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brown oxford shoes

If you’re like most men, you probably have a love-hate relationship with shopping. You love finding that perfect pair of jeans or shirt, but hate spending hours in the store.

And when it comes to shoes, well, let’s just say that most men would rather go to the dentist than shoe shopping. But we all know that a good pair of shoes can make or break an outfit. So what’s a guy to do?

Introducing the Men’s Oxford Shoe Buying Guide. In this guide, we’ll take the pain out of shopping for men’s dress shoes. We’ll help you find the perfect pair of Oxfords, no matter your budget or style.

So whether you’re looking for a classic black cap-toe Oxford or something a little more modern, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

The Different Types Of Men’s Oxford Shoes

Infographic Cap-Toe Balmoral Oxfords

From the classic look of men’s Oxford shoes to more modern interpretations, men’s oxford shoes have become a versatile style staple for men all over the world.

The original men’s Oxford style was created in the 19th century and featured closed lacing, meaning that the laces were stitched beneath the vamp (the front of shoe) and pulled through an ‘eyelet’ (small holes at top of the shoe) before being shoelaces.

This design gives men’s Oxford Shoes a polished appearance as well as added comfort and stability.

Whole Cut Oxford Shoes

whole cut oxford shoes

As sleek as you can get – this shoe is cut from a single piece of leather, which makes it pricy. It’s suitable for the most formal occasions in black and sure to draw attention with more casual outfits in brown.

Most dress shoes are made from several pieces of leather stitched together. In a wholecut Oxford dress shoe, the upper (the part visible above the sole when the shoe is worn) is cut from one whole piece.

Apart from the seam at the edge of the shaft (where you put your foot in), they only have a single visible seam at the heel. There are no extra parts like separate vamps or quarters.

In short, men’s Oxfords are forever stylish and timeless. While they can appear a bit too formal for some occasions, if you’re looking for a pair of shoes to wear with a suit and tie – you can’t go wrong with men’s Oxford dress shoes!

Balmoral (Cap-Toe) Oxford Shoes

Balmoral (Cap-Toe) Oxford Shoes

Balmoral Oxford shoes are the most classic form of Oxford dress shoe you could wear. They’re more formal than semi-brogues, and they’ve been around since the late 1800s.

These shoes feature a sleek cap-toe construction with a sophisticated pattern – making them ideal for formal events such as weddings or black-tie occasions.

Plus, they’re typically made with fine leather materials that will ensure you look sharp and stylish wherever you go.

A good pair of Balmoral oxfords can set you back anywhere from $200 to $500, depending on the brand and material used. You can of course pay less or more than this, but for a good quality-to-cost ratio, you should aim to spend within this pricepoint.

Brogue Oxford Shoes

Brogue Oxford Shoes

Now we come to the infamous brogues. Believe it or not, Oxfords can be brogues and vice versa (despite what the Kingsmen might say!)

Allow me to explain.

Brogues are not an individual type of shoe. Rather, they are a type of decoration applied to any footwear, be they Oxfords, dress boots or even sneakers.

They consist of perforations that are cut or punched into the shoe at various points. They serve purely as a decorative addition, but it wasn’t always like that.

Brogues, like so many men’s style classics, originated from Britannia. In Scotland, it was actually a way for people in the lowlands and highlands to traverse marshes and bogs. The perforations served to let water out as soon as you stepped back out of the swamp.

brogue 3
There are different designs for brogues. The more holes there are, the more casual it is.

The different types of brogue designs include:

  • Quarter-brogues: Exactly midway between the classic Oxford and a casual shoe. This design features minimal broguing along the toe cap and seams. It’s only slightly less formal than a regular Oxford.
  • Half-brogues: The perforations along the seams and the cap are more prominent. These are best used with informal wear, as well as tweed and flannel suits.
  • Full-brogue: Also known as “wingtips,” these are as brogued as you can get – and very casual as a result. They traditionally use a more elongated toe box to accentuate the look. Another variation is known as the “longwing” in which the brogues make a complete circuit around the shoe.

How To Choose The Right Size And Fit

Close-up of a person's feet wearing elegant brown leather brogue shoes, complemented by grey trousers and blue socks, standing on a city sidewalk

As with any garment/footwear in a man’s wardrobe, it’s essential to find the right size and fit before purchasing a pair of men’s Oxford shoes.

