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The Oxford shoe has one principal defining characteristic: the lacing system. The uppers of an Oxford usually consist of the quarters and the vamp. The vamp is that part of the shoe uppers the covers the toes and instep, i.e. the front of the shoe. The quarters are that part of the shoe uppers that wrap around the heel and meet the vamp in the middle of the foot i.e. the back of the shoe. Besides the closed lacing system, Oxford’s also has a low-heel and exposed ankle. All Oxford shoes share these essential features, and although most have the eyelets on the quarter, a Wholecut Oxford or Plain Oxford are the exceptions. Typically the sleeker the design (being also black in color), the more formal the shoe. Brogue oxfords and heavier construction on the other hand appear a bit less formal. Pair the oxford shoes with dress pants but not jeans.

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