The Oxford is the archetypal dress shoe, worn for centuries, with a lineage that dates back centuries further. Its closed-lace system and sleek silhouette offers a solid canvas to build an eye-catching ensemble on. This guide offers up a brief history, distinguishing features and contemporary styling of a shoe worn of kings.
The Oxford has a long, if not slightly murky history. Undisputed is its links to Oxford University. By 1830, students grew tired of the standard knee-high (riding) boots, known as the 'Oxonian.'
The 'Oxonion,' was turned into a 'half boot', and by the turn of the 20th century it had been "filed" down to the Oxford shoe we know today.
The Oxford Difference
An Oxford’s most distinguishable characteristic is in its closed-laced system. As shown in the top row below, the eyelet tabs are sewn under the vamp of the shoe.
The open-laced system is more commonly found in shoes. It has the quarters sewn on top of the vamp and the eyelets stitched on top of the quarters (see bottom row below).
The Oxford's closed-laced system, together with its low heel and exposed ankle, gives the shoe a clean, streamlined silhouette.
A black Oxford is a perfect choice for formal occasions, such as weddings, formal dinners, and even black-tie events (if your high-shine game is strong - or stick with patent leather).
You won’t go wrong with a pair of black Oxfords for work. For a slightly less formal feel, try dark brown or Dark Oak Oxfords, which is are versatile colours, and pairs well with many popular suit colours.
Dressing Up, Going Out
Oxfords pair very well with neat casual ensembles, and for semi-formal events. Popular style variations for less formal ensembles include the brown and dark oak cap-toe Oxfords, as well as the the Oxford-Brogue, such as our semi-brogue Oxford.
More versatile than you think, wear Oxfords with denim and leather, chinos and shirt or corduroy and parker, and a lot more in-between. Popular weekend styles include two-tone burnished leather wholecuts, and semi-brogue Oxfords.