The goal is to make sure your feet are comfortable and well-supported, so don’t be afraid to size up or down if the fit isn’t quite right.

In brief, your shoe should neither pinch nor gap around the toes, heel, or sides and should allow room for movement and flexibility. Of course, you can always adjust with thicker socks or sole padding to get a personalized fit.

men's shoe size chart
Universal Men’s Shoe Size Chart

When choosing men’s Oxford shoes, also remember that working with a professional salesperson can be helpful since they can assess your foot shape as well as measure your foot correctly!

Just as you would get a tailor to measure you for a suit, it pays to get your feet measured professionally before committing to any shoe purchase!

Indeed, selecting the correct size and fit may take some trial and error—but once you find the perfect pair of men’s Oxfords for maximum comfort and style satisfaction, you’ll never want to go back.

So don’t be intimidated by small details: finding that just-right pair of men’s Oxfords is worth it in the end!

Pro Tip: Just because you think you know your shoe size, doesn’t mean you should skip the measuring stage of buying new men’s Oxford shoes! Every shoe is different and the generic shoe size measurements are exactly that… GENERIC! It’s best to always get your feet measured for the best fit.

The Best Materials For Men’s Oxford Shoes

man making shoes

If you’ve ever shopped for men’s oxford shoes, you know that not all materials are created equal.

There are some that look great but quickly fall apart, while others may last forever but never quite reach the level of sleek sophistication promised in the product description. But what is the secret to finding shoes that combine style and durability?

The answer probably won’t surprise you: it’s all about choosing the right materials for your own personal needs!

Best Upper Material For Men’s Oxford Shoes

quality leather

Leather is often seen as the go-to for oxfords – it’s a classic, durable material that will last for years and never go out of style. Cordovan leather is especially prized—not only does it resist scuffs and aging, but its striking deep tones can quickly elevate any outfit.

For a more modern look, suede or nubuck are also great options. Both are softer and less formal than leather, making them great for casual days or after-work events.

Canvas is excellent for a more casual Oxford shoe worn in the summer, but be warned – it just won’t have the durability of other materials!

Best Sole Material For Men’s Oxford Shoes

leather sole of shoes

The sole of a shoe can have just as much influence over its style and formality levels as the upper material!

Leather soles are generally considered the most formal option, and they tend to be more flexible as well. Leather-soled dress shoes can be worn with chinos and a blazer or a full tux – making them a great option for guys who attend a variety of different events.

Rubber soles are more informal as well as more durable, and they can also provide extra grip on slick surfaces. Typically, rubber soles are far thicker than their leather counterparts. The thicker tread of this style of sole heightens the grip capabilities and makes the overall shoe look far chunkier.

This is both a good and a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. On one hand, a thicker sole can add a modern, fashionable element to an otherwise classic look. On the other hand, they may not be the most suitable choice for formal events.

Finally, if you’re looking for something in between leather and rubber soles, you can opt for synthetic or composite materials. These options strike a great balance between grip and flexibility, making them a good option for guys who want to wear one pair of shoes for multiple different formality levels.

Best Lace Materials For Men’s Oxford Shoes

oxford shoes lacing

Not many guys think about their choice of lace material – but they should, because your choice of laces can have a huge impact on the way your shoes look!

Waxed-leather laces are the most common, and they usually come in dark colours like black or brown. This type of lace is often chosen for its durability as well as its classic style – it’s a timeless look that will never go out of fashion.

Cotton laces are another popular choice, especially when paired with canvas shoes. They’re softer and more flexible than waxed-leather laces, and they come in a wide range of fun colours and patterns that can really make your shoes stand out.

Finally, there are also synthetic laces, which are made from a variety of materials like nylon or polyester. These have the advantage of being extremely durable, but they may not look as stylish as other types of laces.

No matter what your style preferences are, DO NOT opt for flat laces when wearing Oxford shoes. Flat laces are the style you might find on your favorite pair of sneakers – which is fine for casual sportswear. However, when it comes to dress shoes of any formality, flat laces simply will not do.

The Top Brands That Make Men’s Oxford Shoes

When it comes to quality men’s oxford shoes, there are a multitude of brands out there.

