social scene.  Shoes that are a notch above the casual footwear typically seen with jeans, and a step down from the shoe you’d wear to the opera.  If you own a pair of khakis, chinos, or other in-between pants, there should be a pair of semi-dress shoes in your closet… for no matter how put together your outfit is, the wrong shoes say you should have stayed home!

First, let’s talk about “formal or dress” shoes.   Dress shoes are easily identified.  They’re typically shinier than other shoes, have a thin leather sole, and usually lace up with very thin laces; however there are some very dressy slip-ons and boots, as well.  Regardless of the style, dress shoes are shoes to be worn with suits and dress slacks to formal occasions like weddings, funerals, etc., and aren’t the shoes for walking around town in.

So, now that we’ve established what a dress shoe is, let’s talk about semi-dress shoes.  These are all the other shoes you’d wear with more casual attire, excluding athletic shoes and sandals.  Semi-dress shoes can be worn with jeans, but are often reserved for casual pants and attire; anytime you’re in between formal and hang around the house garb.  Business casual, dinner parties, dinner dates, evening wear – whenever the occasion requires you to dress up a bit, pull out the semi-dress shoes.

There are countless styles of semi-dress shoes; some being more casual than others, in all types of leather and colors.  Having at least one pair in black and brown, with matching belts, should safely cover most men’s wardrobe.  However, having an assortment in various colors is even better!

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular styles of semi-dress shoes:

Oxfords:  Once regarded a dress shoe, today’s oxfords come in both dressy and casual styles.  Always a lace-up shoe that sits below the ankle, oxfords come in both leather and non-leather or vegan materials.  There are plain and ornate styles, varying sole and heel heights, several types of sole material (rubber, plastic, leather) and countless colors.  The oxford is a classic shoe, and is adaptable to just about every outfit and wardrobe.

Loafers:  More casual than an oxford, these are shoes which have no laces and slip on the foot.  They are a stylish and fashionable shoe, which complements most outfits.  These, too, come in multiple styles and colors.  As a semi-dress shoe, avoid moccasins and other very casual slip-ons.

Boots:  Boots, any footwear that extends to the ankle and above, also come in semi-dress styles.  Since boots, other than dress boots, can be very casual in style, attention needs to be given when wearing them with a semi-dress outfit.

Shoes, regardless of type, should be carefully selected, since they’re an intricate part of every outfit we wear.  When choosing semi-dress shoes, aim to buy shoes that match as many outfits as possible, in order to maximize their use and your wallet.  Remember to keep these shoes looking fresh and in good condition, especially since they’re worn with dressier attire.

There’s a shoe for every taste and every budget.  Online shoe stores offer incredible selections and prices; however, department stores and men’s shops have great assortments, as well.  Look around and indulge yourself by adding semi-dress shoes to your wardrobe arsenal!

by Aaron Marino

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
Men's Shoes | What Summer Footwear Is Worn with Shorts? -
May 13, 2011
Driving Moccasins | Perfect Men's Casual Shoe Warm weather is when we break out the shorts and frolic in the sunshine. What shoes do you wear with those shorts? For this video, flat-front  khaki short are going to be used for the examples. Summer Footwear Options Flip flop - ultra casual vs. dress, which Alpha displays and discusses each. Make sure you toenails! Fashion sneakers - these aren't uRead More»
Driving Moccasins | Perfect Men's Casual Shoes  -
September 10, 2010
Professional male image consultant, Aaron Marino, talks discusses the perfect pair of men's casual shoes - driving moccasins.  Driving moc's are not only comfortable but stylish all at the same time.  At 1:50 Alpha begins to address driving moccasins when you don't want to go real casual like sneakers or real dressy like dress shoes. It's a leather loafer that's less constructed and rigid than aRead More»

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