It seems like every gentlemen owns a pair of Oxford. This all-time classic shoes is a must-have and basic item that goes well with various clothing and always keeps a man a gentleman. As much as it is super common and essential, it is not difficult to tell a pair of Oxford from a bunch of different shoes. Simply put, its signature is its shoelace eyelets tabs which are attached under the vamp – also known as close lacing.
However, there are different variants of Oxford, each of which is specified for different occasions and clothing. This article is going to showcase 4 of the common Oxford types.
1. Plain Oxford
A pair of Plain Oxford is simply made of two joined pieces of leather – the quarter & the vamp. The shoes look great either in patent leather or regular leather. You can easily polish your regular-leather Oxford till it achieves its mirror shine look. This kind of Oxford is elegantly simple – normally comes with black – and perfect for night events.
2. Wholecut Oxford
This type of Oxford is made of a unique piece of leather instead of sewing pieces together. Therefore, Wholecut Oxford looks extremely clean and sleek. However, not all Wholecut Oxford is completely plain. In recent years, shoes tailors has added decorative details on the extended toecap like brogues and the transformation is widely welcomed by Oxford wearers. A pair of black no-brogue Oxford makes you look like a total luxury gentleman in a party while one of brogued Oxford gives you a more flexible and stylish look.
Another variant of Wholecut Oxford is Seamless Wholecut. As it literally is, Seamless Wholecut is made of one thorough piece of leather with no visible seam at all. This type of Oxford is like the unicorn of shoes. Since it has to be made by hand and requires highly meticulous work, it has to be made by hand and experienced shoes tailors.
Wholecut Oxford, in general, is very selective about leather. You get a real Wholecut – the expensive one, or not at all. Because if you buy a cheap thing, chances are the shoes are made from unqualified leather and will soon reveal wrinkles. Wholecut Oxford is naturally expensive for the high quality of leather and hard work it requires.
3. Cap Toe Oxford
This is probably the most common Oxford, especially for the black kinds. This specific shoe has a separate piece of leather for the toecap. The visible seam between the toecap and the rest of shoes makes it look less formal and luxury; therefore, it is normally worn in semi-formal events. However, in every day practice, a pair of Cap Toe Oxford is almost cool for most of business occasions and is the basic daily work wear of business men.
4. Brogue Oxford
As mentioned above, brogue is a decorative detail. The term “brogue” itself originally refers to holes carved out of the shoes to drain off water. However, it only means to decorate nowadays.
Depending on the amount and position of holes, Brouge is again divided into different kinds. Quarter Brouge refers to one with holes carved on the toecap and a Full Brogue (or Wingtip) is a pair of Oxford with holes alongside the shoes from back to front.
With decorative patterns like those, the shoes get to lose a bit of its formality comparing to plain, wholecut or cap toe Oxford. Instead, Brogue wearers enjoy a highly stylish, young and bold look. Therefore, Brogue is also best to go with chinos (khaki) pants or jeans rather than formal trousers. Also, a pair of brown or caramel Brogue speaks the characteristics of its wearer better than a black classic one.