From designer labels to classic staples, any man seeking stylish footwear can find something in his price range and aesthetic preferences.

However, some brands rise above the rest when it comes to craftsmanship and style.

Allen Edmonds Men’s Oxford Shoes

allen edmonds oxford shoes

Allen Edmonds is one of the premier names in formal shoe-making, offering classic designs with top-notch construction. They’re a company that has been making shoes since 1922, when Elbert W. Allen started the business in Belgium, Wisconsin.

Since day one, their shoes have been made with quality and wearability in mind – appealing to the man who appreciates luxury but also desires a comfortable, all-day shoe. Allen Edmonds shoes are made in the USA with top-quality materials. The company is known for its attention to detail and construction techniques that result in long-lasting shoes.

In fact, their America-cased production process has 212 different manufacturing steps through 48 pairs of hands – so you know that what you’re buying has had time and effort invested into it.

A standard pair of Allen Edmonds cap-toe Oxfords will set you back around $400 when purchased directly at retail price.

Johnston & Murphy Oxford Shoes

Johnston & Murphy Oxford Shoes

Johnston and Murphy shoes have been around for over 170 years, and in that time, they’ve become one of the most well-known and respected American shoe companies.

Although Johnston and Murphy shoes are not exclusively made in the United States – their HQ is located in Tennessee and they still source their materials from high-quality vendors.

A standard set of Johnston and Murphy shoes will set you back around $150, which is pretty darn reasonable when you consider the brand’s quality heritage and proven reliability.

In fact, the Conard Cap Toe shoe is a classic oxford that features a traditional cap toe design. It’s a shoe that can be dressed up or down, and it would look great with a suit.

Personally, I’d opt for the brogued version of this Oxford. As you guys know by now, brogueing offers more versatility than classic plain oxfords, as you can also wear them with jeans and a jacket.

Oliver Sweeney Oxford Shoes

Oliver Sweeney Oxford Shoes

Oliver Sweeney is a UK-based company that specializes in handmade shoes. Their designs are classic yet stylish, and they use quality materials to create their footwear.

A pair of Oliver Sweeney oxfords will cost you around $400 – but keep in mind that this is for a handcrafted shoe that uses the finest leathers and has been worked on by experts. It’ll last for many years, so in the long run, it’s an investment.

Their shoes also come with a variety of laces and colors – from classic black to burgundy and navy. You can even find some fun patterns for those who want to add some more personality to their shoe game.

How To Care For Your Leather Oxford Shoes

shoe care box

What’s the use in buying a pair of up-market leather Oxfords if you don’t know how to care for them properly? The good news is that caring for your shoes is relatively easy, though it does require some effort on your part.

How To Polish Men’s Oxford Shoes

polished shoes

Polishing is one of the most important steps in caring for your shoes. It helps keep them looking like new, and it’s also an important form of protection from the elements.

To start, you need to make sure that your shoes are clean and free from any dirt or dust. Then, use a quality leather cream polish to cover the shoe in an even layer.

Once the polish is applied, let it sit for a few minutes and then use a horsehair brush to buff it up. Finally, you can add a wax coating if you want extra protection and shine.

Should You Condition Leather Oxford Shoes?

conditioning leather shoes

Conditioning is another important step in caring for your shoes. It helps to restore lost nutrients and moisture to the leather, keeping it soft and supple.

To condition your Oxfords, use a quality leather conditioner. Apply the product with a clean cloth, taking care to cover all of the surfaces evenly. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it off with a soft brush or cloth.

This should be done at least once or twice a year to make sure your leather stays in tip-top condition.

How To Waterproof Leather Oxford Shoes

oxford shoes under the rain

Finally, waterproofing is essential for those who live in wet and rainy climates. Leather shoes can be damaged by water if not properly cared for, so applying a waterproof sealant will help to keep them looking good.

To waterproof your Oxfords, use either a wax or spray-on sealant. Make sure that the leather is clean and dry before you apply the product, and then cover the entire surface – including the seams.

Let it set for a few minutes and then buff it off with a soft brush or cloth. This should be done once a season to make sure your shoes are always properly protected from the elements.

