Since I'm unexperienced with dress shoes, are they generally going to feel a little tight when first worn? I tried on Park Avenue and Strands in 9 3E and the strands felt a little tight though the sales associate said they were ok and that 10 was too long. They don't stock 9.5 in this country.
I'm going to be ordering from overseas due to the price and wonder if I should try both at 9.5. The way the PA in 9 felt is a quickly fading memory but I think they felt good. Would that extra .5 change the fit a lot? For what it's worth, when I measured myself I measured 9.5 as did my girlfriend (using AE's download).
I just had my first suit (Navy) and sport coat (grey check) done. They will arrive next week.
Park Avenue in Black seems like the most versatile shoe in it's price range and then strands in walnut look nice. My question is, if I don't have any reason to wear black shoes at the moment, should I just get PA in Bourbon or Brown? They'd pair better with jeans and other casual pants right? I really can't picture how dress shoes look with say, jeans, casual chinos, etc.
Or would it be better to have another pair of shoes that can dress down, and if so, what would you recommend from AE? I like Mora and Sapienza ( I'd like a slip on) but I'm not sure how they'd look if I was wearing say chinos and just a long sleeve shirt, short sleeve button down, or dress shirt, polo, etc.
About the size, I suggest you try it in person. Some people say it should be snug but not tight, at least nor hurting your feet, and it will break in. A half size lager means one sixth inch longer.
I would not say Black Park Avenue is the most versatile but the most formal in business attire. I think you should own one for some serious events. But I hate to own the same shoes in different colors. Walnut Strand looks good with light grey pants, but may look a little odd with dark color pants. My choice is Black Park Avenue, Brown Strand and Merlot Mcallister. Both Strand and Mcallister can be dressed up and dressed down. Maybe add a loafer later for a little more casual look.