Herring Shoes

England vs Italy by Guillaume Bo of Men Need More Style

13 October 2015

England vs Italy.

No, it’s not a football game. This is about their very different styles. For decades, a gentlemen had to choose which he wanted to follow. The British school is all about rules and codes that are very established. The Italian school is more about freedom, seduction and comfort. This is also the case for shoes.

For example, nowadays we can see a lot of men wearing their loafers without socks or with invisible socks. This is a typically Italian look that, for a British gentleman, is highly unorthodox, and constitutes sacrilege! In the British view a gentleman must not show his hairy ankles and I agree. Wearing formal or business attire can inspire a “style saving” restraint. This helps you to appreciate that you do not only wear clothes and shoes for yourself, but in a large measure as a way to communicate about yourself, to help other people understand you.



So British is best? No.

It can be very “cool” to rock your nice tassels and even monk shoes with more casual combinations. It says to the world: “hey, I’m a gentleman but I’m not that obsessed by myself. I’m open, I’m alive, I’m dynamic”. Italian style takes the essence of British style, the best of it, then modifies and softens it. They learnt the rules so they could break them.


So Italian is best? No.

You can like both schools as I do. Elegance is all about balance, not rules. First and foremost it is about knowing what flatters you and how you feel about what you are wearing. Which style you find most suitable can vary depending on your emotions, your social life and your work.

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Thankfully our world is not as small as it used to be. Our tastes and inspirations have been evolving as influences from around the world inspire us. Good taste can be found in Asia, America, Africa, anywhere. But don’t forget gentlewomen and gentlemen, classic style is timeless, secure and understated but should never be boring at all.

So gentlemen, it is a draw, Italy 1- England 1 and we are all winners.

Shoes speak louder than words,

Guillaume Bo




  • Reply Andrea Costa 13 October 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I am Italian, but I would never wear loafers without socks. It is less common than you seem to imply. The real difference between British and Italian styles is summarized by something that happened to me. I was choosing a pair of shoes in a posh London shoe shop and I told the assistant I had decided the colour keeping in mind the trousers I usually wear. When I went to pay for my shoes she asked me my postcode for a customer survey and I told her I live in Italy. “Ha!”, she said. “I should have known. Brits don’t care about matching shoes with trousers”

    • Reply Gui Bo 13 October 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Buongiorno/hello Andrea.
      I like this little story and i understand also that ALL Italians do not do the same for sure. But… Most of all i would say. And i am there most of my time.
      I guess it’s also a question of generations. G.Agnelli used to do it though as well.
      I think also it’s been changing lately for “Brits and matching shoes with trousers”. With new fabulous brands like G&G or J.Fitzpatrick or…Allan Baudoin for example, we can observe that they (“Brits”) dare more.

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