Here are three pairs of Dark Chili (Strand, McGregor, Bleecker Street), with an Oxblood First Avenue between the McGregors and the Bleeckers.
I polish the Oxblood First Ave with black polish because it looked even lighter and more cherry out of the box. Styles with more perfs/broguing tend to be darker, though.
I wonder why the welt on the Dark Chili balmorals is always a shade darker than it is on Dark Chili bluchers and boots?...is it because balmorals (even brogues) are supposed to be considered more formal /conservative than bluchers and boots, and darker = more formal/conservative?...idk...just something Ive always wondered.
Just received these Bleecker Streets as firsts- I was really excited to get them until I opened the box. Is there any way these are firsts?
I went through 3 pairs of Bleeker St "firsts" and never got a pair I would consider a first. Finally ended up with a pair that was suitable, but they squeak so bad I've still never had the courage to leave the house with them on.
I have 4 pairs of firsts bought in the last few months (Bleeckers, Strands, Strandmoks, and Gobis) and the only pair I think is worthy of being called "firsts" was the Gobis.
Quality control at AE has gotten pretty liberal. Unfortunately for me, the local AE doesn't stock many sizes so I have had to special order every pair I have and I think they reserve the iffy pairs for online and special orders. They know if they sent them to a retail store, they would never end up sold. This way they rely on people like me who don't have the patience to play the return game back and forth. If I lived closer than 50 minutes to the local AE, I would have returned every pair other than the Gobis.
Just for reference, my Strands had glue oozed out of the brogues perforations, and so when I cleaned all the excess glue off the calfskin under the glue was lighter colored than the rest of the shoe. So I have all these light colored spots on both shoes covering most areas of the perfs on the quarters of the shoes. They were also cut/sliced around the edges of a couple lacing holes, so the top layer of the shoe near the holes is peeling off.
The Bleeckers squeak like mad, and have tiger striping and a misaligned tongue on one shoe.
Strandmoks have misaligned lacing holes on one of the shoes.
I still love the shoes, but now expect basically I'll likely end up with shoes that have defects, and essentially pay firsts price for shoes I consider seconds.
I did try to order seconds a couple times, but those were horrid and unwearable. They shouldn't even be trying to sell shoes like the ones I received as seconds.