Semi-casual. Two words likely to strike fear into the heart of any sartorially minded man. On the face of it it’s the easiest, breeziest dress code but, delve a little deeper, and it quickly becomes apparent that the line between formal and casual is not so easily defined. Is it chinos or tailored trousers? Should your shirt be tucked in? Do you need a tie?
Here at Gentleman’s Journal we’re always minded to build our semi-casual outfits from the ground up because, thanks to Crockett & Jones and its line of timeless driving shoes, knowing what to step into for a semi-formal occasion is never a problem.
Not quite as dressy as a Goodyear-welted loafer but more robust than the Belgian loafer, Crockett & Jones’ classic driving shoes are made by specialist manufacturers in Italy with an unstructured moccasin-style upper that offers a breathability and flexibility ideal for the warmer months.
And, when it comes to that all important sole, Crockett & Jones has been careful to keep the driving shoe’s motoring roots in mind. Available in two sole designs – a single unit Pedrosa rubber sole and a softer cleated rubber sole that sweeps up the heel to stop feet rocking on the peddles – both are supremely comfortable while delivering the feedback every driver needs as they go into a tight corner at high speed. Of course, if your activities are only as high octane as trading small talk over champagne at a garden party, they’re perfect for that too.
So which styles should you be buying, how should you be wearing them and, more importantly, which cars do Crockett & Jones recommend you pair them with? We’re firm fans of the Como over here at Gentleman’s Journal HQ. The most minimalist of the brand’s driving shoes, choose from supple leather or fine suede in varying shades of brown and marvel at the simple yet effective contrast stitching to the uppers. Alternatively the Roma offers the same elegant design with a Pedrosa sole for a slightly more structured feel. Fuss free and utterly effortless, they’re the perfect match to chinos and an Oxford shirt for casual Friday (when we eventually return to the office).
If you like your footwear a little more detailed, the Napoli and Torino designs add interest via the addition of boat-shoe style leather ties and a front strap reminiscent of the classic penny loafer. Crafted in dark brown leather or suede in autumnal navy or dark green, these are the weekend shoes your wardrobe is missing. Wear with smart jeans for a lazy Sunday drive in the country – they won’t look out of place whether you happen to end up in a fine dining restaurant or cosy pub.
And, speaking of driving, these fine examples of British design merged with Italian craftsmanship deserve cars to match. How about the Lotus Elise? Named for the granddaughter of one-time Lotus owner Romano Artioli, it was built on the enduring philosophy of legendary automotive designer Colin Chapman: “Don’t add power, add lightness”. This remarkable car recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and is rivalled on Britain’s beautiful B-roads only by the equally stunning Triumph Stag. Created by famed Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti, it is a stellar piece of British engineering that makes for a V8 driving experience about as relaxed as they come. Don’t worry – we did the hard work of taking our Crockett & Jones driving shoes for a test in both. We can assure you they’re more than up to it.
Crockett & Jones driving shoes