How To Care For Your Suede Oxford Shoes

suede shoes

Suede is different to leather in many ways – especially when it comes to caring for and cleaning your shoes. After all, what works for leather definitely doesn’t work for suede (and vice versa), so it’s essential that you know the different ways to treat and care for each style of fabric.

Should You Polish Suede Oxford Shoes?

The short answer is no – you should never polish suede shoes. This is because the polish can actually clog up the pores of the leather, making it harder for them to breathe and potentially causing long-term damage.

So what can you do to renew the look of your suede Oxford shoes?

Simple. Instead of applying a polish to the surface of the shoe, you should use a suede brush or a dry sponge to brush off any dirt or dust. This will not only help you keep the shoes looking clean and presentable, but it will also help them maintain their natural texture.

Furthermore, if your suede shoes have become stained, you can use a specialized cleaning solution designed for suede fabric. You’ll want to test it on a small area of the shoe first, to ensure that it doesn’t damage the material. Once you’ve applied the cleaning solution, simply use a brush or sponge to gently scrub off any dirt or stains.

Finally, if your shoes are wet, allow them to dry naturally – never put them in direct sunlight or near any type of intense heat source.

Should You Condition Suede Oxford Shoes?

Yes! Conditioning your suede Oxford shoes is essential if you want to keep them looking their best.

The best way to condition your shoes is to use a specialized conditioning cream designed specifically for suede fabric. Apply the cream in an even layer and allow it to sink into the leather before buffing off any excess with a clean cloth.

The conditioning cream will help keep your shoes looking new and vibrant, and it will also protect the material from dirt or water damage.

How To Waterproof Suede Oxford Shoes

suede shoes waterproof

Waterproofing your suede oxfords is always a good idea, especially if you live in an area that sees lots of rain throughout the year. After all, it’s well known that suede and water don’t mix.

The best way to waterproof your shoes is to use a specialized spray designed for this purpose. Simply spray the shoe evenly and allow it to dry naturally – don’t put them in direct sunlight or near any type of intense heat source.

You can also use a specialized conditioning cream that contains a waterproofing agent – this will help protect the material from water damage without affecting its natural texture.

The post Men’s Oxford Shoes – The Ultimate Buying Guide appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio Centeno
Title: Men’s Oxford Shoes – The Ultimate Buying Guide
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Published Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2024 16:47:32 +0000

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The Ultimate Guide to Luxurious Shaving: A Closer Look at Captain Fawcett’s Premier Shaving Gift Set

CF Shaving Gift Set 9265 1024x1024 1

In the world of men’s grooming, shaving is more than just a daily ritual; it’s an art form that demands the finest tools and products to achieve perfection. Captain Fawcett, a brand renowned for its commitment to traditional grooming excellence, offers two remarkable shaving gift sets that cater to the discerning gentleman: the Faux Shave Brush, Razor & Soap Gift Set. Let’s dive into what makes these set exceptional and why they should be a staple in every man’s grooming arsenal.

CF Shaving Gift Set 9265 1024x1024 2

The Faux Shave Brush, Razor & Soap Gift Set

Elegance and Simplicity in One Package

For those who seek elegance and simplicity in their shaving routine, the Faux Shave Brush, Razor & Soap Gift Set is an outstanding choice. This set encapsulates the essentials of a refined shaving experience, presented in a stylish and practical manner.

CF Shaving Gift Set 9257 1024x1024 1

What’s Inside:

  1. Razor – This set features a sleek, modern razor designed for ease of use and superior performance. Its balanced weight and ergonomic design make it a pleasure to handle, ensuring a close, comfortable shave every time.
  2. Shaving Brush – The faux shave brush included in this set is crafted with synthetic bristles that offer the softness and performance of natural hair without compromising on durability. Its design ensures a rich lather and gentle application, enhancing the shaving experience.
  3. Shaving Soap – The shaving soap in this set is carefully formulated to create a thick, luxurious lather. It softens the beard and protects the skin, facilitating a smooth, irritation-free shave. The soap’s subtle fragrance adds a touch of sophistication to your morning routine.

Why Choose the Faux Shave Brush, Razor & Soap Gift Set?

This set is ideal for the gentleman who appreciates a no-nonsense approach to grooming without sacrificing quality and style. It provides all the essentials needed for a superior shave, packaged in a way that exudes elegance and simplicity.


