cham has changed so much in recent years....from its appearance to how its worn.
I have the walker cham and w/ a soft pres its great w or w/o a tie....
you can dress cham up or down......but it has to be the correct cham.....lol
one of the best cloths around IMO....excluding an old school traditional dress code of course.....
its very very hip
PS...u say evolve?
I recall when u could not wear brown shoes w/ black or navy suits....!
I concur with everything you said.
I think some of the linen-cotton blend shirts can serve a similar purpose. Of course in both cases chambray and cotton-linen there is variation in how dressy or casual the fabric can be. I think some of the Oxford and herringbone cotton-linen blends PC has been offering can go with a variety of collars and still work even though soft is safest.
About brown or walnut shoes and navy suits--
My brother recently teased me for doing a conference presentation while wearing such. I have more walnut colored shoes by AE than any other color but still like to wear grey or navy pants or suits.