Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes…
These boots are made for walkin’…
Get on your dancing shoes…
Everyone from Elvis to the Arctic Monkeys knows about the importance of shoes, and yet, somehow they seem to be the most overlooked piece of a groom’s wardrobe.
In honour of Polka Dot Honeymoons’ Italian wedding month, I set out to investigate the humble (and in many case, not-so-humble) Italian shoe.
But who to ask about this sleek style? For the most part, the price tag alone has kept me away from a fine Italian boot.
Then a light bulb struck.
A few years back, I was lucky enough to receive a personal styling session from Anika Walker, Head Stylist at Your Look.
Her styling advice still stays with me today.
And with more than five years as a stylist at Melbourne’s Chadstone – the fashion capital, under her belt, she was the perfect person to shine a light on the Italian shoe industry.
Why choose Italian shoes?
”It’s definitely all about the style!” Anika says.
“Men’s Italian shoes conjure up thoughts of quality and workmanship like no other and on your wedding day, you deserve to know you have the best.
“Wearing something of high quality gives us a sense of confidence and shoes can be worn time and time again, so it’s also a clever investment.”
As a self-confessed novice in the world of European footwear, I wanted to know if Italian shoes stuck to a particular style or if they were diverse in their cut, colour and shape.
“You can expect to be spoilt for choice when shopping for Italian shoes as you will find the familiar styles; loafers, boots and lace ups, and then you can get specific and search amongst brogues, oxfords, monk straps and wing tips,” Anika says.
“If we’re talking about the most popular Italian leather shoe, it’s hard to look past a classic black loafer.
“This shoe oozes elegance and is the perfect accompaniment to a tuxedo or cocktail suit.
“It is the King of Italian shoes.
Anika Walker. Image via yourlook.com.au
Advice for grooms
Anika says any grooms considering choosing an Italian style shoe for their big day should start with their outfit, using their overall look to help guide their footwear selection.
“The trick is trying shoes on with the outfit you will be wearing to get the overall look and feel of each of the styles of shoe.
“I also recommend taking to Pinterest and creating a style guide for your wedding day look.
“This way, you can use pictures of head-to-toe outfits as your inspo when shopping.
But it’s not all about style, Anika reveals. If style is king, then comfort is sitting right alongside it as queen.
“Always go for comfort, shoes must be comfortable to walk in. My tip is to wear new shoes in at home in the lead up to your big day, this will ensure your shoes are worn in without any damage.
“When investing in quality shoes that you intend to wear time and time again, I recommend having a cobbler add a ‘Topy’ sole to them, this will ensure the longevity of your shoes.
“And always have your pant length altered whilst wearing your shoes. So, remember to have your shoes for your suit fitting to ensure the length is spot on, nothing worse than pants that are too long or too short.”
Choosing a favourite
In a seemingly endless world of footwear options, does Anika have a favourite?
“I love an Italian patent leather shoe worn back with a tuxedo. The patent finish will lift your formal look and make it next level.
“On your wedding day, you should stand out from the crowd and have a point of difference, this style will do that hands down.
“Just remember, patent leather don’t have the same stretch of a traditional leather finish, so ensure you get the fit spot on, not firm.”
And while it can be daunting to see the price tags on some of these shoes, Anika had some sage words of wisdom to ease your pain.
“I’m a firm believer that shoes can make or break an outfit, so avoid skimping on your shoes and get the best quality that your budgets allows.
“Just remember my favourite shopping tool: ‘Price Per Wear’ e.g. $300 shoes worn 100 times equals $3 per wear!”
Amen to that.
Anika Walker’s top Italian shoe choices
Image via Dolce Firmi
Image via Ace Marks
Image via Aquila
Image via Ace Marks
About the author Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.