The Faux Shave Brush, Razor & Soap Gift Set from Captain Fawcett is exceptional choices for anyone looking to elevate their shaving experience. Whether you are drawn to the rich tradition of Italian barbering or prefer a straightforward, elegant approach to grooming, these sets offer the perfect blend of quality, craftsmanship, and luxury. Treat yourself or the special man in your life to the gift of a superior shave, and transform a daily routine into a moment of indulgence and sophistication.

Shop the collection here.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Luxurious Shaving: A Closer Look at Captain Fawcett’s Premier Shaving Gift Set first appeared on Mens Fashion Magazine.

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Title: The Ultimate Guide to Luxurious Shaving: A Closer Look at Captain Fawcett’s Premier Shaving Gift Set
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Published Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2024 12:13:41 +0000

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Ultimate Rainwear Guide: How Stylish Men Stay Dry

man wearing a long and dramatic tan trench coat over a green tweed suit and tall brown rubber rain boots holding an elegant wood handled umbrella 1

man wearing a long and dramatic tan trench coat over a green tweed suit and tall brown rubber rain boots, holding an elegant wood-handled umbrella

One of the more challenging aspects of curating good style is what to do when the weather takes a downturn and the skies begin to downpour.

It’s all very well and good to have a good outfit, but what’s the use if you get caught in the rain and end up looking like something the cat dragged in?

Let’s be real for a second. Your Maison Margiela GATs may be nice, but they’re a lot less impressive if you get them (and the rest of your fit) absolutely soaked.

Thankfully, a man needn’t venture forth into the storm unprepared. As luck would have it, there are plenty of options to stay dry. The ingenuity of some rainwear may present itself through its utilitarianism, purely serving a functional purpose to protect the real clothing underneath. Other times, rainwear can be just as stylish and statement-worthy all on its own.

From good, sturdy rain boots to elegant umbrellas, there’s a whole world of options to keep you dry. The best kind of gentleman is one who is always prepared.

The following guide delves into the stuff of sailors to tasteful pieces worn by aristocrats. All of it though, will thwart the rain the way it ought to.

From the Boots on Up

dark green rubber rain boots in a puddle

When it’s storming out, your choice of footwear can truly make or break the rest of your day. After all, there’s hardly anything worse than soggy socks. But luckily, you’ve got what to choose from here.

While there do exist waterproof leather shoes and water resistant sneakers, sometimes, your best option is going to be a good pair of rain boots.

There are several major variations of rainboot, differing in materials, height, and general aesthetics.

L.L. Bean Boots

L.L. Bean Boots

Also frequently and more generically referred to as “duck boots”, these boots are an American classic with a slightly rugged, casual appeal, though they can be paired with smart casual styles to great effect, especially if you’re trying to capture the aesthetic of the American northeast.

Constructed from a contrasting rubber sole stitched onto a supple leather upper, L.L. Bean Boots are admittedly a bit of a “Frankenshoe,” though their character is undeniably charming. They’ve retained their original design since 1912. Sewn in their origin state of Maine, these embody the spirit of New England life and look great with anything from jeans, to khakis, to corduroys. They’re affordable too, running only a bit over $100 for their signature pair.

2. Rubber Chelsea Boots

Rubber Chelsea Boots

Another smart option, these tend to lean a bit more sophisticated in their simplicity. Easy to pull on and off with tabs typically affixed to the uppers, chelsea boots work with nearly every type of outfit combination. Heck, you can even pair them with a suit. Consider brands like Totes, Barbour, Hunter, Sperry, and Blundstone.

3. Tall Rain Boots

Tall Rain Boots

As their name suggests, these are the tallest type of rain boots you can buy without getting into wader territory. Typically made from rubber, these will keep you dry in almost anything, even during periods of flooding.

To get the most out of these it’s recommended that you tuck your pants into them to stay fully dry. Available from iconic brands like Hunter, Burberry, and Barbour, these are the most effective rain boots around. Even British royalty has been known to make use of these.

Pertaining to Pants

Before we move on to raincoats, the arguably most important rainwear component, we wanted to take a moment to make a note on pants. Particularly, what kinds are best for rainy weather, and which kinds of pants to avoid.

