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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Men's Shoes in Black Tie

Someone who expects to wear black tie regularly will want to invest in the classic formal footwear: patent leather pumps with a black ribbon bow on the front. Modern dressers tend to accuse traditional black tie pumps of looking like either women's shoes or slippers, but this forgets the overall purpose of black tie, which is to provide an outfit unique to the occasion -- in their traditional form, men's formal pumps are only suited to indoors wear. It speaks of luxury and sophistication, and is exclusive to the formal style.
For most men, a pair of shoes strictly for black tie events is an excessive investment. Modern black tie standards allow for any black, patent-leather dress shoe in a simple and formal style, with plain-toe oxfords being the ideal. It is possible to get away with regular black leather dress shoes if they are polished to a highly-reflective shine, but even small scuffs or scrapes will immediately show that these are not "the real thing." 

You want to keep the visual clutter to a minimum during your formal interview, and at all stages of the hiring process in general, so opt for a pair of black Oxfords without tips or edging of any kind. A good shine the day before the interview should leave the leather smooth but not overly reflective -- you don't want to appear overly flashy, and institutional lighting tends to lend itself to glare.
Socks -- a minor issue, but a relevant one -- should be matched to the color of your trousers, not the color of your shoes. That prevents your leg from looking shortened if the trouser cuff rides up. They should also be free of holes, even where you think no one will see them, since there's always the unlikely-but-real possibility that you'll enter a facility with specialized footgear and need to change in front of others.

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