Shoes say a lot about your attitude and fashion sensibility (or lack thereof). Here's what to know to find the perfect pair for your moment in the spotlight.The best time to try on shoes is at the end of the day, in case your feet swell.
Your choice of color ranges from black to, well, black, according to fashion experts at Kenneth Cole, Bally, and Allen-Edmonds. That was easy. But now it starts getting trickier. Formal shoes typically should be made of kid leather, calfskin, or patent leather. (If you want a posh look, consider a black velvet Prince Albert slipper with embroidery or your initials across the toe.) For super-formal weddings, the pros recommend patent leather.
Style and Price
You don't want to look back at your wedding pictures and groan about what you wore -- and that includes your shoes -- so stick with classic styles. "Formal shoes are not meant to reflect the trends of the season," says Richard Rosenfeld of Bally Footwear. Whether you choose oxfords in traditional patent leather with fabric piping details or slip-ons with fabric ornamentation, the damage will likely set you back at least a couple hundred bucks. But good shoes are comfortable and durable, and you'll wear them again and again, so the price tag may be well worth it.
There are three main types of tuxedo shoes to pick from. The most formal and elegant is a black patent leather pump -- a vestige of 19th-century court fashion. If you can't stomach the heel, go for some version of the classic lace-up oxford, or opt for a slip-on. You're probably unaccustomed to patent leather slip-ons with ribbon trim, but they'll definitely look cool. A Kenneth Cole spokeswoman assures us that Frank Sinatra wore them to dress up his tux for years. If you prefer lace-ups, go with glossy leather.
There is one formal alternative to patent leather: corduroy suede. These swank black shoes are made of suede but textured like corduroy, and come in slip-on or lace-up styles.
If you don't spring for special tuxedo shoes, your best pair of black business shoes -- shined to perfection -- will do.
You should get your feet measured each time you go shoe shopping. Your feet can change over time as you lose and gain weight, and if you're a runner, for example, your foot can spread out. If you haven't checked your shoe size since you bought dress shoes for the prom, reacquaint yourself with the Brannock device -- that metal slide-rule contraption shoe stores use to measure your feet.
A D width is average for men's shoes. If your foot is narrower or wider, you may be sold a D width anyway, because that's what most stores stock. For the best fit, get your arch length measured as well as your overall foot length. Remember that the best time to try on shoes is at the end of the day, because if your feet are going to swell at all, they will have by then. Better for shoes to be too roomy than too tight.