For the days you decide to wear khakis, what kind of shoes are appropriate? The only dress shoes I have are black, and I'm guessing that's not ok. I was planning on wearing these, http://www.clarksusa.com/eng/product/slone/82469
but I'm afraid those might be too informal?
Those are hideous. Get a dress shoe like an oxford or wingtip or something (guys will be able to advise you better on what kind).
TatteredDignity, how formal is your job? Big firm? If so, I'd think about diversifying your shoes this summer. One pair of black dress shoes won't cut it.
If I were going to help a guy build a dress shoe collection from scratch, the first ones I would recommend would be:
1) Plain black leather-soled balmoral captoes AE Park Avenue
is the gold standard. Every professional man should own a pair, or something damn close. It is about as formal of a shoe there is outside of tuxwear, and is very appropriate for things like interviews.
2) Next up, I'd recommend a walnut or mid-colored brown oxford. Something slightly less formal than (1), but still fairly conservative, say like a blucher instead of a balmoral. Some simple brogueing is alright but don't overdo it; we're just lowly SAs. I'm thinking like AE Cliftons
or the J&M McPherson
. Maybe even a split-toe like the AE Walton
in the chili color. And I know a lot of people dislike them around here, but I also think a tasteful brown square-toe can be a good choice as well. Just don't look like you're wearing flippers on your feet.
Basically, I'm talking about shoes that are appropriate for business casual settings, not "casual" settings, which is what those Clarks you posted are made for (and they're hideous for any situation). While your category (1) is your formal shoe, your (2) shoe should be your "button down and slacks shoe." Resist the urge to go with something too casual, especially if you are working in a more professionally-dressed setting. You want to tone it down from the super-formal black balmorals, but still look sharp, classy, and traditional.
3) Loafers. Loafers are the best. Bit loafers
and penny loafers
are both great, and I also am a fan of tassle loafers
but they aren't the easiest to jump right into (and some would say they have a "grandpa" feel to them... but whatever). I'd start with something simple like a basic penny, or maybe a Venetian if you are in a particularly casual environment. Black and brown are both nice to have. Highly recommended for a business casual environment, but I really love loafers because they are versatile enough to be both business casual and casual (i.e., sockless with shorts). Just don't wear them with a suit, because it is is usually gonna look silly.
At this point, I'd say you have your essentials. If you have your black formal captoes, one or two pairs of brown business casual shoes, and one or two pairs of loafers, you've got a solid little rotation of shoes for a business casual office setting. But if you want to move beyond this basic set, I'd next go with:
4) Burgundy or chocolate balmorals, aka something similar to (1) but in a different color. I like the AE Fifth Ave
in the "Brown Burnished Calf" because it is a step down from the Park Ave with the very simple brogueing, and they look boss in the solid navy suit. The difference is very subtle between the black Park Aves, but it is meaningful. I feel fine wearing the Fifths without a suit, even dressed up in jeans once in a while, whereas the Park Aves only feel right in a suit. See also J&M Aldrich
for a decent option along these same lines.
5) IMO, it is now time to mix in some suede. These can be awesome for a business casual summer look. I like the look of these JM McPherson's
again. I really dig the taupe suede look in the summer. Also, I own these
and love them, and I would recommend them if you can find them at a good price.
Anyways, there are lots of different options you can go with. Monkstrap shoes are another great business casual look, and there are all sorts of different styles of loafers and oxfords that would fit the description of what you are looking for. I thought a "Newbies Introductory Guide to Dress Shoes" might be helpful, but if you find anything you like, post it here
before you pull the trigger and I'm sure you'll get some helpful feedback.