Four Classic Dress Shoe Styles: The Basics


Classic Dress Shoe Styles Boots

Navigating this task can be intimidating, pricey and difficult. Especially if you are not educated on the variety of shoe's available. You're best route is to stay with the basics. Here are four of the core dress shoe styles. For this piece, we simplified the varieties of dress shoes. For example, we omitted brogues, wingtips and derby shoes and classified them under the general term of Oxfords. 


Traditionally the Oxford shoe is constructed of leather with a relatively low instep, closed lacing and a non-rubber sole. However, the modern Oxford is often constructed from suede or even synthetic materials. Regardless of the fabrication, the Oxford is traditionally quite plain with little to no embellishments. Aside from the more stylish and decorated wingtip. 

Ella Bing Oxford Dress Shoes

Like most dress shoes, the oxford comes in a plethora of colors, the most obvious being black, brown and burgundy. But, today we are seeing more and more color being added to the oxford. On top of color we are seeing textiles being combined. For example, it is not uncommon today, to see an Oxford with both leather and a style of durable fabric, such as a tweed or herringbone. The Oxford is a great all-around dress shoe appropriate for most occasions, from semiformal to contemporary chic. 


The loafer first made its appearance in the first half of the 20th century. What is great about loafers is the fact that they can be worn as dress, casually or as a sport shoe. The most distinguishable characteristic of the loafer is its lack of laces or straps. The loafers are the ultimate slip-on shoe. Alternatives to the loafer is the penny-loafer, moccasin and driving shoe. Pair loafers with dark denim and a blazer for a night out on the town, or go for a more casual vibe and pair them with shorts, with an inseam of 7 to 5". 

Ella Bing Brown Loafers

Dress Boot

Dress boots are slim, ankle-length boots with a slight heel that will fit the foot and heel quite snuggly. Worn only during the Fall and Winter months. Consider the dress boot the brethren to the loafer. The dress boot can be worn as casually or dressy as you please.  

Ella Bing Brown Dress Boot

Monk Strap

Similar to that of the Oxford. The Monk strap is identifiable by its buckled strap and lack of laces. Typically constructed from leather, but much like the Oxford, the modern monk strap is also made from suedes and other synthetic materials. The monk strap is typically reserved for dressy and formal occasions.

 As you can see, sometimes, keeping things simple is the easiest way to go. Having these four pairs of dress shoes at your disposal, will be a key part of building a strong, versatile and timeless wardrobe. But enough about what we think, tell us your thoughts in the comments below.   

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