Men’s Shoe Rules for Prom

Posted on Posted in Prom

Oh for Heaven’s sake – as if learning everything you need to know before you go to your first prom isn’t enough, did you know that there are rules for the wearing of shoes with tuxedos? As crazy as it sounds, you may actually have to add this to your “formal” education (see what we did there?), at least if you want to get it right.

Business Insider offers many tips to help you stay on the right side of etiquette history if you feel like it’s important to you or your date to stay compliant.  Among the more than 30 rules featured for wearing a tuxedo in public (you are evidently free to make whatever crazy choices you want as long as you don’t leave your own home improperly tuxedoed-out) are:

  • Opera pumps (yes, this is a real thing for guys – but, yeah, we had to Wikipedia it too) are only to be worn with the ultra-formal white tie attire, typically reserved for attending a state dinner at the white house or celebrating the birthday of a really old monarch. Most people do not wear white tie, so opera pumps are likely not in your future, and frankly, they are pretty hideous, so you may be dodging a proverbial bullet on this one.
  • Patent leather (i.e. shiny) shoes – the kind that often come with rental tuxes – are appropriate for semi-formal or black tie gatherings, but only in their lace-up form (no loafers).
  • If you can pull them off, the Prince Albert Slipper is considered debonair and daring. Of course, it also looks more than a little bit like a bedroom slipper, but if you can rock the look, go for it.
  • Bit loafers (think “no laces and a horse bit incorporated in the design” – we don’t pretend to understand men’s shoe designers, but in fairness, prom dresses have been our thing for more than a little while) have a similar reputation to the Prince Albert Slippers: totally acceptable to go with black-tie if you have the personality to pull them off.
  • Belgian shoes – so, Business Insider says wear them if you dare. One could argue that they are practically indistinguishable from the ladies’ version of the same shoe, but they are often soft and come in many colors, so it could be a fun way to round out an out-there tux ensemble.
  • A well-polished black cap-toe shoe “is the ideal shoe” to wear with a tuxedo (so says Business Insider at least). GQ featured 15 of them if you’re lost and want to know what your options are.

At this point, you’re either inspired to take on the world of formal shoes and find your own “sole” mate, or you’re glad that your rental tux will come with something you can wear on your feet and you promise to bring plenty of adhesive bandages in case they get uncomfortable.

And really, comfort is what matters, whether that be the comfort of your feet as you dance the night away, or your personal fashion comfort. Some of you will strive to stretch the rules, some will follow them to the letter, and still others will wear their tennis shoes or a very retro pair of Converse – the cult shoe brand that will never completely leave the formal scene. As long as you are confident and happy, your prom shoe choices can’t be wrong.

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