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Help with first dress shoes

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I've very recently bought myself my first proper charcoal grey wool 3 piece suit, and am now after my first pair of good black dress shoes so I don't ruin the overall look! However, having done a fair bit of research, my brain has become quite frazzled and would like some help!

 

I won't be wearing the shoes every day - they will purely be occasional shoes (i.e. weddings, interviews etc), worn mostly with the suit probably no more than 10 times per year. As they won't be worn every day, I would hesitate to spend more than £150 on a pair, but I do also understand that good shoes are a worthy investment and if worth the extra £££, would consider it. My main objectives are to complete a great look whenever I wear the suit and for the shoes to last 10 years plus (oh, and for them to be comfy when I wear them of course!).

 

With that in mind, I have looked at some, purely from a looks point of view (for now), at various price points. I would like to narrow down options based on a cost/quality basis so I can then go and try them out for myself and see which feel right. If I could get opinions on the selection I have looked at below or any alternative suggestions, I would much appreciate it.

 

Thanks! :thumbs-up:

 

Oxford Style

Cheaney Desborough £325: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&shoeid=7720&colourid=4106&brandid=5

Church Hong Kong £295: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=4&shoeid=6187

Cheaney Churchill £275: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&shoeid=2018&colourid=1076&brandid=5

Loake Aldwych £199: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=7&shoeid=2388

Barker Mayfair £185: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=2&shoeid=3447

Loake Smith £150: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=7&shoeid=6627

 

Derby Style

Church Paris £295: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=4&shoeid=6202

Loake Keats £199: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=7&shoeid=7331

Loake Webster £140: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=7&shoeid=4336

post #2 of 10

Ok, I'm not quite understanding something.  You say you will be primarily wearing it for interviews, weddings but still think that's about 10 times per year for the next decade?

 

Are you fresh out of college or soon to be?  Sure, you'll have a half dozen interviews and then be done.  Do you really go to half a dozen or more weddings a year?

 

You have to be careful reading this site as people here spend an insane amount of money on clothes.  Nothing wrong with that, but you have to keep a little perspective.  I don't know your financial situation but it really does sound like you're just getting started out in the world.  Don't spend all your cash on a pair of shoes you'll wear 4 times in the next 6 months and then possibly 1 or 2 times per year after that unless you already have the rest of your wardrobe set. 

 

Here's why - let's say you land a job that is more business casual in attire - those black dress shoes aren't going to be of much use.  So, which do you think it's better to spend your money on - the two pair of shoes you're going to be wearing every day to work or the one pair you wear a couple times a year?  Much less the shirts, chinos etc..  If you DO need to wear business attire, you're still better off with a couple decent pairs you can alternate instead of only 1 pair.

 

Buy a nice pair of black oxfords and polish them up and you'll be fine for the interviews.  AND, those pair will last quite a few years with the frequency you'll wear them.

 

My advice - you shouldn't be spending 1/2 what you're thinking of spending.  Something around 60-65 pounds should be fine.

post #3 of 10

First thing, I never wear the same shoes two days running, they need time to dry out and recover, especially after my smelly feet have been in them  :D

 

Loakes are very good value for money, perhaps the best for that. They are generally wide fitting too so they are comfortable, at least on me. I'd go for a plain shoe, forget brogues which are more casual in my opinion. On a personal note, I prefer shoes with Derby lacing. I think they look better, hold the foot better and generally feel more comfortable.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

It will be for occasions where I would want good shoes, not necessarily always with the suit, but complimenting the suit should be the priority. Although having said that, if I like them, they may well start to get worn in the office!

 

I graduated and got a job a few years ago now. I've gotten by with a cheap suit so far, but it was high time to get an adult one with the funds I now make - and to go along with that, a decent pair of clogs that weren't made out of plasticky 'lether' and in the sale for £25. The problem is what is defined as 'nice', as I don't want to ruin the look of the good suit I've just gotten by getting cheap-looking and feeling shoes - I would like to strike a good balance between cost and quality, taking into account the frequency they will be worn. :)

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by johng70 View Post
 

Ok, I'm not quite understanding something.  You say you will be primarily wearing it for interviews, weddings but still think that's about 10 times per year for the next decade?

 

Are you fresh out of college or soon to be?  Sure, you'll have a half dozen interviews and then be done.  Do you really go to half a dozen or more weddings a year?

