Dress shoes are generally regarded as a much more formal shoe, something to be worn in the evening or to a special function where perhaps a patent pump is not the order of the moment. A dress shoe is exactly what it says it is, a shoe to be worn on a 'dressy' ocassion. A wedding, a dinner, with a dark suit, a funeral, these are all regarded as dressy ocassions when a more formal shoe is required. How formal do we have to be? This is really down to how accurately dressed you would like to be, generally the more formal you require has less decoration, so a plain or 'naval' Oxford (one with no decoration whatsoever) may fit the bill, personally I prefer something with a toe cap, with one or two rows of stitching across the cap this in my opinion is the best shoe to wear. An Oxford like this can be worn for almost anything, from meetings, to weddings, from formal dinners to the dance afterwards, a well polished Oxford with a stitched cap will almost certainly stand out. It is so very traditional, so very english.
Shown here are the Oxford with stitched cap, the Oxford with no cap, the same again but with a design on the toe and a classic Oxford with the punching across the cap.
This last shoe is again very dressy, can be worn for almost any ocassion and in brown or suede can make an excellent alternative for a weekend shoe. Don't forget when making these as a bespoke shoe, your ideas make the shoe, it is your thoughts and imagination that create the shoe that you want.