PATENT PENDING- The argument for patent leather footwear
Popularized as a result of a 19th century carriage shoe design, the modern patent shoe is a staple on the runway and in the wardrobe, combining unique design aesthetics with durability. While there are innumerable examples of formal footwear, none stand in as popular stead as patent footwear, here’s why:
- WAXING: as a result of their unique construction and waxed surface patent leather is defined by a glossy glass like sheen and its near impenetrable waterproof quality (usually not associated with leather).
- AESTHETIC: so dark it shines, patent leather footwear’s well defined appearence makes it a coveted accessory to black tie dressing, allowing some variation in outfits w/o being distracting or inconsistent with a formal event’s aesthetic.
- COLOR: ‘Black on blue’ is often a color combination that menswear aficionados steer clear of, but patent black (in a way similar to midnight blue) transcends its original color to be somewhere in between its original shade. Nothing says color at a formal event like a midnight tuxedo reinforced with sparkling patent leather.
As with most things in menswear, patent leather footwear styles have not changed too drastically over the last few decades. Patent loafers/slippers or derby shoes are still the greatest port of call for most black tie events, though classical footwear staples (such as the brogue) are being given a new lease on life in the patent leather material. For the sharpest result find a pair of patent leathers that complements your dinner jacket: obviously where your tuxedo is already glossy or made with a high sheen finish you want to avoid making the outfit louder by adding patent. Go for a tux in solid or block colors (sometimes with contrasting lapels) and add your patents for a devilishly rogue alternative to classic muted formal dressing.