 

You have to be careful reading this site as people here spend an insane amount of money on clothes.  Nothing wrong with that, but you have to keep a little perspective.  I don't know your financial situation but it really does sound like you're just getting started out in the world.  Don't spend all your cash on a pair of shoes you'll wear 4 times in the next 6 months and then possibly 1 or 2 times per year after that unless you already have the rest of your wardrobe set.

 

Here's why - let's say you land a job that is more business casual in attire - those black dress shoes aren't going to be of much use.  So, which do you think it's better to spend your money on - the two pair of shoes you're going to be wearing every day to work or the one pair you wear a couple times a year?  Much less the shirts, chinos etc..  If you DO need to wear business attire, you're still better off with a couple decent pairs you can alternate instead of only 1 pair.

 

Buy a nice pair of black oxfords and polish them up and you'll be fine for the interviews.  AND, those pair will last quite a few years with the frequency you'll wear them.

 

My advice - you shouldn't be spending 1/2 what you're thinking of spending.  Something around 60-65 pounds should be fine.

 

This is the most sensible advice I've read on SF. Well done sir.

post #6 of 10

I think the two Loake Oxfords you listed are the best price-quality here. The Church's and Herrings are both similar in style that you've selected but certainly not worth double the price. I also say Oxford above Derby just because it's a classier, more timeless style than a Derby. I tend to agree with what pgmetcalf said above except our preferences on Oxfords vs. Derbys. I don't think even he would agrue that the Oxford is a more "luxury" choice.

 

A lot of what johng70 said is great advice, except for his final sentence "My advice - you shouldn't be spending 1/2 what you're thinking of spending.  Something around 60-65 pounds should be fine." I can't disagree with this more. The shoes you've listed, given you wearing and treating them like a respectable gentleman should, will last you the rest of your life. The shoes you could buy at half the prices of the Loakes, may last you a few years, you won't be able to resole them as easily, and generally the grain on the "leather" will degrade over time. Check our most recent tumblr post on leather quality and why it matters: paulevansny.tumblr.com/

post #7 of 10

Paul - I made an assumption the OP was just entering the workforce.  Unless he comes from a wealthy family, it comes down to prioritizing expenditures.  That's great those shoes would last him a lifetime - but that doesn't help if he can't afford the actual clothes/shoes he's going to need for his day to day work because he spent it all on shoes he'll wear a few times a year.  Buying $450-500 USD shoes right out of college, unless you come from money is a terrible allocation of limited resources. If the OPs situation is different than I surmise that changes things.  If not, then we will have to agree to disagree on whether a pair of $500 shoes is a smart purchase for someone looking for a job.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by johng70 View Post

My advice - you shouldn't be spending 1/2 what you're thinking of spending. Something around 60-65 pounds should be fine.
Unless severely discounted well-made shoes (I mean REALLY discounted), I do not think you'll find quality shoes in this price range. The style might be right, but the quality of leather might not. The uppers might not age well (I mean months and not even years) to the point that you might want to buy new shoes after a few wears. Construction will not be an issue because most GYW, blake, rapid blake will probably be more than 60-65 GBP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johng70 View Post

Paul - I made an assumption the OP was just entering the workforce.  Unless he comes from a wealthy family, it comes down to prioritizing expenditures.  That's great those shoes would last him a lifetime - but that doesn't help if he can't afford the actual clothes/shoes he's going to need for his day to day work because he spent it all on shoes he'll wear a few times a year.  Buying $450-500 USD shoes right out of college, unless you come from money is a terrible allocation of limited resources. If the OPs situation is different than I surmise that changes things.  If not, then we will have to agree to disagree on whether a pair of $500 shoes is a smart purchase for someone looking for a job.
I agree that $500 on a first pair of shoes is a tad high, but he quoted around 150 GBP (approximately $250) which is half of that, and I think a generous start. I think shoes have a little bit more flexibility than a suit. There are more opportunities to wear them and from my experience, once you have a pair you like, you can incorporate it in other combinations. When it comes to style, a cap toe is probably the place to start (although I'm a fan of the Adelaide wingtip but it's just not as practical as a first shoe compared to a cap toe). Something simple like below:
Untitled

Brands like Loake and Barker are fine places to enter but if you can swing a little more for Cheaney (maybe on sale) I think you've made an excellent buy.

When it comes to style, yes, this Forvm can raise the bar quickly but find your sweet spot and your passion. I wear suits but not all of them are bespoke. I don't have the fanciest ties, socks, or watches. I do enjoy variety when it comes to shoes and I have a fair amount in my rotation. Some unsolicited advice, be mindful of the vest in the 3PC since here across the pond, in most business situations, it is too much.

