7 Shoes For Every Imaginable Formal Occasion

1. Luxe Slipper. This style of crushed-velvet dinner slipper, often emblazoned with obscure, hilarious, or illicit symbolism, is popping up all over the internet in recent times.

While we fully endorse the Hefner-esque (or Disick-ish?) “I do what I want” levity they lend to formal attire when worn for a nightcap at your mansion, the question is: Can they be worn outside the comfort of your study?

[Magnanni velvet loafer | Mezlan embossed suede loafer | Donald J Pliner beaded loafer]

Turns out, the answer is yes. As any number of street style blogs—like Dapper Lou, below—these things add comfort and a sense of humor to jeans, cardigans, plaid pants, and definitely tongue-in-cheek socks.

And, for good measure, here’s Steve McQueen, proving that with the right attitude, velvet slippers can look good no matter what you’re wearing. (How does he do that?)


However, if you’re heading out to holiday parties this Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or New Year’s, and the forecast precludes velvet, here are some tux-friendly alternatives to finish off your formal look:

Classics, L-R:
2. Patent Loafer. The sleek, most surefire choice with any tux. [BOSS Black]
3. Chelsea Boot. Same clean lines, but more puddle-proof if you’re party-hopping. [To Boot New York]
4. Patent Lace-up. Less traditional than a loafer, but equally acceptable with a tux—as long as you keep them shiny. [Salvatore Ferragamo]

Experimental, L-R:
5. High-End High-Top. If you want to blend streetwear with formalwear, make sure your sneakers are spotless—and preferably all-black. [Alexander McQueen PUMA]
6. Subtle Color. Stay full-on formal, and still raise an eyebrow or two, with a lace-up in near-imperceptible purple. [Paul Smith]
7. Punk-Rock Tux. Spiked slippers mix best with a skinny tux—and adventurous company. [Steve Madden]


Shop: Our Party Essentials Guide | All Party-Essential Shoes


[Photos: Cary Collection slippers via Unabashedly Prep; Outfit shots via Dapper Lou; Steve McQueen via Drop Dead Prep. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Ed November 27, 2012, 12:34 pm

    The review of your Cole Haan Caldwell Oxford (black) at #109.90 had a terrible review (cracks, lining loose, etc.). I was thinking of buying a pair but not now.

  • Ed November 27, 2012, 12:36 pm

    What’s “awaiting moderation”?

  • Justin, Blog Editor November 27, 2012, 3:08 pm

    Hi Ed, thanks for reading.
    ‘Awaiting Moderation’ — This simply means that all comments must be approved before they appear on the site. It’s to safeguard against inappropriate language, automated spam, and the like.

    I see what you mean, the shoe in question received a negative review or two, although did score 4/5 stars overall. If you ever encounter a problem like this, I would encourage you to bring the item you’re unhappy with to any Nordstrom store, where I can say with confidence a sales associate will be happy to help you address the issue.

    In the meantime, please click here to see similar shoe options, filtered to show 5-star customer ratings at the top of your screen.

    —Justin, Men’s Blog Editor

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