The London Fashion Week is in full session as I sat to write this piece after which the party heads to Milan – almost the same pattern every year – New York, London, Milan, Paris. In today’s world of ever changing fashion styles, mid-season capsule collections, trends coming and fading, it is great to have an ever reliable core of fashion staple.
You would be thrilled to find how wide ranging the shoes on people’s feet at pop-up-shops or walks at these events. It is a habit of mine because of my trade to look first at a person’s feet before looking up – might be considered rude in certain quarters; but that is just me – I sell shoes. Why do people wear particular shoes for a certain occasion – profession, comfort, style, outfit or that “just bought them and I had to” feeling?
A FIRST AMONGST FORMAL SHOES
In the world of formal men’s shoes, there are certain shoes styles that every other derives it’s inspiration from. They are Monks, Oxfords, Loafers, Derby and Boot. They offer a platform for the shoes worn Monday to Friday from the 5th avenue in New York to Canary Wharf in London and Broad Street in Lagos. The working week offers very little room for experimentation for some of us when it comes to our attire and so we often find ourselves going for the “tried and trusted”
I am not a huge fan of prescription fashion but in these articles, I will be playing the role of shoe Doctor with our footwear wardrobe – offering us an array of styles to complement each day of the working week (and weekend for some of us). Let’s set the ball rolling with Monday. I have set out the article in the same format you will undoubtedly have on social media, forgive the puns.
THE MONK BRIGADE
The Monk style dates back several years and found popularity with monks in Europe because it was more protective than the sandals they normally wore – hence the name. They were hard wearing and long lasting, making them a solid choice for work shoes. The obvious hallmark of a monk strap shoe is its buckle straps. The construction of a monk strap is similar to that of a Derby or Blucher, with the quarters overlapping the upper vamp or tongue of the shoe, but instead of meeting in the middle to be laced the shoe is closed by a buckle and strap.
“If you wore Cortina shoes as a kid then you are not a stranger to buckling up”
If you wore Cortina shoes as a kid then you are not a stranger to buckling up (Cortina’s were famous for junior schools, compulsory style in some cases, which featured perforations on the vamp and sandal-like strap for the uninitiated). Where Cortina shoes reminded you of a Monday morning after the weekend’s fun and having to strap up for school, Monks bring a whole different type of feeling to the start of the week – it says the weekend is over but the fun doesn’t have to stop! GQ declares it, “the dressiest of all men’s shoes” and it is hard to argue with that. Monks used to be reserved for special occasions but that perception has changed in recent years.
“The cool thing now is to treat monks like just another pair of kicks” – Matt Sebra. Double monk straps take it a notch further—not for the sartorial faint hearted. Get it right, though, and you’ll turn twice the heads. I prefer the double strap personally, the military feel it brings to the shoe vamp is something to behold from whatever angle you see them. Some shoes look better on the feet, monks look good everywhere – shop window to shoe wardrobe!!!
SHOW SOME SOCKS!
I will advise showing off a bit of socks when you wear these shoes so the trouser helm has to be a tad shorter than normal. This offers a good break between the outfit and the shoes that shows off the style to good effect. A good pair of Monks will serve as a wardrobe staple for a number of years, so I wouldn’t cut corners when choosing a pair.
Featured is a double strap from the Barker collection available with IGASPOFFICIAL, which features little brogue detail on the toe cap and slightly rounded at the tip, they will work wonders for a suit, be it 3 piece or 2. If you have a special occasion in mind or just love to look stunning at work, these shoes are right up your street. Also available in Antique Calf and Rosewood grain leather.