Search Popup Icon

Are Dressier Shoes Making a Return for Fall 2023? 

Fashion Beauty Runway - Are Dressier Shoes Making a Return for Fall 2023

When dress sneakers start sneaking into the Oval Office in Washington for formal meetings with US president Joe Biden, you know it’s time truly bold fashion ideas start running into the opposite direction. Because novelty is what drives footwear designed to turn heads and garner clicks. The trainer boom of the last decade is still there, for some consumers, but there are signs of a slowdown. Particularly for the crowd that takes its fashion seriously. 

Sneaker domination has probably reached its apex, now that Cole Haan has created a hybrid shoe with Yeezy on the soles and grandfather on the uppers, which have neither the cred nor the killer look of luxury kicks from the last five years. Truth is, the pendulum started swinging back at the beginning of this year. Remember all the commotion around the Air Jordan 1 Dior, and the frenzy Gucci caused with its Flashtreck flamboyant hiking shoe? Well, there’s a ton of them now available on resale sites. So, what is fashion’s upper crust walking with, these days, and what does that mean for the rest of us? Let’s take a look at what’s happening in footwear for fall 2023. 

More Tailored Options 

When it comes to clothing, this last year has seen a resurgence in more tailored pieces on designer catwalks and in many closets. The hoodie, which was once the central, pivotal, piece of every wardrobe — thanks to the massive streetwear influence trickling down in every segment — , now shares that space with tailored jackets, jacket-dresses and even corset-shaped tops. We’ve come full circle to again desiring clothing that is much less casual and sporty, while putting a stronger emphasis on more formal silhouettes. 

And, of course, let’s not forget the impact of the whole quiet luxury current mindset, which is ramifying into every price point, including the domain of T-shirts — simpler, dressier and less loud — and leather goods — goodbye, cacophony of logos, hello to streamlined shapes — . Yes, there are even rumours that Kylie Jenner is concocting a clothing line to cash on this ‘stealth wealth’ trend, although some industry sources have stressed that this new label won’t be cheap. 

In any case, we are living in the new era of more restrained style. Just last fall Alessandro Michele, the designer that turned Gucci into a maximalist powerhouse, exited the storied Italian label. Gucci now is decidedly less over-the-top and more focused on good — albeit luxury — basics that will stand the test of time. That lays the foundation for footwear to become less flashy, too. 

Fashion Beauty Runway - Are Dressier Shoes Making a Return for Fall 2023 2

Well-Heeled in Dress Shoes

It’s already shifting. According to an influential fashion industry publication, 45 percent of well off American and British men were planning to buy dress shoes in 2023, compared with around a third who were opting for sneakers. 

Once the domain of nerds and stuffy young conservatives, loafers, moccasins and other formal shoes are increasingly taking over from sneakers as the first choice for fashion-conscious men. Loafers are the natural evolution when moving away from trainers. They’re very easy to wear — you just slip into them —, comfortable and versatile. They can be worn with or without socks, with trousers or skirts, with suits or sweaters. They can also be styled in different ways depending on the occasion and the season.

Originating in Norway in the 1930s as a casual shoe for fishermen, loafers soon became a fashion staple for men and women around the world. In 2023, we also love them with chunkier soles. 

One of the big differences marking change from the past is that we’re now wearing formal, dressier leather-soled shoes with sportswear, even shorts. Case in point: Actor Emma Corrin, who played Lady Di in “The Crown”, attending a film screening at the Venice Film Festival wearing a Miu Miu pantless look (a buttoned-up green cardigan with the matching briefs, worn over sheer black tights) accessorized with shiny classic leather brogues. 

So, yes, there is a return to a more classic look but with a big comfort factor, since no one really wants to completely give up on the more casual vibe we grew to love during the pandemic. 

As for pointier, spiky footwear somewhat reminiscent of 80s and 90s power dressing, they’re clearly coming back, and some see the knife stiletto being the fashion item for fall 2023.

It would, of course, be reductive and tone-deaf to say sneakers will entirely disappear from the fashion map. But one thing is for sure, the assortment of footwear for fall 2023 is considerably elevated with the return of velvet Mary Janes, delicate patent slingbacks, suede ballet flats, or metallic pointed-toe pumps. Your choice! 

Read More