If you ask me about the must-have shoes in your professional wardrobe, I would readily recommend the names of Classic Oxfords, Chelsea Boots, Monks, and Classic Derby. All four share a rich history and have some interesting stories associated with their origin. These have a timeless design and have always been the highlight of the fashion scene. Each has its unique design and characteristics, which makes it possible for you to sport a distinctive style each day.
Classic Oxfords: It's believed that Classic Oxfords design was developed by shoemakers in Scotland and Ireland. These were first named as Balmorals after Balmoral Castle. Later, when these shoes got popular among students at Oxford University in the early 1800s, they began to be called Oxonian. Over the years, the design was further modified and eventually, it got its name Classic Oxfords, which continues till today. Classic Oxfords are one of the most versatile shoes and can be worn with formal, semi-formal and informal outfits.
Chelsea Boots: The trendy design of Chelsea boots was created and patented by J. Sparks-Hall, who was Queen Victoria's official shoemaker. A patent regarding the shoe design was filed in 1851. The boots gained popularity in the mid-1950s when it became the preferred choice for top celebrities and socialites in London. This elite group was referred to as the 'Chelsea Set' and since they often sported the boots created by J. Sparks-Hall, it came to be known as Chelsea Boots. These are also versatile and work great with both formal and casual clothing.
Monk Strap: Legend goes that the Monk Strap design was the brainchild of a monk who descended from the Alps, sometime in the 15th century. Later, the monk's creation made its way to England, where it became a runaway success. However, if we look at verifiable records, it reveals that the design for Monk Strap was registered in 1901. Monk Strap shoes look sophisticated and yet they also exude a sense of nonchalance. These are versatile and can be worn with both formal and casual clothing.
Classic Derby: There are various stories associated with the origin of Classic Derby shoes. Some trace it back to the 12th Earl of Derby whereas others link it to the 14th Earl of Derby. Written records of Classic Derby shoes are available in Dunkley’s account book of 1862 and it also appeared in St. Crispin’s Magazine in 1872. There are also stories that Classic Derby shoes were developed by a Prussian army officer. It is said that the easy to pull on and off Derby shoes played an important role in Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. True or not, we can never say for sure, but Classic Derby shoes exude a level of sophistication and elegance like no other.
I believe that your professional wardrobe can never be complete if any of these timeless shoes are missing from your collection. Also, I have to mention that these shoes need to be made from real leather, as any other material might make the shoes look tacky. Real leather will also ensure that the shoes last long and they will be always available to style you up, season after season.