Tim Little on dress shoes of an aristocratic sort

Categories: GQ, News, Opinion, Tim Little


It was 1986. I had just got my first job in advertising. At the last minute, I was asked to fill the shoes of someone who couldn’t go to an awards ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House. I was 23 and I didn’t have any black tie, so somebody suggested I go to Sam Walker on Neal Street. If it were around now, it would be the most popular shop in London. Back then, it was a bit ahead of its time and there weren’t that many vintage stores which meant he had everything – rails and rails of clothes, which he laid out like a proper menswear store. I picked up a lovely tuxedo with grosgrain lapel. It looked fantastic.

Anyway, I needed a pair of shoes to go with it and I found a cupboard in the shop that had about 20 pairs of incredible dress shoes, some high-shine and some patent. I ended up with a pair of classic English shoes that had been re-soled so many times you couldn’t tell who they were made by. They looked great. Really creased. They made me look like I was an aristocrat that had inherited proper dress shoes from his father and had been to dozens of black-tie events.

When I became a shoe designer, I described them to the old boy I was working with and he told me they were dress oxfords, which are like the classic oxfords you see in the City, without the toecap. They have a very plain front and high-shine leather and I’ve always made them since as they are the only shoe that you would traditionally wear with formal eveningwear.

Share this article:
Message: Join our newsletter


We use cookies to gather information about your visit and improve our website's performance.
We can only do this with your permission, please read our Privacy and Cookie policy.

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.