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Looking for some shopping tips

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've made up a shopping list for the summer, but unfortunately I haven't turned up anything that is both interesting and in my price range, so maybe some forum members could give me some input on the following in terms of brands, styles, and vendors: Shoes: I'm looking for a casual lace-up shoe, mainly to be worn with jeans, chinos, and cords. I'm not overly interested in leather for price and diversity reasons, so I'm thinking suede or canvas. Something edgy and fashion forward would be ideal. My last pair was a set of dark blue suede Vans sneakers: I'd like to upgrade from that both in terms of quality and style, and get a similar effect without spending too much. I also could use a nice pair of brown leather dress shoes in the $200-300 range and I know next to nothing about shoes so any tips would help. As for vendors, I'd prefer not to buy online unless it's a really good deal with a flexible return policy. Pocket squares: Is it me or is it really hard to find a decent selection of pocket squares? Even ebay has next to nothing to offer. The only local place I found selling them was Neiman's and the selection consisted only of bland white cotton handkerchiefs and tacky and very overpriced (in my opinion at least) whimsical models by Hermes and Ferragamo. I'm looking for something made of silk/linen in solid or subtly-patterned pastel colors (lavender, mint green, cream, baby blue, etc), preferably under $25 or so. Cufflinks: I broke my standard pair (two plain silver colored ovals chained together) during a struggle trying to put them in a new shirt before work, and am looking for a new, less formal, more novelty or unique, pair of double sided cufflinks. Ebay seems to be the best place to check, though I'm finding a lot of worthless old junk to filter through. Perhaps someone with better experience or knowledge could take a gander and recommend some finds or styles to look for? Thanks for the help.
post #2 of 9
As far as basic cuff links and pocket squares go, I sometimes shop at Tie Rack. . . . . And, now that the laughter of the forum has subsided, I stand by that opinion. They have plenty of solid silk pocket squares in lots of colors - I was in a Tie Rack a couple of hours ago and saw lavender, green and baby blue squares - and they were all AU$10, which is... US$7 or so. They also occasionally have polka-dotted and paisley squares for the same price, which, in my opinion, beats paying AU$99 for a nigh-identical square from Polo or wherever. They also like to churn out quick copies of designer cufflinks at non-designer prices - I have here a pair of red glass cubes, on sterling silver stems, copies of the Richard James links of last season, which came out within weeks of the originals, and, in my experience, will last just as long. I also have a pair of onyx and mother-of-pearl checkerboard links which I really like. They also have all the spirit-level, hot/cold faucet, clock, and faux-gem links you could ever wish for...
post #3 of 9
Ay: For shoes in that price range, Cole Haan, Allen Edmonds, Alden, Mezlan. Donald J. Pliner, and To Boot Adam Derrick are possibilities. A lot of Forum members stand by A-E, but 2 of 3 pairs I bought hurt my feet. Guess it depends on the last they're made on. To Boot is supposed to be really good, but can be hard to find. Since I bemoaned my shoe fate 2-3 months ago I've done really well upgrading my wardrobe with shoes from E-Bay. What size do you wear? There's a GREAT pair of Mantellassis on there right now in your price range, lace-ups but black. I've been thinking of buying them myself. Nordstrom Rack is a great place for pocket squares, as is a regular Nordstrom. Do you live near one? Depending on the store, they'll usually have a decent selection of cuff links as well. Generally Tateossian and Nancy and Rise. Off 5th usually has some interesting links on sale as well. Tie Rack is OK for color and I have a few of their squares, but the squares are smaller, and the silk quality isn't always as good. Haven't bought any links, so I'm not sure on the quality. There are a bunch of other options on cuff links depending what you want to pay...Local antique stores and shows can usually turn up nice pairs for under $50-60. Ebay is another option- but lots of chaff with the wheat. Online- try the following: has at least one simple pair like the one you broke that is affordable and elegant Kieselstein-Cord, John Hardy, and David Yurman all have websites as well, but I dont think e-commerce as they prefer to sell through Neiman's, and Sak's- but you can get them at either of their (N-M, Sak's) web sites. K-C in particular had some interesting items for this season a while back. If I can help more- e-mail or message me.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Shoeswise I'm not especially sure of my size since I haven't tried any major brands. I'm thinking of something Italian like Ferragamo or Testoni, I'm not in a hurry so I can wait for a deal to show up. My current shoes include a pair size 8 of Johnston and Murphy oxfords, a pair of J&M boots in 8.5, and a pair of Kenneth Cole lace-ups in 8.5; all in "standard" width. My casual and athletic shoes are all 9-9.5, I don't know if I should disregard those though. Ebay seems like a place to look, but given my minimal sizing knowledge and the lack of return policies, I don't know how wise it would be; though. Have your online shoe-buying experiences all been positive? I do have a Nordstrom's in my area (Houston), so I'll give that a try for pocket squares. And for cufflinks, I'd like to keep my expenditures as low as possible (under $50) so that doesn't leave me any room for retail. Maybe someone with more cufflink knowledge could drop some tips on how to distinguish the junk from the nice stuff on ebay?
post #5 of 9
Don't forget that on eBay purchases, if they don't fit and the seller won't refund, simply list them for sale again yourself. I've done this many times and even made $10 to $15 profit on most items since I tend to do a better job of "selling" the item than the person I bought it from. :-)
post #6 of 9
For casual lace up shoes, most better brands like Ferragamo, Testoni, etc make sneaker style shoes. Personally I have a pair of khaki colored deck shoes from Hogan and a pair of black sneakers from Bally. I've been very happy with these shoes. If you want to go for more Retro, you could always check out the new Retro lines from Puma, Adidas, Ellesse, etc. If you're in NY, I can tell you which stores have a good selection.
post #7 of 9
Nordstrom Rack is a great place for pocket squares, as is a regular Nordstrom. Do you live near one?
The only decent thing at the Nordstrom's that I visited in Santa Barbara was the pocket squares. I broke down a got a really nice cotton one by Talbott.
post #8 of 9
Thrac: Re: Nordstrom: the one in Santa Barbara is kinda small. There are 3-4 in the LA area that are pretty good, and 5 here in the Bay Area- especially the downtown SF location. Two more in Chicago are nice, and the one in the Garden State mall in Paramus is pretty good, too. Ay: For cuff links check out some local antique stores to get a feel for quality...I also have a few that I wouldn't mind selling, but I'm not sure what you like...
post #9 of 9
As for cuff links, I saw many neat looking sets in a Thomas Pink store. The set I purchased where only for $35. Nordstroms always has many interesting cufflinks--but the cost is much more than $35. Go ahead and splurge. I swear by my Allen Edmonds shoes. When the soles wear out, you can send the shoes to the manufacturer and they can be reconditioned for a modest price. They come back looking like new. As for a very basic wardrobe necessity, I really like the Brooks Brothers slim fit, no iron shirt. Even after wearing it all day, there is nary a wrinkle. A Brooks Brothers slim fit is similar to a normal fit by any other shirt maker.
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