The Staple Dress Shoes – Oxfords & Brogues

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With varying styles and colour, there are so, so many shoes out in the market now. Though it’s always good to have choices, doesn’t that get frustrating sometimes? Apart from choosing a pair of shoes that fit your feet, the majority of us want to look good too.

What should we wear for a black tie event? Or a business seminar when we want to impress?

Furthermore, busy mornings mean we don’t always have the luxury of time to ponder too long about what pair of shoes ought to go with what we’re wearing today.

Today, I’ll share my personal favourites – the staple dress shoes that I trust can complete a formal outfit.

The first pair is the leather oxford.

The most distinguishable feature of oxfords is the closed lacing system, which gives it a smart appearance suited for formal attires. All men should wear laced-ups rather than slip-ons for formal occasions.

Every man should own this classic and timeless staple. The oxford is a dressy shoe – this is a pair of shoes that you can pull out for any formal event. If I may suggest, do consider a pair of black oxfords. This is a pair that you can wear for your job interviews, weddings, black-tie events, funerals and business meetings.

We all know shoes speak louder than words; your shoes can complete an outfit and broadcast your personality as well. For those who just stepped in the working world, this is the pair of shoes for you. Men who wear oxfords give off the impression that they care about authority and are serious about their work. Oh yes, remember to shine your shoes, this shows you’re someone who pays attention to detail.

If you’re feeling generous with yourself or you’re looking for a fancy pair of dress shoes, you can consider bespoke shoes from Church’s, John Lobb or Johnston & Murphy’s. That pair of shoes will be the jewel of your shoe collection, which makes it perfect when you’re dressed to impress.


Then, we have the leather brogue.

What is a Brogue?

In fact, any shoe with perforations is considered a brogue – be it an oxford, derby or monk.

The origin of modern brogues can be traced back to Ireland; these shoes were made with perforations which allowed water to drain through as one crosses wet terrain. The Brogue is a style of shoes with decorative patterns along the shoes’ visible edges. The brogueing gives the shoe character which makes this style popular amongst modern men.

If you’re working in the creative industry, this is a pair of shoes for you to consider. Brogues are less formal than oxfords and you can wear them with suits or even jeans, which makes this a pair of shoes suitable for casual interviews. Leather brogues in browns work well with almost everyone’s wardrobes and allow the details on the shoes to stand out as well.

You can decide on the image you want to portray, how formal or relaxed, depending on the material of the shoes. A pair of shoes made out of box calf leather is a more dressed up option whilst a pair that’s made out of scotch grain leather will give off a more relaxed look.

So I’ve mentioned my staple dress shoes that keep me covered from work to black tie events.  How about you guys? What are your staples?

Next week, we’ll be talking about our staple slip-ons so stay tuned for that!

Waterproof your shoes

Hi everyone,

Today we’ll touch on something that many of you may be interested in, being in a country like Singapore where there’s both rain and shine.

We’ve already established that if not properly managed, water can damage leather and shorten the lifespan of your shoes. Thus, it is important to perform these steps so your shoes get a layer of protection. Do note though, it does not mean your shoes are waterproof nor will it keep water from entering your shoes because there will always be gaps in a pair of shoes. What these waterproof sprays do is to prevent the leather material in your shoes from absorbing the moisture.

If you want to know how to use waterproofing spray, check out this video

It is important to ensure you get the spray that is safe to use on your shoe material – are your shoes made of smooth grain leather, nubuck or suede? You’ll have to purchase the waterproof spray catered to each specific material. An additional thing to keep in mind when you purchase waterproof sprays would be the expiry date. It’s best to purchase a spray that is at least 6 months away from the expiry date.

The waterproof spray should leave a water-repellent coating on suede or leather.  After spraying the formula, give the shoes time to dry completely.

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The following step is important, especially if your shoes aren’t black in colour.

I’m sure you wouldn’t want to alter the appearance of your shoes. Some waterproof sprays make bold claims that it doesn’t affect or change the colour of your shoes, but it’s not always the case. Hence, always test the product first by applying a small amount of product at an inconspicuous area of the shoe to see if it alters the appearance of the shoes.

These steps may seem burdensome but they really aren’t too difficult, especially since you’ve already invested in a fine pair of shoes.  How about going the extra mile to protect them from water damage?

Title: Shoe Care Guide Part 1

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Hello everyone,

Upon deciding to purchase a pair of leather shoes, I’m sure of many of you expect them to be durable and last you a long time.

Well, that’s half true.

A pair of leather shoes can go far but that’s provided you know how to take care of them. Today, we’ll share some tips on shoe care.

  • We all have that trusty pair of shoes, that’s comfortable and goes with just about everything in our wardrobe. Still, what you should do is to wear that pair on alternate days. This gives the shoes ample time to air and dry out, so the leather lasts longer. That aside, I’m sure you wouldn’t want your shoes to stink, right?


  • Consider using a shoetree. A shoetree is a block in the shape of a foot that helps keep the shape of your shoes intact. Above all, it prevents creasing and can dry out the lining of shoes, so they don’t rot. Shoetrees are worthy investments, they won’t cost as much as a pair of new shoes and you can use it over and over again.

Always, always keep your leather shoes in an area that’s clean and dry. I can’t reiterate this enough.

Leather is very much like your skin – it has to be cleaned, moisturised and touched up with so they can look good. You’ll need a few tools to do this.


