Galahad: (Colin Firth): You’re going to need a pair of shoes to go with your suit. An Oxford is any formal shoe with open lacing. This additional decorative piece is called broguing. Eggsy: (Taron Egerton): Oxfords not brogues. Galahad: Words to live by, Eggsy. Words to live by. Try a pair.
My hubby and I saw the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service recently, which stars a bespoke-suited and impeccably shod Colin Firth. He’s my favorite actor; I’ll watch him in anything, even Arthur Newman. It was a fun movie, but I am heartbroken. There are the obvious reasons – the gorgeous George Cleverley shoes featured in the movie are only available in men’s sizes, and it’s doubtful I’ll ever get a chance to meet Colin Firth in person.
Oh, Colin, how could you?
But the real reason he’s got my knickers in a twist is because in a pivotal scene in the tailor shop (the front for the Kingsman spy organization), he completely botches the definition of an oxford shoe. An oxford! Here is the epitome of the proper English gentleman teaching his young protégé how to save the world and dress to kill, and he misses on something so fundamentally BRITISH! I mean, the oxford was named after the University of Oxford, the oldest university on English soil. Prithee, Mr. Firth, have you taken leave of your senses?
Some may say it’s just a movie; he was merely speaking lines from a script. But when one is a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) and plays the characters Colin Firth plays – Mr. Darcy, Lord Wessex, the freakin’ King of England – one should KNOW these things.
Oxford versus derby
So for Colin Firth, CBE, and anyone else who is interested, today’s blog post is a primer on the difference between the oxford and derby shoe. If you don’t want to take a Yank’s word for it, take Loake’s.
There are two kinds of formal men’s dress shoes: oxford and derby. In the photo, my husband’s Johnston & Murphy cap toe derby is on the left; my Allen Edmonds cap toe oxford is on the right.
On an oxford (also called a balmoral), the lacing mechanism is closed. The part of the shoe that holds the eyelets is open at the top – so you can loosen the laces and get the shoe on and off – but it’s closed at the bottom.
On a derby (also called a blucher), the lacing mechanism is open at the top AND the bottom. The part holding the eyelets is more like a flap.
No one else can ACT like Colin Firth, but if you want to DRESS like he does in Kingsman, the website Mr. Porter offers suits from the movie.