Yeah, sure, a man is judged by the shoes he wears, but you already knew that.
Lads, I know you don't need another diatribe about the anti-climax of seeing a well-dressed man kicking around in a cheap pair of tattered plimsolls. To put it in context, it's the sartorial equivalent of seeing Emily Ratajkowski decked out in a bikini — her fit and lithe body running to you from across the beach, raising her arms for an embrace — only to discover she hasn't shaved her armpits. Yup, things just got real.
But let's turn this rationale around: Instead for dressing for others, how about dressing for ourselves? Anchoring an outfit with beautiful shoes should be, first and foremost, about self-respect. You wouldn't put cheap tires on a vintage Corvette would you? Exactly. In the same way, take pride in your appearance and invest in quality footwear that will make you look good and, as a bonus, make you feel great.
To steer you in the right direction, here are the five pairs of shoes you need — yes, need — to buy right now. Think of it as your fail-proof online shopping guide; just click on the images and links below.
Why: White leather kicks are, in want of better phrasing, "so hot right now". Everyone from Ami Paris to Saint Laurent are churning out a covetable pair, but this delicious offering from Common Projects comes with a playful red tab for a hint of colour, and are crafted in Italy from soft nappa leather.
Wear them with: Flat front trousers on Casual Fridays and distressed denim on weekends.
Why: Colin Firth was going on and on about how it's "Oxfords not Brogues" in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, but how about combining both? This svelte hybrid from Church's brings together the best of both worlds: The closed-lacing construction of an Oxford (featuring a traditional cap-toe) with the casual perforated leather detailing of a Brogue (originally created to allow water drainage when crossing wet terrain, but now exists as a purely decorative feature); all held together with a Goodyear-welted sole.
Wear them with: Navy or grey suits for extra personality (but stay away from black due to the shoe's cognac hue) and slim-cut chinos for an elegant take on 'smart casual'.
Why: For their inherent versatility. Featuring elasticised inserts for ease of entry (that came out wrong, but you know what I mean), these black leather Chelseas match elegantly tucked under a tailored pair of trousers or worn brazenly with skin-tight jeans (to get your heart racing...) for a punk-rock vibe. Also, it comes with a lightweight rubber sole for extra traction in wet weather. Score.
Wear them with: As above. Just don't wear them with shorts. Unless you're a member of the Village People. Young man, there's no need to feel down. I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground...
Why: Because I bet my bottom dollar that you already own a pair of traditional lace-ups. Mix things up with this ridiculously good-looking pair of chestnut brown monks created by the crown jewel in the English shoemaking fraternity, John Lobb. Handcrafted in Northamptonshire, they cut a striking profile and will last a lifetime.
Wear them with: Anything and everything. Literally. They're a great way to dress up selvedge denim or a rakish accessory to dress down suits. Pro tip: Leave the top buckle unfastened for an added touch of sprezz.
Why: Well, first, you should already own a pair of Gucci horse-bit leather loafers. If you don't, get them stat. Second, grab yourself a pair of velvet loafers to inject some fun into your day wear (yes, you can wear them outside, and in the daytime) and a good dose of louche attitude into your evening wear. This green pair is made in Italy and features black leather piping with a sophisticated bow.
Wear them with: Light-coloured jeans and a sports jacket in the day; black tuxedo or smoking jacket in the evening.