The Southerner's Handbook

How to Wear White Bucks

Sid Mashburn sets the standard (and the rules) for wearing these classic shoes

Photo: Sully Sullivan

Thanks in part to our warm weather, Southerners have been suckers for the white buck since the shoe’s Jazz Age inception. Although the heat endures, the white suede walking our streets these days has dwindled. But there’s no need to fear the old standby, as long as you follow a few simple rules, courtesy of Atlanta menswear designer and tastemaker Sid Mashburn. Rule number one? “I won’t put them on before Memorial Day, and never after Labor Day,” Mashburn says. Then there’s the sock question. “I prefer them without socks. But if you do wear socks, they need to be a cream color.” The shoes can work with just about any outfit—shorts, jeans, a suit, denim, khaki, gray wool. “But remember this,” Mashburn says. “There must be an edge to the outfit: rolled sleeves, some dirt on the bucks. Something that makes you look less precious.” And while Mashburn acknowledges white bucks aren’t as easy-wearing, as, say, loafers or boat shoes, that’s precisely the point. “You know, you could walk into some places and guys might fight you for wearing them,” he says. “But you need to be ready to fight. Take a blow for the white bucks.”