Let’s start with the easiest rule at the beginning: formal footwear must be black. And since most rules have an exception, I should emphasize that the vamp must be black, whereas the upper part of the shoe may have suede in colors ranging from grey to beige. Any other colors, especially brown, would constitute a faux pas.
In the early 20th century, boots for formal daywear were sometimes made out of patent leather but today, patent leather boots are only available from bespoke shoemakers. Unfortunately, they make you look more like a Hercule Poirot re-enactor than an elegantly dressed gentleman.
In the 1920’s, spats were also de rigueur, but today, they are reserved for period costumes.
If you have regular black boxcalf shoes or boots, you should spit-polish them with a turpentine wax shoe paste for a mirror shine on the cap.
Generally, you have a number of options of shoe styles.
Most men who are interested in classic clothing will own a pair of black, plain captoe Oxford shoes. Every man should, really. These are perfectly adequate for morning wear, which means that you do not necessarily have to make an investment in this department.
Captoe Oxford with Brogueing along the Cap Seam
Some men may also own a pair with some brogueing along the cap, which is likewise acceptable for morning wear. Other than these two pairs, I would not wear any other form of Oxford, which includes half brogues, full brogues or ghillie brogues. These are not suitable for morning wear. The same is true for spectator shoes or other two-tone shoes, unless it is a combination with a black vamp and a grey upper, similar to a button boot.
Derby shoes are, strictly speaking, incorrect because they have a more informal character. However, in Austria – a country where formal morning dress and evening wear are more prevalent than in most other countries – the Derby seems to be appropriate with a morning coat and white tie.
Go back to the morning dress footwear overview.