The monk strap shoe, once derived from the footwear of monastic men who devoted their lives to the contemplation of god, is a current style favourite. The monk is a bit less formal than lace-tied shoes but still very “businessy“. The buckles are a bit bulkier and tend to look better with narrow trouser styles with shorter hems.
Though the monk is quite a formal shoe, it can also be worn “casually“ by leaving the buckles open. You see this a lot with stylish, predominantly Italian “peacocks“ — especially those cruising the central square of Pitti Uomo in Florence, the most outspoken male catwalk of style. Sometimes it looks as if they all forgot to buckle-up before leaving the house, but, of course, the loose straps are no coincidence, it’s a subtle sign of style.
Instead of laces, the monk has a single or dual strap and enclosing buckle that holds your feet within the shoe. The double version is commonly dubbed a “double monk“. We’ve recently noticed that many stylish men prefer to wear this type of shoe half-buckled.
Wearing your double monks half-buckled adds a dash of casual nonchalance to your outfit. It is the equivalent of wearing your tie a bit loose and irregular, saying: I know the rules, but I don’t have time to care too much. It is an important detail for those who are willing to master the art of sprezzatura, making even the most carefully composed outfit look as if it didn’t require any special effort.
Do not attempt this look with a single strap and buckle, but if you have a double-monk, go on and give it a try. Make sure you wear it casually, not with a suit. Monks work very well with wool flannel trousers, white moleskin pants or dark denim jeans. And before you strut out, make sure you can walk with the open strap. In the end, you want to look cool, not like the fool.