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Loafer vs Saddle Shoe vs Blucher for business casual

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I work in an office setting and the dress code is pretty lax. I get by fine in khakis, button down and some JM venetian loafers. If I wore a sport coat people would think I had a job interview or something. I would like to find a well made shoe that steps my game up slightly while not spending more than say $300 or so. I read a thread on here and it gave me a few ideas but I am trying to narrow this down. I am pretty clueless about clothes and I am pretty sure I don’t have a “style”.  My goal is to look professional and preppy (for lack of a better term). I want to be able to wear my uniform (BB or polo button down, pressed khakis, etc) but also dress it slightly up or down (i.e. jeans on the weekends or with a sport coat if need be). I don’t know enough about brands to be picky other than I want better quality that the usual mall suspects (Johnston Murphy, Cole Haan, etc.). I have had those and they seem to fall apart in about a year or so.


My research says I can do one of the following:


1)Beefroll pennys (weejuns, AE kenwoods)

2)Saddle shoes (AE Sheltons)

3)Blucher (Macneil, Walton)


I have been wearing venetians but I am open to pennys (no tassle). I have looked at the rancourt venetians and they are nice but due to the short heel on them they don’t look substantial or dressy enough.


I am not sure about which way to go in terms of wingtip, plain toe, etc. I want shoes with personality but I don’t want them to draw too much attention either. It is hard to find a balance. For instance the Walton looks like a nice clean shoe that has that one seam to break things up whereas the macneils are really ornate and might be a bit much. As for the saddle shoes, I kind of like them because I don’t see many people wearing them and yet they are kind of low key.


I don’t live close enough to a store that sells these shoes so it is hard to just try them on an see how they look/feel.


I would appreciate any thoughts to help me figure out how to make this simple choice.  We need a flow chart for this stuff.

post #2 of 5

I like saddles, but I can't help but think the running gag in Moonrise Kingdom where the scouts keep describing them as "Sunday School shoes" has a bit of a point -- they're not the most serious, adult footwear. They get increasingly serious as the contrast between the saddle and the rest of the shoes decreases -- the Sheltons would probably serve you okay. Bluchers would be the most conservative choice. I like loafers, but I think having a lace-up and a pair of loafers would be better than two pairs of loafers. I'd look at other AE split-toes besides the Walton.


I encourage you to try them on yourself, as a set of shoes on the hoof, as it were, tend to look awfully different than they do in a website photo -- I find it hard to picture myself wearing a set of shoes from a photo of just the shoes in a studio. Doing that gets rid of most fit worries, too.

post #3 of 5
Saddles are a bit Archie Andrews, esp. with the clothes you describe. They wouldn't be my choice if I didn't want my footwear to be noticed.
post #4 of 5
I love saddle shoes but agree that they are not the way to "step up your game" with your current uniform. They are a way to make a nice statement with non-traditiional khakis and jeans.

If you are not going to change the khaki/BB look, I say find some nice suede shoes. Suede is different and brings a nice polish to your look. Although non-traditional colors are in right now (I have some blue ones now); you can just go with some very nice brown or tan ones for under $300.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

I actually had to google Archie Andrews! I had forgotten all about the character. I wasn't sure about the saddles and now I am convinced that at the least i should not be looking at them as a go-to shoe and that is what i am after.  Thanks for that.


So down to bluchers and loafers. A part of me is thinking a lace up will be a change of pace as I have been wearing loafers as daily drivers for years. Eh, may have to plan a trip to the big city. I appreciate all of the input so far and if anyone else has two cents, feel free. I welcome all the help i can get.




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