The most classic of gentlemen’s shoes, The Oxford is no longer reserved just for the chaps. Quite the opposite in fact - I am regularly spotting a fine array of Oxfords (as well as monk and brogue styles) gracing the feet of style-savvy women about town. The gents’ style is said to date back to Oxford University over 200 years ago, when the traditional 'Oxford' boot was developed into a lace-up shoe for a more comfortable time stomping around the quad. But, in fact, it may well pre-date this, and there are whisperings of Scottish roots too.
Comfort reigns supreme when wearing a pair of Oxfords, and a well-made pair just gets better with age.
Dark brown and black are the most popular with men, but - and don’t get me wrong, I love wearing a classic pair of black oxfords myself - sometimes an outfit calls for something a little bit more…
Thank goodness Crockett & Jones are fast becoming known for their beautifully-made women’s shoes too. These aren’t simply men’s shoes made in women’s sizes, but elegant and feminine versions of their favourite classics, and Oxfords always come out top in my book.
The gorgeous, silky ribbon laces and rich leather and suede tones caught my eye on a recent trip to my favourite C&J store, on Jermyn Street.
I was wearing my staple black leather trousers, and couldn’t resist trying on a pair of burgundy Oxfords (as mentioned in my last feature - I just can’t help myself) with matching silk ribbon laces. They added instant cool - smart, chic yet feminine, these could be worn with my outfit, straight out the door, or with a slick trouser suit for those tired of bulk-buying plasters for high-heel-weary feet. I still have a pair I bought at university (a shocking 10 years ago) to wear then with tights and a baggy jumper. After diligent re-healing efforts, I still wear them now with smarter outfits, although I do think tights and a jumper dress are fail-safe for work or weekend at this time of year.
For these chillier months, stick to darker colours for practicality. ‘Anna’ in grey burnished calf is heavenly - mainly because you can chuck them on with anything on a dark morning. For summer, try the ‘Flora’ in Stone Nubuck, with a little white dress or blue jeans and a white t-shirt - effortless and elegant in one step, or maybe two.