By Nicola Santini - bon ton and etiquette expert, author of NON LO FACCIO PIU’
Never brown after six. Did you know that?
According to English people, brown can’t be worn after six p.m., which means the time in which the outfit switches from day to night. But this is not explained in fashion schools, the sales assistants ignores it and the fashion designers act like they don’t know it. What am I talking about? About men shoes, that in order to be appropriate all day, should be in black leather, handmade polished, laced and without stiches. With a pair of these shoes you’ll have the passepartout for every occasion, formal or informal.
Brown shoes are informal even in an elegant model, they suit in the office, for an excursion, in the countryside, but never on formal occasions; a loafer is the weekend shoe, and keep in mind that it should be used for a few months in the hallways of your house or, as some English lord used to do, it should be made more “used” thanks to their butler.
The hotel’s concierge recognizes in fact the real lords looking at their shoes: if they are brand new and shiny, it means that money has just arrived, while if they are more “aged”, there is still hope.
Expert’s advise is not to wear always the same shoes but to let them “rest” every 48 hours. The fans of a specific model should buy them in couples, but once you have the classic evergreen (or… everblack), the more informal shoes, laced with stitches, the loafers, an indefinite amount of sneakers for (not) going to the gym or to look younger, the supply for a man is almost done. Is it the end for the World’s economy?
Unfortunately no, there are the women, whose rules are the opposite: high, low, colored, sober, with 12 cm heels or with a medium heel, with platform, wedges or flat…more is better, talking about spending money!
For women, there is an easy trick: maintenance above all. Because there is nothing worse than a woman wearing a worn out shoe, opposite to what happens to men. And comfort doesn’t mean ballerina flats or tennis shoes, but habit. A shoe, which needs to be worn all day, needs a minimum of use to accustom the foot.
Don’t wear high heels on the roads, wear them just for short tracks like those which separate the taxi and the restaurant entrance door; for the other occasions, it is better to use the American habits which require super comfortable shoes (also the sneakers under an important dress and the skirt) and the formal shoes in the bag. A race to the first tram in 12 cm high heels? Avoid it!
And under the shoes? According to the netiquette, also in the most informal working occasions, it’s better to wear socks, even if it’s August. The popsock only if you are planning a whole-life single career and the sponge sock only if you are planning a Spice Girls reunion.
What about nude socks? Abolish them forever!