An oxford shoe is basically just a shoe constructed from heavy leather that features enclosed lacing. Historically oxford shoes were made of untanned leather and were plain in their design with little if any ornamentation. The shoe got its start back in Ireland and Scotland. The modern oxford shoes are today come in a variety of styles and are constructed from different types of leather such as suede leather, tanned leather and in some causes synthetic material (such as faux leather or pleather). Oxford shoes fall into the category of dress shoes or business shoes for both men and women (some people refer to them as dress casual or business casual) although there are modern forms of casual oxford shoes for women. Contemporary oxfords are shoes that don't come above the ankle and most have a piece of leather carefully stitched over the section for the toes. This is sometimes referred to as oxford caps or toe car oxfords. Another definition of an oxford shoe is, an esthetically elegant style with closed lacing that typically comes in plain, full-brogue and semi-brogue versions.
For men there are five main categories of oxford shoes and these include open-laced oxfords (also referred to as Bluchers), close-laced oxfords (or Balmorals), saddle oxfords, kiltie oxfords and wingtip oxfords. Blucher oxfords are open-laced leather dress shoes which have the sides of the shoe sewn on the front part (the top to be precise). Once laced up these shoes have a front, top, side and back and appear as though they are segmented. Balmorals leather oxfords are close-laced shoes in which the laces are sewn in a very creative way, they are sewn under the front part of the shoe and then the laces are closed over the tongue. The final result is a smooth, streamlined, very stylish looking shoe that has the appearance of being made from only one piece of leather.
Saddle oxford shoes, as the name suggests, have a piece of leather designed on them that is in the unique shape of a horse's saddle, the saddle being a different leather type or color than the remainder of the shoe. The fourth type of men's oxford shoe, referred to as kilties are fancy in their design and come complete with a leather tongue that is fringed and comes over the instep of the shoe and then covers both the laces of the oxford and the eyelets. By far the most popular type of oxford shoe is the wingtip. This pair of fashionable men's footwear gets its name because the toe brogueing (or leather embroidery) looks a lot like the spread of a bird's wings.
If you are out shopping for oxford shoes always look for genuine leather shoes, as they are durable and will stand the test of time. As far as color is concerned, black is the color to go with because all black leather oxford style shoes, regardless of the style of leather finish or structural design will complement business attire. The most formal of all men's dress shoes are the black leather close-laced oxfords (or Balmorals). They look especially sharp with both suits of the double-breasted style as well as pinstriped suits. However if brown is more to your liking then pairing your oxfords with a sort jacket or a tweed suit. Not to be denied their due, open-laced oxfords (or Bluchers) in either brown or oxblood look terrific when paired up with light suits (especially in the spring and summertime), sport coats and even more relaxed, casual wear such as khakis and jeans.
For women oxford shoes have never been as fun and fashionable as they are today! Women can choose from a variety of styles of oxfords, everything from casual saddle shoes to comfort oxfords, fashion oxfords, hiking oxfords and professional (i.e. lace-up walkers and trainers) oxfords. Casual saddle shoes for women feature a traditional split-suede buck, a cushion crepe sole and a comfortable heel. Comfort oxfords are sport shoes complete with a cushioned footbed, a leather sock lining, a removable cushion insole and a slip resistant sole. Fashion oxfords come in the form of either platform sneakers or athletic-inspired sports shoes and contain a cushioned footbed, suede uppers and a flexible and lightweight rubber sole. Hiking oxfords are both versatile and rugged with their steel toe, water-resistant and slip-resistant soles. Professional oxfords are so comfy for the feet with their padded footbed, leather uppers, slip resistant outsole and padded collar.
Professional photography advice: you don't need to be a professional to take good pictures. These are just a couple of tips that will get you on the right track.
Not everyone is a professional when it comes to taking good pictures. But the good news is that you do not have to be. How often do you get your pictures back, only to realize the shot you took, isn't as great as you wanted it to be? But take heart. There are a few simple tricks, which will have you shooting like a pro.
Ever take a picture of a loved one, only to find that the face is dark when you get the picture back? There is a simple way to fix that. Watch the sun. Whenever possible, you should have the sun behind you when taking a picture. That way Mother Nature is providing the lights for you. The sun will highlight the areas you want to see, usually the face. If the sun is in front of you, it will cast a shadow right where you want to see.
Surprisingly, the best light comes in the morning and evenings. You will get some neat color tones at these times of the day. However, if possible, try to avoid shots in the middle of the day. That's when the sun is directly above you, and no matter where you place your subject, there will also be a shadow straight down. If it is a cloudy day, try using the flash - even if it is the middle of the afternoon. The flash will add light, which will add detail.
Here is a little test for you. True or false. When taking a picture, you want to have the subject right in the middle of the frame. False. One of the biggest mistakes people make, is to shot a person, head to toe, right in the middle of the shot. Here is something you can try next time you take a picture. Draw an imaginary tic-tac-toe board over the entire frame. Then try to position the subject where the lines meet, one of the four corners. If it is a person, try framing it in the upper portions. If it's something else, say a rock, try framing it in the lower portion. When shooting something on the horizon, frame it in the upper half if you want to show more land, frame it on the bottom half if you want to show more sky. Also, move in. That will get rid of a lot of the clutter in the picture. Take a look at some of your favorite people pictures. I bet most of them show just the face and not the entire body. The closer you get, the more details you will be able to show, the better the picture will look.
It can take years of practice to become a professional photographer. If taking pictures is something you enjoy, you might want to look into the hundreds of books that are available. But hopefully, these simple tips will get you well on your way to taking pictures like a pro.
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