For the most part, you want something that can get a bit wet without soaking through. These will usually be thicker, more tightly-woven fabrics. Heavier jeans will usually do the job, but corduroy pants aren’t a bad bet either. Try to avoid thin, loosely-knit fabric pants in the rain, like some types of chinos and especially linen.

man wearing brown corduroy pants with rubber rain boots and a rain parka jacket

Ultimately though, this part isn’t necessarily the biggest deal, since a good rainwear outfit will almost certainly include a quality raincoat.

Picking a Proper Raincoat

This part is easier said than done. At first glance, there appear to be a myriad of options for protective rain garments. But not all of these are created equal, and some will earn you more style points than others. We’re here to guide you in the right direction – so listen up!

Trench Coats

Double Breasted Cotton Gabardine Trench Coat

Some more modern iterations have tried to cut down on the length for the sake of trends, but try to avoid these. The classic length should at least hit your knees, if not even longer.

Shorter trenches are a bit of a misfire because they feel somewhat neutered, like the coat is ashamed to be what it is.

A longer length isn’t just more effective due to coverage – it looks better, too! Worn open or closed, a long trench coat packs a ton of drama.

Some trench coats include removable linings that add a bit of warmth. While they rarely work as a true winter coat, with and without a good insulating lining, trenches can be used for three out the four seasons in a typical year.

man in trench coat standing under the rain

Classic colors like khaki/tan, black, olive, and navy go with most colors, and are just as good casually as it is with a suit.

You can find plenty available second-hand on marketplaces like eBay, but there’s nothing wrong with buying new if you can afford it. Brands like Burberry, London Fog, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, Armani, and others are great places to look in both new and more affordable second-hand markets.

Parkas and Field Jackets

Men's Casual Jacket

While trench coats can work casually, sometimes you want something a bit more contemporary – and warm.

A good water resistant field jacket will keep you dry, while the insulation provided by a parka jacket will keep you dry and warm. Almost all parkas have a hood, as do some field jackets. Brands like L.L. Bean, Patagonia, and Brooks Brothers all carry good options.

Waxed Jackets

Barbour Ashby Wax Jacket in Olive

Arguably one of the finest pieces you can add to any smart casual ensemble, a quality waxed jacket is also an incredibly versatile piece of rainwear. The most famous one in particular comes courtesy of British brand Barbour, known for their iconic design and practicality.

They aren’t the cheapest, and there are more affordable brands for a decent waxed jacket, but Barbour models are a worthy investment to make. Most familiar in shades of brown or olive with a contrasting corduroy collar, the waxed texture of these jackets repels rainwater and keeps the wearer nice and dry.

Mac Jackets

Mac Jacket

A close cousin to the trench coat but without the double-breasted (and often belted) enclosure, mac or “macintosh” jackets are a simpler take on the raincoat, and often run a bit shorter, as well, typically ending around the knee or lower thighs.

They’re somewhat similar to the “car coat,” a type of overcoat named so due to its ease of use getting in and out of a vehicle. Classic and contemporary, you can’t go wrong with a mac.

Pack an Umbrella

Black Umbrella

Lastly, you shouldn’t overlook an umbrella! It seems that some fellas don’t want to bother with umbrellas at times because they believe they’re seen as a bit “fussy.” And truth be told, a bad umbrella will be fussy, especially as it blows around in the wind and collapses in on itself, leaving you drenched.

But a quality umbrella can make a major difference. We’re not introducing anything radical here – umbrellas work, obviously. But investing in a quality one is well worth your while. There are also umbrellas featuring luxurious materials such as finely crafted wooden handles, such as various models available from brands like Church’s and Burberry.

However, size can matter, too! A skimpy, wimpy little umbrella may be convenient if it fits in your bag, but a proper, generously sized umbrella will keep you and a potential date dry in the stories of conditions. Don’t underestimate the gentleman points you can score with the right one.

Stay Dry, Fellas

From good boots to fashionable raincoats, having the right equipment for the rain almost eliminates the restrictions that bad weather can impose. You’ll never be underprepared or underdressed, and knowing how to get suited up properly for rainy conditions is something of a minor life skill, if you ask us. No one wants to show up somewhere looking like a wet dog. So don’t!

Get yourself some proper rainwear. And stay dry, fellas.

