Shoes

A Shoe Is Not Only A Design . . .

but it’s a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you’re going to move is quite dictated by your shoes. –Christian Louboutin

As Spring slowly (or not so slowly depending where one resides) blends into Summer, dressing appropriately for any occasion becomes a challenge.  It is a challenge you embrace, indulge and conquer wholeheartedly!  The Spring/Summer seasons bring about different shoe wear.  We have boat shoes, trainers (although these are year round), loafers, driving shoes and the like.  As a person looking to create their own style, one should definitely own a pair of boat shoes, trainers and loafers.  Another style of shoe that should be up for serious consideration are suede shoes.  Suede shoes are synonymous with at least three seasons and sometimes Winter.  Personally, I love suede shoes.  I like the look, the feel and they are most certainly bring a casual angle to your overall style.  Every maker of men’s shoes has a variety of suede footwear ranging from any style of shoe to any price range.  In the picture to the right, G.H. Bass Kensington Weejuns ($43.49, I bought them on sale!) are at the top and H & M‘s cap toe double monk straps ($69.99) at the bottom.  A side not about G.H. Bass Weejuns.  The penny loafers were made famous by the late Michael Jackson and most notably in his groundbreaking Thriller video.  He was known to gravitate to various makers of shoes but the Weejuns will always have a place in pop music history.  In the photo, below left, I have a pair of Johnston & Murphy Ellington Wingtip Oxfords.  I won them on Ebay for $15.  Yes, $15!  The seller bought them at a Johnston & Murphy shop at Reagan National Airport (he left the receipt in the shoe box) and came to the conclusion he didn’t like them.  I liked them and got lucky!  These shoes normally went for roughly $130-140.  I want to drive home the point it is not necessary to purchase items at their original price point.  Research, look, find and decide.  There are times you may have no choice as in the case with the H & Ms.  They sold out twice on-line (and then permanently) and they weren’t at my local brick and mortar.  Their color is a dark taupe which is perfect for Spring/Summer/Autumn wear so in the end, it is a win-win for me.  

The one thing one will love about suede shoes is the versatility.  You can wear suede shoes with shorts and trousers alike.  Some may disagree with the idea of wearing suede monk straps with shorts but I suggest one experiment.  Try them with cargo tailored shorts and a nice polo, a button down shirt or a v-neck t-shirt.  And make sure that belt matches your shoes!  If you’re uncomfortable with monk straps, go with tassel loafers, penny loafers or oxfords.  One thing one should keep in mind is your color palette.  The standard is wearing lighter, more season-friendly colors.  This applies to the shoes too.  If one desires to refine their craft, they must practice.  This goes for creating your own style.  Do not be afraid to try different styles of suede shoes because at the end of the day, you are the one on showcase.  Until next time, jal ga!

*Featured picture: Jacket by Stafford Collection, shirt by Arrow, tie by Land’s End, pocket square by Feather And Smith, pants by Dockers, shoes by Saks 5th Avenue, watch by Invicta

*Supplemental picture: Jacket by Stafford Collection, shirt by Geoffrey Beene, pocket square by Santostephano, pants by Dockers, shoes by Johnston & Murphy, watch by Timex

Fashion Is Not . . .

Necessarily about labels.  It’s not about brands.  It’s about something else that comes from within you.  Ralph Lauren

We are inundated with images everyday from all types of media sources concerning fashion.  It can be chaotic.  In order to create order out of disorder, one must have a game-plan to make sense of everything.  If one is not looking to pay top dollar, what you can do is search on-line as well as off-line for deals.  This, of course is contingent on how much you have to spend or are willing to spend.  Whether you are looking to purchase something high end or something comparable, the deals are out there!   You may have to conjure up your best Roy Ayers impression and keep searching.  If you know how to use Google, Bing, Yahoo or any of the several search engines the world wide web has to offer, you can find anything.  For today, anything is the first thing (and it is up for debate) a woman notices on a man, his shoes.

