Hands up if you've ever liked a pair of shoes so much you bought it in more than one colour...
Often times it becomes easy to overlook your shoe choice when the rest of your look has already taken a significant amount of time and planning. However, it's important to keep in mind that certain occasions warrant the right type of shoes and can make all the difference in tying your entire look together.
If you're less of a sneakerhead and lean more towards the preppier side of style, you've come to the right place. Today I'll be discussing the 5 pairs of shoes that every gentleman needs. By narrowing your shoe closet down to a staple five pieces, you actually end up saving in the long run because you don't have to keep running back to the stores every time an occasion finds itself in your calendar.
The Classic Oxford
The Oxford shoe is the pair that comes to mind when you think 'formal'. From graduation, to business meetings, to weddings, the Oxford should be your go-to choice because it not only completes your suited look but also compliments it. Suits are not cheap, and your suit is absolutely going to go to waste if you keep pairing it with the wrong shoes. A simple pair of black Oxfords are easy to come by and will go with just about every suit in your wardrobe.
How to distinguish between Oxfords and other shoes: If it has a closed lacing system, it's an Oxford. If not, it's likely a Derby.
The Derby is a great choice because of its versatility. While it's easy to pair with suits, the Derby also works itself seamlessly into a more toned down, semi-formal look. Think sport jacket worn with a button up shirt and jeans - classy without being too casual.
The Derby can also be worn with your everyday work suits. If you're in the market for a more wearable day-to-day shoe, look to the Derby.
The Loafer is likely a pair of shoes that everybody already owns. If not, go get yourself a pair immediately.
Loafers go very well with a whole range of outfits from your suits to shorts to trousers - they are a great way to dress things down. I personally love a good pair of loafers while travelling or on vacation because they allow me to look casual without the shabby, plus they're slip ons which make them perennially comfortable.
The Dress Boot
I think the Dress Boot is a great substitute for your everyday sneaker. It not only elevates an otherwise casual outfit, like simple jeans and a shirt, but also adds a little character to your look. When shopping for your Dress Boot, look for a pair with a leather finish and a thin sole, so you can wear them with a casual suit or even just with your favourite pair of jeans and a button up shirt.
Tip: In my opinion, investing in a leather pair (vs. suede) for your first Dress Boot is a smart option, because it affords you a certain amount of versatility that other materials might not.
The Fifth Pair
The fifth and final way to complete your shoe collection is by repeating a variation of one of the four shoes I mentioned above. Take a cue from the pair you wear the most, and look to purchasing a similar style of shoe in a different colour, design, or fabric/texture. For me personally, the Dress Boot has been my absolute favourite pair in my closet so I decided to make these black Chelsea Boots my fifth pair. They are super comfortable and pair well with most of my closet. If you ask me, the Chelsea Boot is a must-have pair of shoes especially in rainier/inclement weather where you don't want to ruin a nice pair of suede Chukka Boots.
All in all, it's best to heed my advice keeping in mind what you already know about yourself. If you think you'd get way more use out of a second pair of Derby's vs a second pair of Boots, let your fifth piece be a pair of Derby's. Similarly, if you live in a hot country, Boots really might not be a wise choice. It's also great to try and build up a variety of colours in your collection to add some personality to your closet. I really only wear my Oxford's to work, for which reason I've purchased a black pair. The rest of my shoes are in shades of brown, allowing me to keep things classy but not necessarily very formal.
Always keep in mind the long run, purchase quality items that will last you a long time and won't force you to constantly re-buy the same pair of shoes because they've worn out in a matter of months. I personally think the Le Chateau men's footwear section is highly underrated/overlooked, so definitely go give them a peep next time you're at the mall.
This post was written in partnership with and was sponsored by Le Chateau, however, all opinions stated herein are my own.