The post Ultimate Rainwear Guide: How Stylish Men Stay Dry appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio Centeno
Title: Ultimate Rainwear Guide: How Stylish Men Stay Dry
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Published Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2024 16:32:26 +0000

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Common Mistakes Guys Make in Black Tie Attire

Man wearing a black tuxedo with a white pleated tuxedo shirt and a black bow 1

Man wearing a black tuxedo with a white pleated tuxedo shirt and a black bow tie

For most people, “black tie” is pretty much the most formal dress code there is. While technically surpassed by white tie, black tie attire is the more common, modern pinnacle of formal wear that the majority of people will actually experience on some occasions throughout their lifetime.

Whether for formal weddings, lavish galas, or opening night at the opera, black tie is all about following a fairly strict set of rules and adhering to a uniform look – and much less about standing out from a crowd. When an event calls for black tie, you want to fit in, and that means getting all the little details just so.

Unfortunately, as formal wear inches toward a more casual direction, some guys frequently make a number of common mistakes when putting together their black tie ensemble.

While some of these might seem a bit nit-picky, proper attention to detail is a fundamental principle of black tie attire. So, it’s important to be aware of common missteps one can make while ascending the black tie ladder.

Mistake #1: Wearing a Black Necktie Instead of a Bow Tie

man wearing a black silk necktie instead of a proper bow tie with a black tuxedo

You’d be surprised at how often this one occurs! For some guys who may be less familiar with the true definition of black tie, or even for those trying to somewhat “modernize” their outfit, this is one mistake to avoid at all costs.

While a black necktie is certainly a black tie in the most literal sense, the black tie dress code strictly calls for a black bow tie – made from the same silk-satin materials as the lapels of one’s tuxedo, that is.

You can’t simply swap one out for the other. We get it – you’re afraid that a bow tie will make you look dorky. But given the context of a proper black tie outfit, we assure you that the result is anything but. It looks smart, put-together, and signals that you understand and appreciate the rich history of menswear.

Just put a bow on it. And save the black necktie for funerals.

Mistake #2: Using a Black Suit as a Stand-in for a Tuxedo

man wearing a plain black suit with regular non-satin lapels with a black bow tie

This is arguably the most egregious fashion sin on this rather long list of other fashion sins, but it cannot be understated enough – do not do this under any circumstances! We have your best interests at heart here, truly.

So, you got an invite to a black tie event, but you don’t own a tux. Ah well, you think to yourself, my plain black suit should work just fine.

While we understand that not everyone will just have a tuxedo on stand-by, waiting for them in their closet, to the discerning eye, you’ll unfortunately just look out of place if you attempt this. A proper tux differs from a regular black suit in a few fairly distinctive ways, and it’ll just look off.

Mistake #3: Mind Your Waist

man wearing a black tuxedo with the jacket worn open and without a waistband or waistcoat

According to the black tie dress code, the waistline of one’s pants should never be exposed. Traditionally, men don an additional low-cut waistcoat or vest, or, more commonly, a silk-satin waist sash known as a cummerbund.

In recent years, more and more men have been neglecting this rule, and the results are somewhat unappealing.

The visual and aesthetic purpose of a waist covering is that it elongates the legs and lower torso, while preventing the white of one’s shirt from peeking out below the jacket’s buttoning point. Overall, it contributes to a cleaner, sleeker look.

Some men are a bit intimidated by the inclusion of a waistcoat or cummerbund, as they fear it will make them look old-fashioned. And while to some aesthetic tastes, that very well might be the case – that’s kind of the whole point of black tie attire. It’s about tradition!

Don’t disrupt the flow. Follow this rule, and you’ll look ten times better.

The only possible exception comes about when concerning a double-breasted tuxedo, which many feel renders a waist covering somewhat redundant.

However, if you’re accustomed to unbuttoning your double-breasted jacket while sitting, some believe it is then once again appropriate, even suggested, that you wear a waist covering.

Mistake #4: Thrown for a Loop

man wearing tuxedo pants with a satin stripe down the side, with belt loops and a belt

Some men have the privilege of designing for themselves a custom tuxedo, and while this presents many exciting possibilities and will likely ensure a great fit, it’s important to be aware of what kind of details you ought to leave off the tux.