  • Shoe Shine Sponge

A shoe shine sponge is a sponge that conditions and protects leather material. It’s quick and easy to use and gives the shoes a bright and long-lasting shine. It is ideal for shoes which do not require a full polish.

  • Shoe Brush

To keep your shoes clean and free of dust, it’s best to have a shoe-specific brush.  Shoe brushes are usually made from horsehair; it doesn’t scratch the leather yet stiff enough to remove debris perfectly.

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  • Leather Shoe Cream

This is ideal for black smooth leather, it is used to moisturise and restore the appearance of leather material. It is advisable to test the shoe cream on an inconspicuous area before general application.

  • Neutral Shoe Cream

Like the leather shoe cream, it maintains the leather and shine. However, the difference between this and leather shoe cream is that neutral is used on shoes of any colour while leather cream is used only for black shoes.

If you want your leather shoes to look good, it is essential that you go through the steps to take care of them. Apart from how your shoes will look, these steps help extend the lifespan of leather shoes.

Shoe Material Guide


Hello everyone,

As we briefly talked about in the previous post, we’ll talk about the shoe material guide today. Most shoe brands would include this chart, which tells you what your shoes are made out of.

Don’t understand what these symbols mean?


Let’s start with sections of the shoes.


This symbol represents the upper part, which is also the most visible part of the shoe.


This symbol represents the lining and inner sole, the material used for the interior of the shoe.

Now that we’re done with the sections, let’s talk about materials.


This symbol tells you that this shoe is made of leather, from the skin and hide of an animal. There are various kinds of leather, such as suede and nubuck. For a shoe to be considered made from genuine leather, 80% of the shoe has to be made from leather.


Microfiber Leather  possesses all the good qualities of real leather. It is lightweight, waterproof, breathable, scratch-resistant and also eco-friendly. For vegans and eco-friendly consumers, this symbol is what you should keep a lookout for.


This symbol tells you other materials were used to make this pair of shoes. This includes man-made materials such as PU leather, rubber compounds.

Polyurethane (PU) Leather is commonly referred to as artificial leather. It is split leather that was covered with a PU coating. PU leather is cheaper with a nice finish; however it is not as durable or as strong as full-grain leather.

In order to make right choices, you got to understand the label for materials. I hope this guide has helped you to understand the shoe material guide that you may see on your shoe boxes so we can all make the best shoe choices!

What to ask the salespeople.

So guys, apart from asking them for the shoe size you want and the payment process, how many of us actually interact with the sales staff whenever we enter a store?

Not many of us right?

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Don’t just rely on yourself, ask the salespeople in the store, let them help you. A trustworthy shoe store will have knowledgeable sales assistants to answer questions. Try to be specific with your questions.


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“Which pair of shoes would you recommend me?

A good salesperson will make recommendations based on your needs and what you look for in a pair of shoes. Aesthetics and design aside, the salesperson should take into consideration if the shoes fit you.

“Typically, how long can this pair of shoes last?”

By right, a decent pair of leather shoes should last you at least 1.5 to 2 years.  However, it all really depends on the individual wearing it. The lifespan per pair shoes varies depending on the user, for example, how you walk, how you wear, and your daily walking conditions. Of course, this includes proper maintenance and care on your part.  Logically, a more expensive shoe should last longer than a cheap one but if you don’t treat it right, it will break down as well.

The salesperson wouldn’t be able to provide you with a concrete answer because unless you are a regular, he or she wouldn’t know how you walk and wear it.

“Is the sole of this pair of shoes slippery?”

Check if the sole is made of rubber, there’s 2 ways to do so. The first is by touching it, the texture should be one we’re all familiar with. The second is through smell – the tell-tale scent of rubber.

Apart from material, the thread pattern of the shoe and groove depth affects friction too. For instance, our running shoes have deeper grooves and are commonly made of thermoplastic rubber (TPU) which lowers the odds of slipping.

When the salesperson tells you the shoes are anti-slip, note this only applies in normal walking conditions. The shoes could still be slippery on rainy days, so still be careful when you walk. As for those in certain working conditions when the floor could be oily or with uneven surface, you’ll want to get yourself industrial shoes then.

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“What should I do if I get my pair of shoes wet?

If the sales assistant tells you to dry your leather shoes with a hair dryer or to put it out in the sun, we’ll know for sure this assistant has poor product knowledge. Leather is like skin, subjecting it to high heat will result in damage. Very much like how we get sunburns?  Let the shoes dry at room temperature, to reduce the chances of leather cracking.

What you ought to do is to wipe off the water as soon as you can, using a dry towel.  After which, let gravity help you, place your shoes upside down. Or, you can remove moisture from the shoe by stuffing newspaper or a towel inside the shoe. Try not to wear this pair of shoes for the next 48 hours and let it air dry completely.

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 “What leather is this pair of shoes made of?”

Leather is a fairly generic term – artificial leather, genuine leather and the list goes on. The price range of the shoes should also offer some indication of the leather origin and quality. Sometimes, consumers have to know which animal this leather came from. For instance, a vegan customer will not want shoes made of genuine leather nor will a Muslim customer want a pair of shoes made from pigskin.

The sales assistants should be able to answer this question and provide you with care tips based on the shoes’ material.  Different materials require different shoe care routines. Another good way for you to know the material is to look out for the shoe material guide*.

material chart

I hope this post has given you an idea on the types of questions you should ask and how to pose them to the salesperson. Next week, we’ll go into more details for the shoe material guide*so stay tuned for that!