Good luck!
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Evans View Post
 

I think the two Loake Oxfords you listed are the best price-quality here. The Church's and Herrings are both similar in style that you've selected but certainly not worth double the price.

 

A lot of what johng70 said is great advice, except for his final sentence "My advice - you shouldn't be spending 1/2 what you're thinking of spending.  Something around 60-65 pounds should be fine." I can't disagree with this more. The shoes you've listed, given you wearing and treating them like a respectable gentleman should, will last you the rest of your life. The shoes you could buy at half the prices of the Loakes, may last you a few years, you won't be able to resole them as easily, and generally the grain on the "leather" will degrade over time.

 

Thanks for the reply. If anyone is familar with them, would the quality of leather on those Loakes be worth keeping with and re-soleing the shoes?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by johng70 View Post
 

Paul - I made an assumption the OP was just entering the workforce.  Unless he comes from a wealthy family, it comes down to prioritizing expenditures.  That's great those shoes would last him a lifetime - but that doesn't help if he can't afford the actual clothes/shoes he's going to need for his day to day work because he spent it all on shoes he'll wear a few times a year.  Buying $450-500 USD shoes right out of college, unless you come from money is a terrible allocation of limited resources. If the OPs situation is different than I surmise that changes things.  If not, then we will have to agree to disagree on whether a pair of $500 shoes is a smart purchase for someone looking for a job.

 

John, I can understand why you came to that assumption, as my post was a little open to interpretation. I have been working for a few years and have a sufficient work wardrobe. I could quite easily afford to buy a pair of $500/£300 shoes, but that doesn't necessarily mean I should. I'm after that sweet spot of finding shoes with good quality leather which would be worth the looking after and re-soleing. If that isn't at a £150 price point, but more towards £200 or even £250-300, I can appreciate that. But the lower the better! :D

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DpprDr View Post

I agree that $500 on a first pair of shoes is a tad high, but he quoted around 150 GBP (approximately $250) which is half of that, and I think a generous start. I think shoes have a little bit more flexibility than a suit. There are more opportunities to wear them and from my experience, once you have a pair you like, you can incorporate it in other combinations. When it comes to style, a cap toe is probably the place to start (although I'm a fan of the Adelaide wingtip but it's just not as practical as a first shoe compared to a cap toe). Something simple like below:
Untitled

Brands like Loake and Barker are fine places to enter but if you can swing a little more for Cheaney (maybe on sale) I think you've made an excellent buy.

When it comes to style, yes, this Forvm can raise the bar quickly but find your sweet spot and your passion. I wear suits but not all of them are bespoke. I don't have the fanciest ties, socks, or watches. I do enjoy variety when it comes to shoes and I have a fair amount in my rotation. Some unsolicited advice, be mindful of the vest in the 3PC since here across the pond, in most business situations, it is too much.

Good luck!

Thanks for the suggestions. Loake and Barker seem like a good starting point as they can be found in a few high street shops. Finding Cheaneys in my area (Bristol) might be a little more difficult.

 

I've been recommended Russell & Bromley by a colleague, does anyone have any experience of them and how they compare to Loake / Barker / Cheaney?

 

Oxford Style

 

Know-How £315: http://www.russellandbromley.co.uk/lace-ups/know-how/invt/511291

Redwood £225: http://www.russellandbromley.co.uk/lace-ups/redwood/invt/527369

Chelsea £175: http://www.russellandbromley.co.uk/lace-ups/chelsea/invt/526026

 

Derby Style

Wise £295: http://www.russellandbromley.co.uk/lace-ups/wise/invt/511034

Persona £215: http://www.russellandbromley.co.uk/lace-ups/persona/invt/527422

Sartorial £185: http://www.russellandbromley.co.uk/lace-ups/satorial/invt/526814

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

After going to Debenhams to get an idea of the difference in quality of leather between the Loake 1880s and their ranges below, I convinced myself that the 1880s range or similar was the level I wanted to target. After narrowing down different styles, it came down to either:

 

Loake Keats £199: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&brandid=7&shoeid=7331

or

Cheaney Warwick £245: http://www.herringshoes.co.uk/product-info.php?&colset=1&styleid=837&shoeid=5145&brandid=5&catid=52&oldcolid=1511&stype=0&colourid=2663

 

After taking it to the female vote, their preference was for the Cheaneys. Does anyone have any experience of them, how the leather quality compares, and how the sizing is (i.e. bigger/smaller than true to size)?

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