There are plenty of ways to stand out in a sea of black tuxedos during the holiday season’s party lineup—swapping out said tuxedo for a plush velvet number or slipping on an embellished evening jacket being two of them. But not every soiree—think the end-of-year celebration at your more conservative office—calls for something quite so statement-making. Keep the classic tuxedo and instead swap your basic black dress shoes for a pair with a little, or, in some cases, a lot, more visual interest. Read on to discover five styles—ranging from smoking slippers with an eye-catching oil-slick look to sneakers you can get away with wearing on New Year’s Eve (really!)—that will step up your holiday dressing game.
When it comes to party shoes that step outside of the expected, a pair from Christian Louboutin is always an easy bet. Besides all being emblazoned with those iconic blood-red soles, the designer’s styles, like the Dandelion range (from £ 595 to £ 965), feature intricate detailing helps elevate their largely classic shapes. These Venetian-cut loafers shown above feature a subtle green, purple, and brown print inspired by camouflage that will make a subtle statement (and help tone-down the smoking slipper’s dandyish DNA) with any neutral-coloured suit.
It’s likely that you already have a pair of John Lobb’s oxfords or monk-straps in your closet, and though you really can’t go wrong with sporting them to your next party, we’d suggest trying the Ellis oxford (£970) on instead. The pair features a detachable fringe covering the laces—which, though statement, will look sleek poking out underneath the hem of your trousers—and a simple brogue detailing that keeps them modern without looking over-the-top. Finely grained burgundy leather neatly ties the style together, and will be a nice contrast to your inky black tux.
Though certainly not for wallflowers, these electric-blue Santoni lace-ups (€5,950- approximately £5,300) are an excellent way to punctuate a demure formal outfit. Their sleek, un-seamed shape lets the crocodile leather upper, and the expertly-applied azure patina, take center stage—meaning they won’t overpower that bespoke suit you’ve paired them with.
It’s no secret that Tom Ford makes some of the best party-ready velvet blazers on the market, but his velvet loafers—like the Leeds chain-trimmed style (£990) shown here—are every bit as exquisite. You’ll be able to dress this emerald green pair up and down, pairing them with a tweeds and wool’s on more low-key occasions, or a smoking jacket in a similar hue from the designer’s Mr Porter capsule collection for a festive night out.
While we wouldn’t recommend it for every dress code, you definitely can get away with pairing sneakers with your favorite tux. These Common Projects Achilles sneakers (£325) are an ideal formal style thanks to crisp lines and luxe black Italian leather, which helps keeps a chic low-profile silhouette. (We’d like to stress that this is not the time to break out your roughed-up college favorites.) And though fit is always key, it is even more so here: Be sure to keep things slim—though not overly tight—and go for a pair of trousers that are slightly cropped to better show off your shoes.