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Shoes

What exactly are: Tuxedo shoes?

What exactly are: Tuxedo shoes?

In a nutshell

These are formal shoes you'd only wear with a tuxedo. They come in two styles, both of which are made from shiny buffed or patent leather—the better for complementing a slightly lustrous tux.

Backstory

Tuxedo shoes come in two varieties: the pump style, which is a bit like a loafer, and the lace-up, Oxford-like style. The former was popularised by 18th-century aristocrats and the latter is a 20th-century innovation: lace-ups fit a wider variety of foot shapes than loafers do. 

How to wear them well

"They're called tuxedo shoes for a reason … they only go with tuxedos," says Thread stylist Kasia Katner. "Whichever style you choose, make sure they are polished, with no visible scuffs. And if you go to black-tie events regularly (even if it's just once a year), you might consider investing in your own pair, even if you usually rent a tux. Tuxedo shoes should be spotless, so you don't want to wear a rental pair that shows a lot of wear."