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Unlike most women, men, they say, can survive on a frugal number of shoes. Is that entirely true? We can’t say. An urban legend, perhaps? Maybe. Even if that were to be true, we have the perfect solution. A solution that could tackle a gravely under-equipped footwear closet just as well as it’d accommodate the need for a perfect pair, for any occasion. All you need to consider, are 5 pairs. Yes, just five. Five pairs that can tackle the most diverse occasions as well as everyday needs. Here goes –


Stephen Hawkings and Tony Blair share a love for the good old Oxfords. Made popular by the Oxonians, these shoes exude sheer class that shines on any formal occasion.

When it comes to your footwear, cleaner the cut, the more formal a pair is. Oxfords are also characterised by closed laces system that adds to the clean, formal look.

Cap-toe Oxfords are the most common with a stitch detail along the fore-foot. A pair in black leather could carry you from black-tie events to business meetings without a hitch, for they work well with dress suits, tailored trousers, and even tuxedos.


Derbies are a hot favourite owing to the comfort that they offer and their versatility in styling. As opposed to Oxfords, they feature an open lace system and can be plain, cap-toed or with wingtips. Plain derbies are considered the most formal, safe for any formal occasion, save the black-ties and the white-ties.

Cap-toes and wingtips are more casual and can be worn with chinos or jeans for an off-work look that speaks a refined elegance.


Interestingly enough, brogues, as often as they are mistaken for a whole different type of shoes, are merely Oxfords or Derbies with a bit of broguing done on them. Broguing refers to the decorative detailing on the shoe’s upper. Depending on the extent of detail, these can be quarter brogues, semi brogues, wingtip brogues or full brogues. Wingtips are the most common, as well as the most versatile.

Delivering upon a range between relaxed semi-formal looks to more casual looks, brogues are a safe bet to rely on. They work brilliantly with chinos, jeans and even shorts. A pair in tan or brown will work well with most ensembles.

Monk-strap shoes

No monks were harmed in the making of these shoes, we assure you! It’s true however, that these shoes were originally worn by monks and preferred for the comfort they offer. Moreover, monk-straps are probably the most ignored, yet one of the most sophisticated footwear options out there. Characterised by a strap-and-buckle closure, they stand unique compared to the rest on the list.

Ranging from single, double, to the ultra-modern triple monks, they are a versatile option. Double monk-straps are a tad bit more popular owing to their visual appeal. For a more casual look, it is also in trend to leave a buckle unbuttoned with the double and triple monk-strap shoes. You can pair them with trousers, chinos or jeans for a range of looks cruising the formal to casual radar.


Ideally and conventionally, loafers are casual shoes. Crafted from leather or suede in varied colours, they seamlessly blend into the most casual/ smart casual ensembles. Penny loafers in leather can work with business casuals as well. Tassel loafers, on the other hand, are suited only for casual ensembles.

As with any pair of footwear, a darker colour would lend a more formal appeal, while a lighter one works better with casual ensembles.

When it comes to footwear, it helps to build upwards, while beginning with the basics. And when it comes to the basics, quality and fit are key.

Invest in a good pair and it will last you a lifetime or ‘close to a lifetime’.

If you liked this article, you may like to check out our quick video on the must-have shoes here.

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