Look the business – What shoes to wear for work

Looking the business …There’s an important meeting looming and you’re considering how best to present yourself. It may be a departmental strategy meeting, job interview, AGM, the list is endless … Though what shoes should you wear? How each of us approach such a conundrum is entirely personal and with so many variables it is nigh on impossible to come up with a one-size fits all solution. With that in mind there are important considerations that I lay great store by, namely I don’t dress to stand out and I pay attention to the details.

If we take the ubiquitous blue suit, in a charming not too dark shade, as a starting point we can approach the task in hand with some confidence. Firstly, white shirt or blue, plain or striped? More formal means white often for me particularly if I want to wear a plain dark blue tie. Blue shirt often works to dial it down and a stripe can go either way depending on the subtlety … Neckties and pocket squares are personal though I like not to stand out for what I wear more imperceptibly for looking right. A folded white linen square often holds the day as does a simple regimental stripe tie, in fact a soporific choice of neckwear looks quite dashing indeed.

With attention to detail high on the agenda what hosiery are we pairing with our footwear? I will occasionally marry a sock colour to pick up an accent somewhere though I typically stay away from bright colours in this environment. I’ll go different though not too different. With all this good stuff going on it can be ruined in an instant when you don those deck-shoes. I know, of course you wouldn’t …

Black is a great choice naturally, the right brown works well as does a dark burgundy for three staple shoe choices covering every business base you’ll encounter. So, and in no particular order, how about ‘no brown in town’? For business, for me it will be a dark brown. A polished toe-cap Westbourne (Crockett & Jones) will work perfectly, it’s an oxford shoe with a punched toe cap ripe for a mirror shine. If you’re looking for a contemporary take on a classic full brogue how about the Inverness (Edward Green)? Mine are on the 888 last in dark oak, always a favourite.

Now, some may rail at the suggestion of a Derby shoe for business wear though faced with the Dover in Nightshade … This Norwegian aproned Derby has long been an Edward Green icon. Each pair is hand-sewn with a boar’s bristle needle, which has to be a talking point while the Finance guy struggles with his Powerpoint presentation! Should the colour work, though you want to go more traditional, how about the Towcester from John Lobb? Classic English styling with a fabulous medallion.

Talking of traditional that should of course bring us finally to the black shoe. I spent most of my formative years in a pair of black shoes. Typically bought big, allowing me some growing room, little polished and scuffed from playground Cup Finals! Little wonder then that given independent means I didn’t buy black for quite sometime, how that changed. Well maintained classic English black shoes are a sight to behold. They’re memorable to others simply because they’re right, not fancy, not staid just imperceptibly right. The Alfred Sargent Oxford offers a more contemporary last, the J Fitzpatrick Redmond offers a black Oxford with a discerning brogue detail and the classic Connaught by Crockett & Jones goes full on with the 236 Last, the most traditional Crockett & Jones last for formal business Oxfords.The choices before us are endless … Yes there are rules, however, some are more important than others, namely I don ’ t dress to stand out and I pay attention to the details. The rest takes care of itself …

Best, ​Cleav (@ignoreatyourperil) 

Thanks to Nigel Cleaver who writes for Crockett & Jones. You can follow him on instagram @ignoreatyourperil