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I recently received a question from a reader about shoelace etiquette at work. He wondered if there is a special etiquette when it comes to shoelaces. I was immediately curious, this is something I had never given any thought to. Time to ask Prettybusiness etiquette expert Anne-Marie van Leggelo for her thoughts on this unique topic.
How should you tie your shoelaces?
“There are many different ways to tie your shoelaces. But the two most common methods are criss-cross lacing and straight bar lacing. The method your use usually depends on the type of shoes you are wearing. In general sports shoes tend to be criss-cross laced, whereas dress shoes tend to be straight bar laced forming neat parallel lines.
Furthermore, it is very important that the ends are neat and tidy. Here it also depends on the type of shoe: with sports shoes, the loops of the bows are larger than with dress shoes. This is automatically done as different shoes come with different styles of laces. They should always be tied securely as apart from being dangerous, loose laces look shabby”
What are the rules about the actual laces?
“Firstly, it is important that they look well cared for. So, no tatty, discolored or dirty laces. You tend to see it with white laces, they can easily look uncared for and grubby. The aglets (plastic covers) must also be tidy and properly attached. This prevents the laces from fraying. In general, a flat lace tends to look casual while a rounder design looks more dressy. You will notice when you are buying a pair of shoes, neat leather shoes usually have round laces and the thinner the lace the more elegant it looks”
So your choice of shoelaces can help you look neater? For example by tying them differently or choosing the correct style for your shoes?
“Yes, that is correct. For example, if you want to wear sneakers to work you can tie the laces straight across which makes them look more classy. You can also replace your flat laces with a rounder variety. But I always recommend that you look very carefully at the type of shoe. This doesn’t work with every type of shoe, but it is fun to experiment.
What you see more and more nowadays is different color shoelaces. Often these are styled to compliment the socks and this is a fun and stylish way to play with the color of your shoelaces. I advise you not to go too wild with colors when dressing for work. But a pair of dark brown shoes with thin navy blue laces can look nice with a dark blue suit and brown belt. This tip, as well as the other points mentioned above, applies to both men and women”
Are there other things that are really not done?
“I advise against cutting shoelaces. That is something you never need to do. You cut away the plastic part and the laces just fray. Instead, just invest in a new pair of laces that are a couple of centimeters shorter. Whatever you do with your shoelaces, a clean, neat appearance is most important”