A good tailor will suggest otherwise if you ask for them, but there do exist custom tuxedos that for some reason, have belt loops on the waistband of the pants.

For pretty much any other attire, these are an aesthetic and/or functional choice, but tux pants are traditionally held in place by either side-tab adjusters or suspenders – and often already have the necessary buttons sewn within.

Perhaps even worse than neglecting to wear a cummerbund or waistcoat is by breaking up the sleek harmony between the pants and the jacket with a belt. Be warned!

Mistake #5: Picking the Right Shoes

pair of black derby shoes next to a pair of shiny patent leather oxford shoes

While you certainly have options to choose from regarding proper black tie footwear, don’t just settle for any old black shoe. Often, men will just assume that their existing pair of black “dress” shoes are good enough to go with their tux, but sometimes, they’re a bit misinformed.

As a rule, try to avoid black derbies. While you’ve got the color right, a derby style shoe is considered relatively casual and contrasts too strongly with the formality of a tuxedo.

Instead, opt for either black oxford shoes or opera pumps.

For the former, the simpler, the better. Avoid wingtip oxfords, and certainly types with excessive detailing, such as brogues. A cap-toe is also considered to be a casualizing detail, though you theoretically could get away with it so long as the shoe is a true closed-lace oxford (though this isn’t really recommended).

Opera pumps are a sort of dress loafer/slipper hybrid, and another valid choice for black tie.

Looking to go all-in? Consider oxfords or opera pumps in patent leather, a type of high-sheen gloss finish that truly sparkles and is iconic to black tie attire.

Mistake #6: Shirking Proper Shirts

man wearing a plain white dress shirt with a bow tie and with a tuxedo  next to a man wearing a tuxedo with a proper pleated front white shirt with a bow tie

When selecting the right shirt to go with your outfit, don’t assume that any old white dress shirt will do. In fact, traditional, proper tuxedo dress shirts differ in a few ways, and even come in a few variations.

For one, they will typically feature either a pique bib or pleated front, and the top few buttons are ideally fastened with a set of shirt studs (also known as tuxedo studs).

Additionally, a proper formal shirt will always include french cuffs, to be fastened with a pair of cufflinks. It is common practice for these to be part of a matching set along with the studs, but not required, necessarily.

Lastly, pay attention to the collar. The most contemporary option is a typical spread collar, ideal for the width of a bow tie. However, some opt for a wing collar shirt, which stands up along the neck and features two “wings” that stick up in front, to be tucked behind your bow tie.

So, you’ve got options to play with. But don’t just settle for a generic white dress shirt. Get it right, and it’ll make a world of difference.

Mistake #7: Knot Quite!

clip-on black bow tie

Look, we get it. Tying a bow tie isn’t the easiest for some people, especially if you haven’t done it before. And the plethora of perfectly nice-looking pre-tied options you can find online might look tempting! But that’s just the thing. They might be a bit too perfect.

See, most pre-tied bow ties, whether the kind you fasten from behind, or their far more egregious cousin, the dreaded clip-on, feature a knot that looks too damn immaculate and hardly ever shifts.

While you might like the sound of that, the pre-tied knot’s perfection is also its downfall. It just gives it away and ends up having the opposite effect. Instead of looking sharp, it can look a bit silly.

There’s something to be said about the raw authenticity of a well-tied, but not-quite symmetrical knot, doone by hand. You should aim to get it looking as neat as you can – but never quite perfect. That’s the magic, and why it’s worthwhile to learn and practice tying your own bow tie.

Stay Sharp

black tie attire clothing items

If you can manage to avoid these pitfalls, and follow the rules, there’s no doubt in our mind that you’ll look absolutely great at your next black tie event.

While much of fashion is about experimentation and flashy expression, it’s important to understand the purpose of black tie – that is, to respect a certain level of decorum and uniform.

That doesn’t mean you can’t look great while doing it, though. On the contrary! Stick to the script, make some informed decisions, and your black tie outfit will truly shine in the night.

The post Common Mistakes Guys Make in Black Tie Attire appeared first on Real Men Real Style.

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By: Antonio Centeno
Title: Common Mistakes Guys Make in Black Tie Attire
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Published Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2024 15:36:07 +0000

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