Former associate editor of GQ Australia, Matty Paroz, offers his insight into picking the perfect shoe for the Autumn Racing Season. 

They say clothes make the man, but what ‘they’ fail to mention is that bad shoes will unravel even the finest sartorial efforts.

Going into the autumn racing carnival, it’s a timely reminder. It may seem elementary, but trackside experience indicates that, regrettably, some men become so focused on donning their racing finery that they somehow neglect their footwear.

Dressing well is all about attention to detail, so how one could take time to perfect the puff of a pocket square and lose all interest in shoes is one of life’s great mysteries, along with Justin Beiber and Crocs.

Race wear, of course, is founded on conservative standards of dress, with some race days adopting a particular code, usually relating to colour. The main one for men to be aware of is Derby Day (Randwick, April 13), which is black and white. That is to say, your shoes should be black—race wear rules value old-fashioned good taste… white shoes do not. Funnily enough, a simple black Derby (1) would work well at this meet or, to keep the whole B&W theme from being too plain, go for texture in the form of a classic brogue (2) or Oxford. (3)

1. ASOS – Derby Shoe

2. Julius Marlow – Innsbruck

3. Grenson – G-one Chancery Leather Brogues (Mr Porter)

Thankfully, outside of Derby Day, the options open up—black, while easy, can be a little too stark and business-like, particularly with a navy or charcoal suit. In which case, look to shades of brown (4) to lighten the mood from rich chocolate (5) to tan (6). With paler suiting, one could even consider going for grey (7) or coffee, providing the contrast isn’t too stark (see: white shoes).

4. Julius Marlow – Hacker

5. ASOS – Dune Contrast Loafer

6. The Horse – Henry in Tan

7. Grenson – Dylan Suede Brogues

For those wanting to dress a little more boldly, the races are quite accepting of colour. Burgundy (8) is a big trend for the season, allowing the wearer to step away from less exciting, neutral shades without having to resort to the kind of brights favoured by the Wiggles.

8.Julius Marlow – Burgundy Cool.

Regardless of how unseasonably balmy it may be trackside, socks are a must—the bare ankle doesn’t belong at the races, least of all at the autumn carnival. Yes, even with loafers (9).

9. Topman – Hudson ‘Tyskatu’ Loafers

And regardless of whether you’ve found the right shoe or stubbornly refuse to take any of this advice on board, at the very least give them a polish. It may be the only winning move you make all day.

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