I’ve been following your fashion advice and really like them. I received a lot of compliments from my friends ever since I started following your fashion tips this year.
I hope you can give some advice on wearing oxford pumps. Recently, I’ve fallen in love with oxford heels and a bought myself a pair last month. I have yet to wear them because I don’t know what else to pair them with, aside from a pantsuit. Please advise!
Vivian, 22/ United Kingdom
My dear Vivi, it seems you have been doing your fashion homework – well done! Oxford pumps have been sprinkled in various collections here and there lately, if you noticed. There’s always something sexy and stylish about borrowing from the boys (and yet they can’t borrow too much from us!) which makes creating outfits fun and sometimes tricky. This shoe has a special history, which should inspire your looks.
Once Upon An Oxford Pump
Did you know that the oxford shoe originated as a men’s half-boot in the late 1800s, as part of uniform for students at the famed Oxford university? It was flat, rubber-soled and had a lace-up front, which is the only feature that remains in modern oxford pumps. They were designed for sportswear, and became part of business wear in the 1920s. It’s the history of the austere oxfords that gives the shoe such a strong signature of men’s business wear and why it remains to be so popular after all these years!
Now… on to the outfits! Since the shoes speak strongly of menswear, they’re quite a quirky touch to different outfits. You can use them to add a sharp and smart touch to your work looks or a boyish flair to a pretty dress.
Pair your oxford pumps with … business attire.
You might not want to go with a stiff pantsuit but that’s exactly what these smart pumps go best with. The oxford pumps are most classic and iconic when part of a menswear-inspired outfit – whether that’s a business suit or a tuxedo. Think Marlene Dietrich or Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. Style your outfit a little differently if the pantsuit is not your thing: a skirt suit or a chiffon blouse tucked into a pencil skirt can have the same effect. Roomy pleated pants with suspenders are a glamorous option, but be sure to pair this with a red lipstick for a retro bombshell finish.
Pair your oxford pumps with … a feminine dress.
Think of the vogue Alexa Chung when you create an outfit for these shoes. Well known for her style, this British TV personality always manages to add boyish and down-to-earth fun to otherwise sweet and feminine outfits. Pair your oxford pumps with a paisley print A-line dress or romantic chiffon shirt tucked into shorts. The boyish oxfords are a refreshing spin to a flirty dress, creating an almost cheeky look. If dresses aren’t your thing, a feminine top will also do the trick.
Pair your oxford flats with … a pretty preppy outfit.
An easy alternative to high-fashion oxford pumps are oxford flats. Designed to look like its menswear equivalent, this version is much easier on the feet. Use them to coordinate with a preppy outfit and take it back to its menswear roots. To avoid a high-school look, borrow a minimalist outfit from the boys: a pair of skinny ankle-length cropped pants, a nautical striped top and a cardigan or blazer are perfect (pumps will add a lot more sass but work equally well with this outfit!). A plaid dress-shirt teamed with tights is a fun and playful alternative.
Now that you’re all pumped up, go strut your stuff!