Which shoe is more formal?

rhz

Active Member with Corp. Privileges

FLMike

Connoisseur
I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I’ve never seen much utility in black bluchers (derbies)......with black being a more formal shoe color and bluchers a less formal shoe style.
 
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Greenshirt

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
For me, it has got to be the no rubber sole black shoes. If possible, find a plain captoe and you are all set.


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Mike Petrik

Honors Member
The McGregor is slightly less formal than the Sanford due to the last and general shape. The rubber soled shoe is least formal notwithstanding less brogueing.

As for black derbies, they serve a purpose for gents who need a shoe appropriate for formal business occasions but whose feet cannot accommodate bals. While all things equal bluchers are less formal than bals, many bluchers are perfectly appropriate for business suits.

But if one is aiming for a less formal shoe, I cannot imagine why one would think of black.
 

richard warren

Senior Member
I first encountered this site a few years ago looking for info about some shoes. I stayed around in a vain and thankless attempt to stop people from giving dubious advice, citing ahistorical “rules,” or making categorical statements with which to clothe what was possibly their personal taste but was more likely a regurgitation of some blog or other. I finally lost interest and hope. Plus I started to sound like a jerk.

I looked again today again seeking info about a particular shoe, and see nothing much has changed.

For what it’s worth, I wore my black long wings today with clothes that are to me casual (black pants and sports coat) and just ordered some plain toe bluchers to wear in a similar way. I tend to wear black shoes with black, blue, or gray pants.

I note that apparently the folks at John Lobb had a use for black Derbies for “really rough wear.”



“Really rough wear” seems to me to indicate a considerable degree of informality.

There is no meaningful difference an quality that might be termed formality among the shoes you posted, except for the rubber soles. They are all intended to be what are called dress shoes but could be worn with anything looks good. In other words, whether they would look right with what you want to wear depends on what you want to wear, not some abstract level of formality.

My own purely personal advice is buy the shoe that pleases you when you look at it.
 

rhz

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I first encountered this site a few years ago looking for info about some shoes. I stayed around in a vain and thankless attempt to stop people from giving dubious advice, citing ahistorical “rules,” or making categorical statements with which to clothe what was possibly their personal taste but was more likely a regurgitation of some blog or other. I finally lost interest and hope. Plus I started to sound like a jerk.

I looked again today again seeking info about a particular shoe, and see nothing much has changed.

For what it’s worth, I wore my black long wings today with clothes that are to me casual (black pants and sports coat) and just ordered some plain toe bluchers to wear in a similar way. I tend to wear black shoes with black, blue, or gray pants.

I note that apparently the folks at John Lobb had a use for black Derbies for “really rough wear.”



“Really rough wear” seems to me to indicate a considerable degree of informality.

There is no meaningful difference an quality that might be termed formality among the shoes you posted, except for the rubber soles. They are all intended to be what are called dress shoes but could be worn with anything looks good. In other words, whether they would look right with what you want to wear depends on what you want to wear, not some abstract level of formality.

My own purely personal advice is buy the shoe that pleases you when you look at it.

Thanks. My goal is to where these shoes with charcoal grey or possibly black chinos or nice jeans together with a casual sportcoat (no tie). Seems like the rubber sole shoe would be most appropriate.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
I'm inclined to agree with member SG 67 in his assessment of equal formality to the shoes being discussed, but, if it were me, I would go with the McGregors. Gawd, I do love a long wing! ;)
 

R.M.B

Starting Member
Another thing to keep in mind is the shape of the shoe. It appears that the ebay shoes have a fuller toe, which I believe is more informal. Can anyone correct me?
 

rhz

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Another thing to keep in mind is the shape of the shoe. It appears that the ebay shoes have a fuller toe, which I believe is more informal. Can anyone correct me?

Thanks. I was wondering the same thing.
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
What makes you say that? I'd like to understand your thinking.

I suppose it would help if I understood your definition of formality.

They are all black Bluchers. None have any particular feature that would add to or detract from formality vs. the other.
 

rhz

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I suppose it would help if I understood your definition of formality.

They are all black Bluchers. None have any particular feature that would add to or detract from formality vs. the other.

Right. I guess I would have assumed that the rubber sole on the cap toes would have made them less formal than the other two shoes.
 

Matt S

Connoisseur
The Sanford and the shoe on eBay are about the same in formality. The rubber soles of the shoes on eBay are fairly thin and don't have lugs, so they're not bringing the formality down much, and less perforations makes the uppers more formal. Ultimately there's very little difference in the two shoes.

The McGregor being a longwing makes the shoe less formal than the other two. Longwings are a step below wingtips, which are a step below the semi-brogues (what the other two shoes are).
 

JBierly

Elite Member
I think there are some "rules" regarding formality which are fairly self evident. In general, closed lacing, less brogueing, and thinner leather soles look more elegant and more "formal." Materials and last matter as well as construction - a storm welt or a rubber sole with lugs detracts much more from the formality of shoe than a thin rubber sole for example. Lined versus unlined, suede, etc... All of these can change the appearance and reflect on the "formality." None of these shoes really stand out - they are all derbies and all black. None of them stand out from a materials or last point of view, other than the rubber soles detract a bit (albeit the upper is perhaps the most "formal"). You could rate them simply on the level of brogueing. Other than for argument sake it's pretty much a push. I wouldn't purchase one over another based on formality - they are too close. Pick the one you like the best.
 

Hebrew Barrister

Senior Member
I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I’ve never seen much utility in black bluchers (derbies)......with black being a more formal shoe color and bluchers a less formal shoe style.

The utility would be for someone with a high instep that's hard to fit. Way easier to get a decent fit in a blucher for a high instep.

They are less formal than a bal oxford, but they're still just fine with a suit for business, especially in black.
 
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