They say the first thing a woman notices about a man is his shoes – this may help explain why.
Even during the most financially dire times in African-American culture, men have always made sure that their shoe game made a statement no matter what. The Black Experience covers a magnitude of attitudes, subcultures, and beliefs. But be it the b-boy on the block, the educated brother climbing that proverbial corporate ladder, or the deacon at Sunday service in Yourtown, USA, there’s an excellent chance that their footwork is on fire.
HOW IT STARTED
Despite the advancements in design and the evolution of style, beloved footwear choices of the 1920s consisted of items that still are considered ideal for today.
“1920’s men’s fashion included well-tailored pinstripe suits, tuxedos… black patent leather shoes and spats. Clothing for men also included short suit jackets, cuffed trousers, waistcoats and wide-leg ‘Oxford Bags,’” writes social club website BlackBirdRSVP.com. As time passed, more daring styles emerged: Platform shoes, suede, oxfords, chukka boots and more became the must-haves for men confident enough to stand out from the crowd.
HOW IT’S GOING
However, a more casual, foot-friendly and rebellious style emerged through the years. Once sneakers became the hot-ticket item for even the non-athletes of the world, a new era of fashion was born.
“I thought Jordans and a gold chain was livin’ it up” – Nas, “Street Dreams”
From designer collaborations to rare colorways and the ever-popular Jordan re-release, a fresh pair of kicks became as acceptable accompanied in a blazer and slacks as they were on the basketball court.
AND NOW… TIPS FOR YOUR FANCY FOOTWEAR
A man’s shoe game can say a lot about his sense of style and the time he puts into getting himself together. So much so that there are style professionals who give the less.. aesthetically inclined of us tips on how to build a good collection of shoes without breaking the bank.
“Every man needs a pair of black, and possibly also brown, oxfords/derbys in his wardrobe,” advises the men’s style website WellDressedBrother.com. “Both types of shoes go well with almost anything, except for the super casual outfits. If you’re rocking a business or formal outfit, some Oxfords and Derbys will do the trick.”
In addition to oxfords, here are a few more must-have shoes for your collection:
– A pair of casual sneakers
– White Sneakers
– Dress Boots
Getting fresh is a job that starts from the top to bottom, which means even the best-suited gentleman hasn’t nailed the look if the footwear he chose isn’t quite up to par. There are shoe trends that come and go and others that will stick around for decades to come.
I’m sure we all have a pair of shoes we look at and wonder what the heck we thought when we bought those? But for every misstep, there is sure to be that one pair of shoes that makes an impression that lasts.
Fancy Footwork: A Brief History Of Black Men’s Shoewear In America was originally published on blackamericaweb.com