3 Dress Shoes Every Gentleman Needs In His 2020 Wardrobe

J.Bradford shoes man holding boot

Choosing the perfect shoe for each occasion can be tough. Monk-straps, Derbies, Oxfords, Brogues, Caps…which shoe is right for you? In this guide we are going to share with you our 6 essential dress shoes that every gentleman should consider to have in their wardrobe in 2020 and heading into 2021. 


1 – The Traditional Oxford

Oxfords are the iconic dress shoe to complete a formal outfit. Whether you’re wearing them to your place of work, or to a formal event, you choosing a standard Oxford in your correct size is a very safe bet. 

What makes an Oxford an Oxford? 

There is a lot of confusion around what an Oxford shoe truly is, and over time the name has changed to be a term for all ‘dress shoes’ – which is, strictly speaking, incorrect. 

Oxford shoes’ unique features

The defining characteristic of the Oxford shoe is the closure mechanism. The part where the eyelets for the laces are, the sides are sewn inside, forming a single piece. This is contrasted with Derby shoes, where the the enclosure is sewn on the outside, allowing the shoe to open more.

When to wear Oxford shoes

If you’re wearing a suit each day, or are attending a formal event, this shoe should have a central place in your wardrobe. Oxford shoes are very smart; a classic look that never goes out of style.

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2 – The Iconic Derby Shoe

Derby shoes are becoming a very popular choice due to their versatility in style and where they can be worn. 

You can find them in very different styles, formal or casual, and colours to fit the personality of your outfit. 

What is a Derby Shoe? 

Better suited to gentleman who have a high instep, the Derby is a dress shoe that is often fabricated in suede for a casual shoe, or leather for a comfortable dress shoe.

The Derby shoes’ unique features

Unlike an Oxford shoe, the Derby has “open lacing” enclosure meaning that the quarters are stitched on top of the vamp, allowing for more space and movement for the foot. 

How to wear Derby shoes

A choice to wear your new set of Derby shoes depends on what look you’re going for. If you’re planning to be wearing a suit, or are attending a formal event, consider wearing a leather Derby. Suede Derby shoes can be worn with chinos or jeans for a smart-casual look for daily wear.

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3 – The Penny Loafer

If there was ever an iconic shoe to portray that iconic ‘prep’ style, it’s got to be the penny loafer. Pennies are a loafer, a slip on shoe, as opposed to a lace up shoe like an Oxford or a Derby, but has some very subtle style additions. 

What is a Penny Loafer?

The Penny Loafer has a strap sewn onto the top of the shoe, which looks like a lip, with a tiny opening that is the perfect size and shape for a small coin – a penny. 

Traditionally you students would carry a penny in their shoe and use in case of emergency – super handy! 

How to wear Penny Loafers

Traditionally worn with a suit in a relaxed setting, these days, the style has been adapted making Penny loafers a perfect year round choice for any gentlemen’s wardrobe. Wear with a suit, chinos, shorts, jeans or trousers to give off a bit of timeless class. 

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