We can’t promise this article’s going to be our shortest, but hopefully it’ll prove useful. There are close to 100 different shoes or boots in Black Calf across the Crockett & Jones collection, so it’s safe to say you’re spoilt for choice when shopping for footwear in this most timeless of shoemaking materials.
Of course, Black Calf is the leather most synonymous with formal dress, either for business or oc-casion-wear. In these time-honoured arenas, there are three types of shoe to choose from; lace-ups (generally Oxfords), monk straps and loafers. Oxfords are the natural place to start. No smart wardrobe is complete without a pair and generally we’ll recommend you choose either the Hallam or Connaught with their classic cap-toe designs as your first formal shoes, or else Westbourne with its punching for something a little dressier, but no less wearable.
Alternatives include the Edgware with its sweeping line of broguing across the shoe’s vamp, or the Alex whole-cut for something with a sophisticated sense of minimalism. In our Hand Grade collection, shoes like Weymouth 2 are wonderfully refined (if we do say so ourselves), with a sleek silhouette and subtle hand-burnishing that looks reassuringly luxurious. No matter which you go for, they’ll work with every suit you own, from navy to dove grey, and from charcoal brown to RAF blue.
Much the same can be said of our quintessential double-buckle monk shoe, the Lowndes, which adds a rakish quality to a formal look care of its chisel-toed last, the 348. You could also opt for the Monkton, Lowndes’s single-buckle cousin, or the Hand Grade Winston. Wear with a sharp grey sharkskin suit and add a splash of colour with some smart socks in burgundy or forest green – nothing too loud, mind. Best to avoid novelty socks for formalwear, they seldom give off the right impression.
Then of course, we come to Black Calf loafers. Naturally, a model like Sydney or Cavendish is well suited to dressing up, but these open up further possibilities too. That little bit more relaxed than lace-ups or monk straps, a pair of Cavendish in Black Calf (or even Black Suede, to deviate from our chosen material just a touch) are as versatile shoes as can be; easily paired with suits, separates, chinos or denim in almost every colour you’d care to choose. Pull on with washed jeans and some fair isle socks on the weekends and you won’t got far wrong. If you’re into preppy style, the round-toed Boston in Black Cavalry Calf is an equally useful loafer, and a good alternative to traditional Burgundy Cordovan.
Alongside loafers, Black Calf boots are the other obvious off-duty choice. The natural starting point here is the Chelsea 8 set on rubber City Soles, which works a treat with rolled-up jeans, or the Brecon with its chunkier Dainite soles and storm welts. The Kempton is an underrated Hand Grade alternative with its ‘low ankle’ Demi-boot design. The Lingfield Chelsea and Tetbury Chukka are both made on the aforementioned 348 last if you’d prefer something with a sharper silhouette.
If black shoes can be casual, they can also be distinctly fashion-forward, and our now iconic Black Editions prove the point. Drawing on the DNA of some of our classic country styles contemporised to wear in the city, shoes like The Black Edition's Lanark 3 derby feel every bit as fashion forward as something you’d see in a fashion house on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. We should know, given that one of our Parisian stores is just around the corner. It’d also be remiss not to mention the Kensington whole-cut loafer in Black Calf; another casual shoe that stands out from the crowd.
We could go on, but you get the picture – at Crockett & Jones we make Black Calf shoes for every walk of life. We even make a Black Leather Belt to match too, which will sit comfortably with grey flannel or faded denim alike.
We’d hope that as a stylish individual, maintaining your Black Calf shoes should be second nature, but it doesn’t hurt to refresh on these things either. For advice on Shoe Care click HERE.