Masculine/Feminine: The Oxford Shoe

oxford shoes with dress

When I meet with a client for the first time, I often will ask her to select an item from her closet that she loves but has no idea how to wear more than one way, if at all. Lots of times it will be an item that veers away from the rest of her wardrobe, and surprisingly often it will be a pair of shoes with a tinge of boyish flair, like these oxfords. Sure, it’s fun to wear oxfords all preppy-style with rolled up jeans and a cardigan, but to me, the most fun thing to share with my clients is how to mix different contrasting elements together in one outfit to create an unexpectedly fun ensemble. These are the kind of simple outfits that let people know right away that you have style, but it’s not in a big showy way.

So, when considering your item of confusion, try playing the opposites game.

Style Opposites: What’s the total opposite of a masculine shoe? A girly white dress! Or something floral! Or something pink!

Texture Opposites: This time of year is perfect for playing the opposites game, since this kind of weather forces up to mix heavier and lighter items in one outfit. I love the clunky oxford with more lightweight textured fabrics like chiffon or lace.

Coverage Opposites (not sure how to describe this one!): A flat oxford is perfect for pairing with tights and a shorter hemline (think shorts or a little dress/skirt), since the boyish charm balances out the legginess and you just end up looking super cute, but not overtly short-skirted. Try them instead of flats!

How to do play the opposites game? Have any items that stump you hiding in your closet?

oxford shoes with dress

oxford shoes with dress

Blazer: F21, Dress: Urban Outfitters, Oxfords: Madewell, Earrings: Marc Jacobs, Lipstick: Chanel Lotus Rouge

oxford shoes with dress

November 7, 2011

8 Responses to Masculine/Feminine: The Oxford Shoe

  1. Shelley says:

    I have a pair of well-worn brown oxfords that I love but I tend to pair them with jeans and cords. Got to break out of my mannish rut and give them a whirl with a cute dress. Thanks for planting the seed!

  2. Sharon says:

    Love all your tips! Just might have to pull out the brogues this week with a flirty dress.

  3. Senta says:

    Sadly I’m thinking the short-with-oxford advice only helps for girls with long thin legs. My legs look like stumps with flat shoes. But you look super cute with a white dress and oxfords. Can I borrow your legs? ^^

  4. carrie says:

    i’ve been wondering about how to wear oxfords FOREVER. keep wanting to get them, but holding off. but what about wearing them without socks? i would love to wear them with skirts or dresses but i get terrible blisters!! when i wear even the softest flats.

  5. Lyddiegal says:

    I still struggle with the oxfords – even when following those guidelines, I keep putting them on, then ending up swapping them for heels.
    I see them on everyone else and think “SO CUTE” but when I’ve got an oxford on one foot and a heel on the other, somehow the heels always look better.

  6. Grace H says:

    This may have inspired me to actually wear the oxfords I bought months ago…. I always seem to hold back and wear shoes that are a bit more ‘expected,’ maybe now I have the inspiration to break out of that routine!

  7. Jamie Rose says:

    I really enjoy that blazer paired with your white dress. I wore something similar to it last year and want to recreate that look soon! I love the idea of the oxfords with it, though. Very cute!

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