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men’s lifestyle

Now that we have three versatile dress shoes, let’s focus on a few casual options. To me there is almost nothing more perfect than a great pair of loafers. As the name implies, loafers are a casual shoe that can’t be worn with suits. But they still work great for business casual, making them a capable shoe in your wardrobe. There are several loafer styles, but I think the classic penny loafer is your most versatile choice. Other loafers are fine, but they seem too dressy to be worn casually, in my opinion, whereas penny loafers are perfectly at home dressed up or down. And though you may be tempted, avoid putting pennies in your loafers unless you really want to draw attention to your shoes—in which case you better have new pennies and shined, clean shoes! I recommend them in an oxblood or similar color. It’s a red, almost purple, brown that looks gorgeous if done well. And the color matches well with a variety of trousers. My choice is the Lake Forest penny loafer by Allen Edmonds. Price: $395.

>>Lake Forest Penny Loafer by Allen Edmonds Price: $395

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The next shoe on your list should be a great pair of derbies or bluchers. Stylistically, they are almost identical, and with this shoe, you have a wide assortment of colors, finishes, and materials to choose from. This is a very casual shoe that works great with jeans or chinos for those casual events when you still want to look put together. These shoes really can elevate an outfit and make it sing. There is really no wrong choice of derby, and colorful choices in leather or suede can really stand out. But I still prefer a more traditional brown—with a twist. My choice here is the Leo Plain Toe in dune by Grant Stone. These shoes are more of a natural leather color, similar to Horween Leather Company’s natural chromexcel. It’s light brown with great “pull-up” (lighter color variation when the leather stretches). The coloration really catches the eye. These shoes are gorgeous as well as beefy and are really some of the finest shoes I’ve ever seen. Price: $325.

>>Leo Plain Toe Dune by Grant Stone Price: $325

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• My final choice will be your most casual shoe: sneakers. Granted, these have less versatility, but they are still essential. In recent years, sneakers have been elevated beyond just their athletic origins. Now it’s easy to find fashion varieties with leather uppers. Again many colors to choose from, but I am in love with the Brisbanes by Allen Edmonds in walnut. They go with everything and the leather lattice-work on the sides really distinguish itself from other sneakers. Price: $245. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The last bit of advice I would offer is to take care of your shoes by using shoe trees, polishing them, and buying more laces. Shoe trees maintain your shoes’ shape when you’re done wearing them. Polishing is obvious, but essential in keeping your shoes looking new. You can find the right polish by purchasing directly from the shoe’s manufacturer. You can buy laces in a variety of colors, giving you optional flair for a cheap price. And learning lacing techniques won’t hurt either.

>>Brisbanes by Allen Edmonds Price: $245

With all the shoe choices out there, it can be quite daunting knowing what is essential to own. Hopefully this guide helped you level up your shoe game. Take it in stride and walk in style.

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