Allen Edmonds‘ reputation speaks for itself.  The quality is unsurpassed and for many men, it’s the paramount of shoes. The Allen Edmonds Shoe Bank sells factory seconds for a price in my humble opinion that are still too high.  Of course it depends on the style of shoe you are looking for.  The not-so-popular styles will sell for under $200,  The model in the feature picture is the McTavish.  It was discontinued and I’m going to speculate in 2014. It was resurrected with some tweaks then discontinued again in 2016.  I found these at Burlington Coat Factory late in 2014 while getting in touch with the feminine aspects of my astrological sign, Scorpio.  I scored these for $90.  Yes, $90.  This version originally sold for $325 and rebirth was sold for $295. Also on this trip, I scored a pair of Cole Haan Kiltie Tassel loafers in oxblood (burgundy) for $80.  These were originally priced at $260.  I did pump my fist repeatedly upon exiting after spending $170 opposed to handing over $585!

The spring of 2015 I began to search for suede loafers.  My favorite style is the tassel loafer.  With your best interests at heart, I want to inform you that suede shoes are a Spring, Summer and Autumn staple of choice.  The versatility of this shoe involves styles, colors and the way they can be coordinated with an outfit casually as well as not so casually.   I saw a review on a site I follow (Dappered) on a pair J. Crew Kenton suede tassel loafers.  I liked them a lot so I did a search for something similar but at a lower price point.  I came across these $140 Johnston & Murphy Ellington Moc Toe tassel loafers that were on sale.  The total price with shipping offered by the Sierra Trading Post via UPS was $52.10 ($48.13+$3.97).  I would like to state this is some major SCOREBOARD!  I saved $47.90 (Economy shipping offered by J. Crew is $5).  We established Allen Edmonds as a top tier shoe.  Cole Haan, in my opinion is a tier lower with Johnston & Murphy a hair behind.  But what if these brands are too high for your current bank account?  Gentlemen, I present to you JC Penney’s.  Yes, that JC Penney’s.  The one that just closed 138 stores nationwide.  I must be michin to suggest this place!  JC Penney’s offering is their Stafford Collection which is comprised of dress shirts, suits, suit separates, underwear, socks, pjs, robes, accessories and well the topic of this post, shoes.  Their shoes, in particular, the Stafford Gunner cap toe always receive good reviews.  It is a $120 leather boot.  You can find similar for much higher.  These boots came out in September of 2015 at an introduction price of $100.  The wonderful thing about JCP is they always run some kind of offer.  Free shipping, coupon codes, and percentages off a set amount, etc.  I waited until just before Christmas to press the trigger.  Free shipping and a $10 off coupon brought these to my door for $49.  These shoes are not on the level of the other two but with some TLC and a small rotation of shoes, these can last a few years.

I have couple of points I want to make before I conclude.  First and foremost, have knowledge of your shoe size as well as width.  It is very important.  Remember?  Look good, feel good!  One can look good but if your shoes don’t fit well, well you won’t feel good.  Lastly, go to a brick and mortar if possible.  As you are creating your style, you need to see first hand what works for you and if it’s the look you are trying to achieve. Some brands of shoes run small, some brands run large.  Sometimes this will occur with shoes from the UK (e.g. Clarks).  When you are faced with a situation when an on-line shop has something you want ridiculously in your price range, you know it will fit!   Also, read reviews.  Sometimes you can get the gist how a shoe will fit by the reviews that are given.  This has helped me on more than one occasion when a brick and mortar wasn’t within my immediate area.  If you see something that suits your taste and it is out of your price range,  research.  I cannot stress this enough.  The Johnston & Murphys score is only one of example of several I intimated in this writing.  One can find high end shoes at discounted prices but you have to do some recon(naissance).  One can find shoes of very good quality that are the retail chain’s brand for an excellent price.  This is a small representation of what one can find on-line and off-line.  Now apply this to sport coats, blazers, dress shirts, chinos, wool trousers, selvedge jeans, etc.  I’m certain you have got the picture.  Jal ga!

 

*Featured picture: Allen Edmonds McTavish