I love everything about weddings.
The free booze. The inside jokes encrypted into the best-man speech. The knocking over anyone within a 10-foot radius of me as I dash toward the dancefloor when “Uptown Funk” comes on.
And I love that in an era when Men Dressing Nicely has largely gone the way of the dodo, every gent in the room looks buttoned up for a change. Which also poses a problem: How can a guy dress to stand out without going so overboard as to appear as if he is attempting to show up the happy couple?
The answer is simple: shoes. In a room full of men in black tuxes, khaki two-pieces or navy blazers, the one who gets noticed is he who wears the coolest shoes.
So below, we’ve rounded up 10 pairs — as organized by the suits they complement — that will elicit covetous glances and awestruck gasps at every proverbial knot-tying you attend this summer.
The Suit: Tuxedo
When the invitation says “black tie,” opportunities for expression are scarce. If you can afford it, don’t rent: a tux that actually fits is the first barometer for outdressing the competition (we like Indochino for an affordable made-to-measure option). Beyond that, it’s all about the shoes.
Option 1: The Black Leather Wholecut
If you’re going the traditional route, aim for clean and minimal by swapping out your workaday cap-toes for a pair of wholecut oxfords (meaning: they’re culled from a single piece of leather).
Option 2: The Black Velvet Slipper
Feeling a little saucy? Get your Hefner on in a pair of embroidered evening slippers, like this Jolly Roger number from Stubbs and Wootton.
The Suit: Navy
If a man owns one suit, there’s a good chance it’s navy. Which is why non-black-tie weddings tend to be veritable navy-suit summits. If you’re in the market for a new one, try a brighter tone, subtle pattern or double-breasted front for some extra sharpness.
Option 1: The Light Brown Brogue
In a sea of brown shoes, details count. This brogue’s ornate detailing and stark, rich honey tone fit the bill.
Option 2: The Dark Brown Double Monk
Prefer a darker brown? That’s fine, but consider overcompensating for a conservative hue with some texture, which this woven midsole provides in spades.
Option 1: The Brown Horsebit Loafer
Barker Black’s signature horsebit loafers don’t have a horsebit at all — they have bones. They are better than all the other horsebit loafers for this reason.
Option 2: The White Sneaker
Consider this a (slightly) more grown-up version of that whole tux-and-Converse thing, which has been done to death and is frankly a bit gauche. Do mind the red wine, though.
The Suit: Grey
Grey is the chameleon of suiting colors: depending on the hue (we say veer lighter), it’ll pair with just about any color and style of dress shoe a man can own.
Option 1: The Black Penny Loafer
Clean-cut and classic. Just make the sure the man in them matches suit — literally and figuratively.
Option 2: The Oxblood Tassel Loafer
When the answer to “Brown or black?” is “either,” as is the case here, that means there is also a third option in play: oxblood.
The Suit: Linen
Headed to a destination wedding? Leave the wools and cotton-blends at home, and reach instead for sun-friendly linen in an appropriately pastel tone.
Option 1: The Brown Tassel Loafer
Most penny and tassel loafers are too stuffy for the tropics. But this moccasin-style number, with its soft sheepskin lining and breezy low cut, will lend you a dose of beachside panache while still painting you as a man decidedly put-together.
Option 2: The Woven Moccasin
The sand will run through them like a sieve.
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Main image via Paul Evans