Black Tie – The Shoes (& Socks)

A pump with silk bows is the traditional evening shoe and dates back to the 16th Century when they were worn with knee breeches and silk stockings.

The name derives from ‘pomp’ because of their elegance. However most men now wear either black patent leather or well-shined calf-skin slip-ons or Oxfords. The slip-on is the most formal of the two.

Top: Oliver Sweeney Globe patent leather slip-on.
Above: Oscar patent leather lace-ups.
Pantherella black silk socks – stocked in Harrods

For patent, go high-end as the cheaper patent shoes will crack over time. Oliver Sweeney patent leather is a result of calf-leather being sanded on the top surface to give a mirror finish and then a thin layer of polyurethane is applied, giving a true patent finish. They have the two styles: the Globe patent slip-on and the Oscar patent lace-up. Priced at £350 (December 2010).

Socks should be black silk, no chunky wool or bright patterns. Pantherella has a selection of black silk socks starting from £22.


Here’s our Guide to Black Tie series to help you create the ultimate outfit – click the links below:

The Dinner Suit

The Dress Shirt & Cufflinks

The Bow Tie

The Shoes (& Socks)

The Accessories

The Overcoat


Karen Grace is a Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for and fashion writer for

She studied Personal Styling at the London College of Fashion and is a registered affiliate member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.

For personal shopping and styling services you can reach her via frumpy to funky on  [email protected] and
07787 800 390


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