If you were to look in your wife’s or female partner’s closet, you’re likely to find many more shoes than you have in your closet. Americans, in particular, are crazy for shoes. The average woman in the U.S. owns 27 pairs (although some surveys say the figure is closer to 39 pairs), nine of which she never wears. In Australia, it’s 20 pairs (five of which she wears regularly) and in the UK it is 21 pairs. Women, it seems, will have no problem coordinating their outfits to their shoes. But the issue of matching shoes to clothing presents more of a problem for men.
Image by: Kevin Morris
Men? They’re just less fixated on footwear. One of the richest men in the world, New York’s Michael Bloomberg, whose personal wealth is valued at £11.2 billion, owns two pairs of shoes. Two. “You do something called resoling and reheeling,” he told the New York Post. “You don’t have to throw them away and get new ones; you can use the old ones.”
But Bloomberg is a bit of an anomaly. The average American man owns 12 pairs of shoes and the men’s magazine of note, Esquire, suggests the average man should have exactly that, a dozen pairs. But the artofmanliness.com website is probably closer to the mark, and suggests that each man has three to four pairs of shoes. Workwear Suppliers UK are likely to have just what a man needs. Men are much more likely to say that they wear shoes until the shoes wear out. And, apparently, if you’re Michael Bloomberg, you simply take them to the cobbler.
However many pairs you own, you need to use them to your advantage at work. The male equivalent to the female must-have requirement, the LBD (little black dress) is the BDS – the black dress shoe. Black may not be the ideal colour to wear with any colour suit, but suffices in a pinch.
Even if a man was blessed with a variety of coloured dress shoes, he’s more likely than not to rely on his partner to help him choose an appropriate colour combination. In Britain, approximately 2.7 million people — mostly men – are colour blind. That’s 4.5-percent of the entire population.
Choosing men’s shoes can become an arduous task because there are so many variables. Our feeling is, if you’re only going to have a minimal number of pairs of shoes, you absolutely need to opt for a very good pair – that means, very well made. There’s no doubt that the shoes that Bloomberg keeps re-soling and re-heeling are quite pricy. Shoes should be comfortable. You’re going to be walking in them all day, nearly every day and you want to be able to focus on work, not the pinching of your feet. Quick tips
- Don’t wear square-toed shoes. Toss ‘em
- Must have a pair of black lace-ups
- These days you can get a dress shoe with both a thick all-leather sole or a well-made rubber one.
- Wingtips never go out of style.
Real Men, Real Style points out that the most common suit colours are navy, medium-to-mid-gray, charcoal, brown and black, and notes that you only need three different colouredshoes to pair with those suits.
Image by: thinkretail
Consider the most basic business formal wear for men: a charcoal gray or navy blue suit with plain black shoes. Some men prefer this easy-to-choose option. It makes their lives easier. But you can “mix-it-up:”
- Navy blue suits can be matched with black, brown or burgundy shoes
- Medium and light gray suits pair well with black, brown or burgundy
- Brown suits should never be paired with black shoes, but work with brown or burgundy shoes. There is a caveat: if the brown colour leather shoe is too close to the brown of the suit, it just looks weird, so choose the burgundy.
- Charcoal grey suits work with black or burgundy shoes, but not brown. Brown shoes with this suit is a big no-no.
- Black shoes may look funereal paired with a black suit, but they don’t go with either brown or burgundy.
Then again, fashion rules are meant to be broken, and if you can do so without upsetting the balance of professionalism in the workplace, all the better.